I Googled myself. Thanks to the tragic and unfortunate stories that usually end in the firing of a teacher, I’ve been moderately aware of my digital footprint since starting my teaching career.
So… I Googled myself.
The results were nothing upsetting, but the feeling was awkward. In the seconds it took me to type my name and hit ENTER, I felt a bit weary about what all the invisible internet wires would retrieve about me. The results were not astounding. But have I really had that many different hair colors?
I have never considered my digital footprint as something to be anxious about. Though I have a personal, classroom, and (a newly-crafted) professional blog, I share them willingly with friends and family. My personal blog is just about my family’s journey living and learning around the world while my professional blogs are either curriculum and learning updates for parents or, this one, which is evolving as an online portfolio and inquiry space. Personally, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and (a rarely used) Google+,account which can all be accessed through a generic Google search of my name. But after reading “Would You Hire YOU?” I considered what that presence looks like from where you’re sitting.
Am I misrepresenting myself? Am I balanced? Am I good model for my students? What would my student’s parents say if they looked through my Facebook photos or followed my Twitter feed? Would they have chosen me to teach their children? Or would they have begged to have another teacher? … any other teacher? Am I a good candidate? The best candidate? Would I be an asset or a hindrance to your community? These questions can be answered via my digital footprint. And unfortunately, based on their first impressions of my digital self (thanks Google!), I might not even know that someone has been asking the questions.
For the last 6 weeks, my digital footprint has changed… a lot! Before I began my COETAIL course I had used Twitter a handful of times. Most of my tweets were done while we travelled through remote areas in Borneo or Australia as a way of communicating to our families at home. My Facebook presence was rather mundane–the happy family photos of some crazy adventure I forced my children on or some banal post about TCK’s or the global water crisis (all of which were shared to my predominantly US- or Belgian-based friendship group). My family’s personal blog was something I started in 2001 when we were living in Nairobi. I continue to write our blog as penance to my family. For my students’ parents– blogging is an obligation. I wrote about my frustrations, failures, and successes with parent communication in a post earlier this year. For COETAIL, blogging my thoughts has become part of my routine. It has become my educational catharsis. And I enjoy it… for the most part.
If you look at what I’ve shared since I attended Learning2 Africa or since I began working towards my COETAIL, my posts have shifted. My shares are mostly educational. Whether I am posting an amazing article from an admired innovator, engaging in a dialogue about educational reform, or bragging about my own “teachable” moment–my footprint has changed from a sexy stiletto to more of a black loafer.
I have evolved from sharing my toes on a lavish beach vacay to writing, tweeting, or sharing the ideas that are most important to me. I am busy posting the concepts that are furthering my own learning journey or the questions that may deepen the conversation.
But when I step back from it all, I think to myself– am I just becoming part of the chatter?
Every time I hit PUBLISH, I wonder if my words are useful. Am I becoming part of the blabber or will my thoughts, queries, and cogitation resonate with someone out there in cyberspace? Ultimately, I want to be part of the solution. I want my digital footprint to count for something. I want these moments. On THIS keyboard. To mean something in the greater context of learning.
I guess I just want to leave my mark… in sensible teacher-friendly shoes.
… And I don’t want to embarrass myself.
… Oh yeah. And I want to get that job!