because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Teachers Who Sucked vs. Teachers Who Scored

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Back in May, I realized my fall 2011 semester was going to be hectic, so I asked a bunch of people to consider helping me out by writing about a memory of a favorite (or not so favorite) teacher who helped them learn something about themselves or the world.

Because everyone has a favorite teacher, right?

And, let’s face it, even the bad ones taught us something.

I was stunned by the response.

Everyone was all: “Omigosh, this is like, totally awesome!”

The guys were slightly less Valley-Girlish.

I am truly grateful to everyone who submitted a story.

So starting next Wednesday — and running every Wednesday until the well runs dry — I will post one story.

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag will be #TWITS – an acronym to stand for Teachers Who I Think Scored or Teachers Who I Think Sucked.

(It only took me eleventy-bajillion years to come up with that one.)

If you’d like to be part of the action, I would love to read your words.

Maybe as we go along you might say, “Hey, I don’t see my experience represented here.”

Well, that’s so not okay!

So haul out your yearbooks.

Now, stop looking at yourself.

Okay, now stop looking at you-know-who.

What do you mean: “Who?”

You know the one.

Now turn to the teachers’ page and write about something that one of them did that you promised you’d never forget.

You can find my email address under the “Contact Me” tab. 

Tweet this Twit @ RASJacobson

Schedule:

Renée Schuls-Jacobson • August 17, 2011 • Lessons From Teachers & Twits • “Spot Check”

Jessica Buttram  •  August 24, 2011 • Meet the Buttrams“Hard Ass”

Save Sprinkles • August 31, 2011 • How Can I Complain?“A Different Kind of Punishment”

Steven Hess • September 7, 2011 • “Read the Books”

Piper Bayard • September 14, 2011 • On Life, Belly Dancing & Apocalyptic Annihilation“The Power of a Swift Kick”

Zach Sparer • September 21, 2011 • Faux-Outrage“Substitute Preacher”

Kelliefish • September 28, 2011 • Kelliefish13’s Blog“Mrs. Clayton”

Larry Hehn • October 5, 2011 • Christian in the Rough“Ode to Werner Berth”

Kelly K • October 12, 2011 • Dances With Chaos“Buzz Champion”

Tyler Tarver • October 19, 2011 • Tyler Tarver “Yo tengo el gato los pantelones”

Tamara Lunardo • October 26, 2011 • Tamara Out Loud“Those Who Can’t Teach”

Leonore Rodrigues • November 2, 2011 • As A Linguist“Damage Done”

Mark Kaplowitz • November 9, 2011 • Mark Kaplowitz’s Blog“My 1st Grade Teacher Must Have Had Stock in Crayola”

Mary Mollica • Novemeber 16, 2011 • The Decorative Paintbrush“Not to Be Trashed”

Paul Waters • November 23, 2011 • Blackwatertown“The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”

Penny Thoyts • November 30, 2011 • “Lessons From Mrs. Gurney”

Chase McFadden • December 7, 2011 • Some Species Eat Their Young“If You’re Lucky

SaucyB • December 14, 2011 • Life & Times of a Self-Proclaimed Saucy Bitch“Hidden Potential”

Kathy English • December 21, 2011 • The Mom Crusades“Mrs. Schmidt’s Wonderful World”

Annie Wolfe • December 28, 2011 • Six Ring Circus“The Day Mrs. Dean Saved My Life”

A Twit Learns To Tweet

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Way back on Monday, April 25, 2011 at precisely 8:07 AM, I emailed Clay Morgan from EduClaytion.com. He and I had established an “easy, breezy, beautiful” rapport; we’d talked on the phone a few times, and for a while, we were on the same cyber-page. But suddenly, Clay had a Twitter icon on his page. And I didn’t.

What the deuce? I thought. So I tapped out a quick note.

Dude, I seriously need to understand Twitter. I either need a 15 year-old girl. Or you. Can you call me?

Clay responded like a firefighter would to a burning building. He emailed me and assured me Twitter was “pretty intuitive” and that I could probably figure it out. He said he had faith in me.

Whaaaat? Twitter? Intuitive? To whom?

Clearly, he did not read this article.

