How can one tell when the midway part of the semester has arrived? Why the increased rate of student burnout of course!
Let’s get real for a minute.
I elected to take five courses this semester compared to my usual three and while I’ve managed to keep up through careful planning and scheduling thus far, I have quickly found that work, school, and sleep are a delicate balance with not much time for personal projects. For me, this constant battle to get everything done leads to me neglecting my own needs… which turns into higher levels of stress and the complete opposite of cool, calm, and collected… I become incredibly anxious and defeated and my carefully constructed system starts to fall apart.
Eventually, I clue in and step back to suddenly notice the mountainous pile of work towering over me. Through the thin clouds, about halfway up the summit, I catch the eyes of a lone ram perched on a ledge. An eagle screeches in the distance, sending small prey scurrying for cover. It’s rocky and jagged. Seemingly unconquerable.
But when I noticed this had started to occur over the last week, I decided something needed to change. Luckily, I had some tricks to get me through AND I brought snacks.
After a reevaluation of my schedule, the use of my most successful coping mechanisms, and a pep talk or two, I was back on my journey and tackling the daunting Twitter chat. For sake of ease and reading pleasure, here’s a breakdown:
WHO: Me! I chose the #822chat
WHAT: This is a relatively quick chat that runs twice a week. It is open to all kinds of educators and focuses on a different theme to be discussed through a couple of questions. This Saturday’s theme was surrounding missions, whether that be through your school, classroom, or yourself.
WHEN: Tuesdays @8:22PM and Saturdays @8:22AM
- Pre-Game Nerves = 3/5 – Waiting for this chat to start, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried about having the ‘right’ answers, getting answers in fast enough, and feeling like I was actually part of the conversation. However, I knew that the chat was only supposed to last eight minutes, so I felt like this was kind of like easing in, rather than diving head-first into something like the Sask ed. chat.
- Intensity = 2/5 – Once the chat got started, it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as I expected. I think one of the contributing factors was that the group who participated was relatively small so I could keep up with many of the responses, rather than feeling like I was shouting into a void. As well, I found out through participating that there were only three questions to answer for this particular chat, one of which was introductorily based. Therefore, I didn’t feel like I was scrambling to keep up with answering or reading others’ tweets.
- Knowledge Gained = 5/5 – I learned a lot! And not just from the responses to the questions. This mini chat helped me to learn about some of the important etiquettes of Twitter chats that one doesn’t know to come in. I learned that it is appropriate to give likes generously – when someone joins the group, makes a response, replies to your tweet, etc. In that respect, the likes turn into a true confidence booster. I also learned that these chats allow users to connect from long distances that may not have been reachable otherwise. While there were a couple of us from SK when I participated, there were others from AB, Arkansas, and Texas. The chat allowed them to not only meet each other, but it seems to have formed a regular community, where individuals would attend the same chat to catch up and learn.
- Overall Experience = 5/5 – The #822chat was a great introduction to Twitter chats because of its approachability for newcomers both in the question set-up and supportive qualities of the participants. I found some new individuals to add to my PLN that I wouldn’t have otherwise, along with gaining some new perspectives on the topics discussed.
Would I participate again? Yes! I think I may even be ready to tackle something bigger, like the #leadupchat that was a follow-up chat to the #822chat.