Mary-Jo Hill

08 Sep 2020
Teachers and NQTs are often advised to get on Twitter. What is Twitter at its best and worst?

How to bring your values to an online environment like Twitter? My answer is: Be kind, be generous. Like and retweet.

The values we eschew are fundamental to our finding our ‘tribe’ (Heaven, 1999). This is also fundamental to how we make friends online, which can be much harder to do and the greatest barrier to enabling us to trust a very fragmented community relying on a set number of characters to convey meaning in a largely anonymous way.

Within coaching, one of the greatest tools is to work with a client or coachee about what really makes them tick, what are their own values that they live an work by and how they can fully understand and realise them. Many a time, the real obstacle is that their own really true values are in conflict with those surrounding them. This creates the cognitive dissonance that prevents learning, engagement, growth and progress.

Celebrating our values

The values of Coach for School Improvement are the ones that I live and work by. The Japanese call that the ikigai, in free translation, what is worth living and working for, what gives you the strength to keep going. For me, those are Creativity, Integrity and Enlightenment (Curiosity plus Learning). When I find the individuals and organisations that eschew these, I take great comfort and know that I can feel supported in that environment.

The trickier part of this is that we are naturally in a place where values that are not part of our own, are rammed into the world and social media arena. This means that we need to look more local. Find what connects us and celebrate the small, the local, the what is in front of us.

Twitter: Why I keep coming back?

Which brings me back to Twitter. How do I bring my values to Twitter? What is Twitter at its best and worst? I remember a most cherished coffee several years ago with one of my nieces, explaining what it is.. and I am not sure I really got it at the time and to be honest, I am still struggling. I really am not sure that I get it now. Is it a NoticeBoard, a rant, a way of finding out the news before anyone else? How democratic is it? How stuck am I in an echo chamber of my own making? I see so much emotion on Twitter without the time and space or place that the emotion felt deserves. So here is my one and only take-away: Be kind, be generous. I learnt this from a journalist friend of mine. Like and retweet. It is possibly risky but a retweet says you are on their side. Albeit only briefly. Very powerful.

Mary-Jo Hill is leading the NQT community for VNET CIC