On January 5, 2017 #G2Great celebrated our two-year Twitter anniversary. As I look back on this remarkable journey, January 8, 2015 stands out in my mind. On that day Amy Brennan and Jenn Hayhurst launched a new Twitter chat to honor my book, Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters (Heinemann, 2012). Read more about our story here
This date is forever imprinted on my heart because it literally changed my life by filling a professional and personal void I never even knew existed. Although the original plan was to discuss my book for several weeks, it didn’t take long before Jenn, Amy and I realized that #G2Great had magically morphed into something we could not possibly have anticipated – a transformation that continues with each chat.
Shouting Our Deepest Literacy Beliefs from the Mountaintop
The mountain analogy has been a recurring #G2Great theme since our entry into Twitter. From the beginning, Amy, Jenn and I envisioned a place where we could stand side-by-side with dedicated educators shouting our deepest beliefs from the highest professional peaks in joyful harmony within a never-ending discovery process that would lead us to our best selves.
This vision has inspired us to continue our shared labor of love, but we are well aware that #G2Great is only a hashtag without each of you. You appear on my twitter screen week after week as you raise glorious collective voices in honor of this wonderful work we are so blessed to do. You reflect an inspiring array of grade levels including teachers, principals, college students, professors, authors, presenters, parents and yes, even high school students (special shout out to our amazing #BowTieBoys). You breathe new life into #G2Great every week with unwavering commitment to education and we are eternally grateful for your dedication.
You see, the truth is that we need you standing at the top of that mountain alongside us because you are the gift that awakened the #G2Great spirit we continue in your honor. As we celebrate our anniversary, we also celebrate the central role each of you play. And so, I’d like to share Six Gifts of YOU that have kept #G2Great alive and strong for the past two years and counting:
Gift #1: YOU acknowledge that change begins by showing up
Twitter has come with a hefty dose of discomfort for many of us. I happen to have first hand knowledge of the sheer terror of entry into this strange new world. Yet you do it because you know that change is impossible behind closed doors. In spite of that, you made a choice to swing the Twitter door wide open with reckless abandon until scary unfamiliar begins to slowly dissipate from view. I can’t tell you how often educators have proudly announced their ‘lurker status’ before bravely sending out a white-knuckle tweet here and there until the words start to pour into a verbal frenzy with the rest of us. It’s a gift you give #G2Great in the name of kids.
Gift #2: YOU bring joyful enthusiasm to every conversation:
I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to joy since I couldn’t face a single day without it greeting me at every turn. As a joy expert, I can say with the utmost of confidence that your joy oozes virtually off my twitter screen from the moment the chat begins until the moment it ends. In fact, it’s common for many of us to show up to the #G2Great party early and linger until we can bear to say a reluctant goodnight. We trend on Twitter each week because pure joy flashes across the #G2Great Twittersphere in such warp speed that most of us struggle to catch random tweets here and there to capture your joy. It’s a gift you give #G2Great in the name of kids.
Gift #3: YOU believe in the unlimited potential of every child:
Tweet after tweet reflects your determined dedication to meet the needs of every learner in your care, regardless of the role you play. Yes, the occasional word of discouragement may rise from the screen carefully disguised between the lines, but it is always accompanied by utter commitment to finding a way to unleash that potential. With devotion to your professional responsibility to every learner, your words are never about blaming parents, peers, administrators, life circumstances or kids. Rather, your tweets reflect you steadfast commitment to do whatever it takes to make success for every learner a reality. No excuses or empty promises – just resolute purpose. It’s a gift you give #G2Great in the name of kids.
Gift #4: YOU acknowledge that collaboration maximizes our growth
As a literacy consultant who spends much of my time in lonely airports and hotels, I would be the first to say that we learn best in the company of others. Through #G2Great I am able to take each of you along for the ride and my life is brighter because you are in it. The #G2Great collaborative spirit is an amazing thing to watch each week. I never see one-sided conversations but purposeful interchanges measured by replies, likes, quote tweets and retweets with a multitude of heartfelt questions, ideas, responses, suggestions, photographs, links, titles, compliments or ponderings that always seems to find a listening ear. It’s a gift you give #G2Great in the name of kids.
Gift #5: YOU celebrate the messy professional learning process of YET:
It’s quite obvious that none of you come to #G2Great because you believe you have all the answers (anyone who believes that clearly has a delusional sense of self). By contrast, you come because you know that our growth process is never done and that each of us must embrace our professional and personal quest to deeper understandings. You come each week with a hunger for new knowledge and deep desire to learn more in the company of others. You don’t come seeking perfection but with a growth mindset mentality that allows you to soak in every word as you immerse yourself whole-heartedly in respectful dialogue knowing that our differences have as much to teach us as our similarities: It’s a gift you give #G2Great in the name of kids.
Gift #6: YOU model an unbridled spirit of instructional curiosity
Each week I am struck by the sense of inspired curiosity each of you bring to whatever educational role you play. That curiosity about your learners is the fuel that keeps you committed to teaching and learning. You demonstrate in every tweet a myriad of instructional wonderings that have the potential to enrich your practices and that curiosity drives you to know more and do more. You do this not for financial gain, notoriety or to sell a product but for the sole purpose of enriching the learning lives of students in your care. Your sense of curiosity keeps you coming back week after week knowing that you will walk away better than you were when you came even if your question is still unanswered. It’s a gift you give #G2Great in the name of kids.
And so in closing, I’d like to express deep gratitude to each of you on behalf of my co-moderators, Amy and Jenn. We are so honored that you have stood beside us on the #G2Great mountaintop during the past two years. Here’s to continuing our #G2Great journey together with new discoveries forever in our sights.
Before you go, let’s take a little trip down memory lane with brief glimpses of tweets that inspired us from every week in 2016. Thank you for being the gift that keeps on giving, friends!
2016 Trip Down #G2Great Memory Lane (see all Storify chats here)