Please change my Twitter password…
These were the words I texted my husband on November 18th as I traveled home from NCTE. Exhausted yet fulfilled, I knew my brain needed a break from the constant stream of learning that Twitter provides me with. Take a break fully in order to be more present with my family. Taking a break well-knowing that even taking a break from some of the work that is happening on social media is a privilege in itself. I get to step away when I am exhausted. Not everyone gets to do that.
I could have just stopped going on there and yet I needed a further distance than that. A true break where I did not get to check in, where I didn’t get to quickly sink back in, slowly letting the consumption of Twitter pull me back in. Because that’s what has happened in the past. Call it fear of missing out, of feeling inadequate, of being excited to share, whatever you call it, the reality was; when I was on there, I was affected and I needed a break.
At first, I missed it. It was weird not just jumping on there to check in. Weird to not see all of the conversations unfolding. Watch the news break. Hard to not share the work we were doing in our classroom through a quick tweet or question.
But after the missing came the questions; am I still doing enough to change the world of education if I am not on Twitter? Am I still doing my part whatever that part is? Am I less effective as an educator if I am not connected to those who not only will inspire me, but also challenge me?
I am not sure, I am still pondering that…
But what I do know if this… Since then I have checked Twitter four times and every single time, I have felt my heart rate increase, my stomach clench, my brain get filled with to-do’s that weren’t to-do’s a few moments ago. I have noticed that within the excitement of seeing the conversations happening, the sharing, the hard truths being pushed out, I also felt lost. I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I was not doing enough, or maybe I was trying to do too much. That perhaps my voice could add to the ongoing conversations or perhaps it could hinder others from joining in.
So today, I asked my husband to once again change my password. To allow me to continue to step away from “Twitter Pernille.” Not because I don’t want to engage, but because I want to engage in other spaces. Because I want to preserve the energy I have to affect change in my own classroom, my own school, my own district. Because my kids deserve more of me, both my own four, but also the 76 I get to call mine this year. Because I want to focus on reflecting, because I want to focus on learning. I don’t want to focus on what I need to produce. I want to listen to others whose work will help me become a better educator, a better human being. And right now, Twitter isn’t doing that for me. And that’s ok.
So for now, I will be on here. I will be in my classroom fully present. I will try to find a better balance between sharing and staying quiet. I will be in the Global Read Aloud community, the Passionate Readers community. I will be actually reading more of the fantastic things written by others whose work inspires me to be more than I am. I will be diving back into research. I will be looking at my own practices in order to grow. I will be by my fireplace reading a book. I will be at my dinner table laughing with my kids. I will be just Pernille, not Pernille that has a lot to say and doesn’t always know when to be quiet. If you see me on there, it is probably a cross-posting from Instagram or a very rare moment indeed. But until then, take care of yourself. I am trying to take care of me.