I love the Olympics. I have spent the last week becoming an expert in everything from road cycling to diving (too much splash! 7.0 for you!) and every time I see the winners interviewed I always feel a little emotional about how proud they are and how much effort they have put in to get that precious medal. For me though, the emotion always seems extra special when you see people performing as part of a team. The reaction of Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow when they won bronze this week was absolutely wonderful. Becky Adlington in the commentary box crying tears of happiness for the young Team GB swimmers reminded me that once you are part of a team, you are ALWAYS part of the team.
This year my team, my English department, has changed almost beyond recognition. Lots of incredible English teachers have left us (all because of various circumstances and not because they were desperate to get away I hasten to add!) They’ve moved on to join new teams, new English departments in new schools, new senior leadership teams, new communities. They may not be a part of my department anymore but, the way I see it, they will always remain a part of my team; Team English.
I have been using the hashtag #TeamEnglish for a while now and earlier this year I set it up into a group list on Twitter for people to use a common calling card when sharing resources and ideas. I was stunned by the number of tweets I received from fellow English teachers asking if they could be added… but something was missing. The list was fine but lacked the community cohesion for real sharing that I wanted it to be used for. Then one morning I messaged the legendary @positivteacha and @shadylady222. Would they like to help me set up a Team English twitter account? A place for our community to really share and connect with each other, much like the EngChat account but without the weekly chat.
So we started it up (with the help of Literacy Shed’s @redgierob who very kindly offered to be our Primary rep) and by today’s count we have 1,347 followers. Now I know that’s peanuts in the world of Edu Twitter (we ain’t no @TeacherToolkit… yet!) but we have managed to draw together over a thousand English teachers who want to expand their subject knowledge, connect with others, share their ideas and, dare I say it, make new friends. I was lucky enough to meet @shadylady222 and so many other English teachers at T&L Leeds this year and I realised how wonderful this Twitter team was.
Not a day goes by without my phone pinging with endless notifications of resources and chats that have started on the @Team_English1 account. People are sharing constantly with the rest of their team. I happen to think that’s pretty special.