Wow. I have over 10,000 followers. Who would have thought?
I have a secret to tell you: I didn’t really like Social Media (especially when I started).
I published the Action Hero Teacher book in 2019 without much fanfare. Although I was proud of my work, the thought of announcing it, paradoxically scared the faeces out of me. Using my weird logic, I worked out the book couldn’t fail if no one knew about it, right?
I know, issues.
After being constantly harassed by a good friend of mine, I finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon again without little fanfare. He said that it would be ‘good’ for me & the book. Vegetables are good for you, not talking to JSmith65478975 on social media.
I felt like the new kid in school again but this time there wasn’t a kind teacher to show me the ropes.
It was lonely at first. Initially I tried to spam everyone with tweets saying “BUY MY BOOK NOW!!!” (Sidenote: I didn’t really know that all caps was shouting – that’s probably why I didn’t make any friends…)
I was about to give up on it, until SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID19 showed up on our doorstep in March 2020 turning our world upside down.
Within 3 weeks, we all found ourselves in a really crappy first draft of a Cormac McCarthy novel with no end in sight. Dystopia leapt from the Silver Screen into our homes. Boris Johnson became an even more unwelcome guest in our lives, with his press briefings making as much sense as the plot in the TENET film.
Lockdown 1 (I can’t believe that we are naming them now like a film franchise – Worst. Franchise. Ever) was particularly hard for me mentally.
My government-sanctioned trips to Tesco became my equivalent of going on ‘a night out with the lads’ – how did our lives become this awful?
But that’s when I saw the beauty of Twitter. Being part of the #EduTwitter community, I saw courageous teachers, sharing resources to help overburdened colleagues. I saw teachers organise virtual nights out for people who felt lonely in isolation.
To my happy amazement & relief, I saw the community manage to talk someone out of taking their own life, sending hundreds of messages of support, advice & humour in someone’s darkest hour.
I dropped the book promotion & started to be human & thus met (mostly virtually because of COVID) some of the most wonderful, wise & humane people that I count as genuine friends now.
When I started my blog (out of boredom & frustration with our state-mandated house arrest,) & you guys read it, supported me & helped me to win a blogging award.
#EduTwitter helped me to break into the top 100 education books sold on Amazon in August 2020. The community introduced me to people & events that have changed AHT & my life for the better & your continued support still amazes me to this very day.
Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay you guys is how you deal with the bad stuff. You know what I am talking about – the online toxic stew of racism, prejudice and bullying.
What I have found (especially after the recent football debacle) is that the majority of you are noble, courageous people, who are willing to challenge the trolls that want to harm others.
You want to learn, to grow & fight for our kids’ futures. That gives me hope that we can make a better education system for ALL our children. That’s pretty damn inspiring.
Long story short, thank you #EduTwitter for everything that you have done for me and AHT. I try my best to never take you guys for granted. I honestly appreciate all of you & what you do.
I don’t have 10,000 followers. I have 10,000 tribe members – thank you for allowing me & AHT to be part of your gang (in a good way).
Your Twitter pal,
Karl from actionheroteacher.com