I keep hoping I will get the hang of this “parenting and blogging” thing… then suddenly it’s the last day of the month and I realize I haven’t been able to get to a computer for weeks. For a techy like me, this is crazy! I used to spend hours on the computer every day.

I bring this up because a few weeks ago, my local ran a “Twitter Training” session at our AGM. As someone who has been on the internet since before it was commercially available, whose parents ran a BBS (which was a precursor to the internet) which enabled me to chat and play games with other neighbourhood kids when I was in elementary school, I take a lot of things (like social media) for granted. I forget that if you haven’t grown up around it or aren’t terribly inclined towards using the internet, it’s easy not to know about all of the things that are out there.

Social media is really cool. Right now, as we trudge through a complicated and, frankly, disappointing bargaining session, it’s also acting as a powerful tool in communicating our message to the public. People are listening, but you have to know where they are as an audience. Right now, a lot of them are on Twitter. I won’t get into the ins and outs of Twitter on here – it’s not very complicated, but it’s much easier if someone just shows it to you as they explain. What I do want to tell you about is a really cool movement from Ontario teachers to try and enlighten the public on what we’re bargaining for, what our daily reality is, why teacher autonomy is important, and how we work for our students every day.

The first and obvious thing to know about is the official ETFO Twitter account. Worth following, for reasons which probably don’t need to be stated. Lots of worthwhile information. Lots of links to relevant news.

On Twitter, there are things called “hashtags” – words preceded by a # symbol that you put into your messages so that someone could search for a tag and find all public messages with that tag, from all users across Twitter. Over the course of the last few months, a few commonly used hashtags have come up. Click on any of the tags below and you’ll be brought to a Twitter search page showing you the most recent posts with those tags.

#mypreptime and #4MyStudents – Teachers are using these tags to talk about what they used their prep time for and how their personal time goes to support their students. They’re being used to highlight why teacher autonomy is so important and why we don’t want administrators to be able to direct what we do with our time.

#classeswithoutEQAO / #insteadofEQAO / #eqano – This tag is being used to show what’s happening in classrooms which otherwise would be writing EQAO tests right now.

#students4teachers – Students showing support for their teachers as our high school colleagues return to work but continue their job action.

#IamETFO – Daily truths from ETFO members.

@acampbell99 is a great account to follow because he has done a wonderful job of compiling some of the most poignant messages posted by Ontario teachers.

Lastly, if you are on Facebook and are a member of ETFO, you might want to consider joining the ETFO Collective Bargaining group. It’s a closed group (meaning it’s private) and only ETFO members are able to join. It’s a great place to find information and support.

These are by no means the only places to find information on social media right now, but they are a good starting point for delving into social media.

If you know of any others, leave them in the comments and I will update this post!


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