In August, I began my new job as the principal of a large CTE and Comprehensive high school. After a month of getting acquainted with my administrative team and the building, I decided to meet some students – on Twitter.
Like most edchats do on Twitter, I created a hash tag (#pctiprincipalchat) and invited any student who wished, to join me for a chat about questions they may have had prior to school opening on Wednesday. I also wanted ideas from them about what they wanted from the school.
It was a fist for me, and a first for the students. A lot of them think I am a fake. Others believed me. I told them I only wanted to utilize Twitter as a communication tool to keep in contact. I won’t “twatch” them or spy – I don’t have time for that. I just want them to know I’m connected and available.
It got me to thinking that it’s a shame when students don’t trust their teachers or administrators. Breaking the mold of the hidden principal – the guy who only wants to chat on his terms and only in the school building – needs to be broken. I’m not suggesting we live on Twitter, but we need to use the network for our own good and the good of the students. If you set the tone that only clean and respectful language be used while tweeting, the kids will respond; it gives us an opportunity to model proper decorum.
I thank all those students who took a chance on something new. It was a great 90 minutes. I’m lucky to be where I am with a strong, progressive Chief School Administrator, a supportive and classy faculty, and a great team of administrators.