We set up a time to talk.

Then I lost his phone number.

Still, I had every intention of making Twitter priority #1 on my list of Things To Do. (You know, after I got back from Florida. And all the grocery shopping was done. And I had unpacked and put the suitcases away and done all the laundry and scrubbed the baseboards and taken out the garbage and fed the animals.

(Note: We have no pets. Not even a goldfish. Not even an ant.)

I was a little bit horrified that I had so easily morphed into one of the typical student-types: the kid who pretends the deadline hasn’t come and gone, but never goes to talk to the teacher about it.

But Professor Morgan was onto me.

Clearly I was delaying. We set up a time to conference around noon.

After my massage.

(What? I have a long-standing back injury, people.)

On the day of our exciting teleconference, we started with the simple stuff.

Clay explained that, for a writer, the purpose of Twitter is to help network with other writers, to acquire followers, and to spread one’s writing around to other interested readers. He said Twitter can be a place to gather with my fellow writers, where I can find people to hold me accountable to achieve my writing goals, and where I can find people willing to critique my work.

That all sounded good.

He explained it also meant supporting and promoting the people whose writing I adore.

I heard “cheerleader.” I was a cheerleader in high school. I may have lost my splits, but I can still cheer. And if tweeting and re-tweeting my favorite writers’ stuff was going to help them, I could drink that Kool-Aid.

So Clay taught me the basics. About the Timeline. And how to check my Direct Message Box — to see if anyone has sent me a private message.

“How do I know that?”

Clay patiently explained.

He also told me I should always check Mentions to see if anyone has tweeted any of my posts and, if they have, that I should be absolutely certain to send that person a short thank-you.

“It’s Twit-tiquette,” Clay explained.

He taught me about how to set up a list of my most favorite bloggers. And while we were on the phone, I understood everything perfectly.

Clay was extremely patient and gracious. And then, like any good therapist smart person with outstanding time management skills, after one hour, he announced our session was up.

Whaaaat?

“I haven’t mastered this yet!” I whined.

He assured me that I’d figure it out if I played around with it a bit.

I thanked Clay for “eduClayting” me, and I messed around on Twitter for a while.

I tried to send messages to the people I knew best.

Eventually, I got a response from Clay himself.

Whaaaaat? I was sending messages to myself? Awk.Ward.

I tried to figure out that mess. And I set out again.

This time I heard back from Leanne Shirtliffe aka: Ironic Mom.

After a few weeks, I saw I got my first retweet! And then I got a RT from Mark Kaplowitz, someone whose writing I really like:

And then that started to happen more and more.

Eventually, I figured out the secret language of hashtags: the weird letters that come after the numbers’ symbol (#). Like #MyWana. Or #IYKWIM. For a while, I felt like I sitting alone at a table in the middle school cafeteria, and everyone knew everyone else and everyone knew what they were doing – everyone except me. But then I learned that you can Google these letters after the number symbol and find out the inside joke. And boom, I was instantly sitting at the cool kids’ table because I was speaking the same language.

And guess what, writer tweeps are a lot nicer than the mean girls in middle school.

The big moment came when author Kristen Lamb sent me a tweet. I would post it, but it’s kind of like looking into the sun. Too much truth. Your pupils might burn, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.

These days, I have myself on a strict Twitter diet. I check in three times a week,  spend 15 minutes responding to people, sending thank-yous, and trying to connect with one new person. I literally set a timer. It is really easy for Twitter to become a time suck.

Alas, now that all this time has passed, I don’t remember how to add people to that list Clay helped me to create. Also, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with that list. I think it was supposed to save me time somehow. I’m not really sure. So that’s not great.

I told Clay that I was going to write a blog about how much he helped me.

I estimated that I would have that post written by late August.

So I’m a little ahead of schedule.

But I really need to work on my fall curriculum. And my book.

You remember, my book?

The thing that started all of this…

Yeah.

It’s calling me.

Gotta run.

Do you use Twitter? If so, who taught you? And what do you get out of it? Any funny stories about stuff that has happened to you while you were learning to tweet? What are your Twitter woes?

Tweet This Twit @RASJacobson