Out of the Comfort Zone

I have always been more of a lurker. I am good at finding resources that are already out there. I am good at sharing those resources with the people I work with. I contribute by liking, sharing, or commenting on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. 

Even as a contributor, I get nervous about sharing comments or my personal opinions. This has always been my problem. I am an anxious person. I do not like putting myself out there. I worry about what other people will think or that I do not know as much as other people out there. 

I love looking at my Twitter feed and seeing all the posts from the people that I view as “superstar” teachers. You know, the ones who are super connected, ISTE certified, Apple Distinguished Educators and so on. I want to be like these people when I grow up. 

Social media is where I get ideas, get more connected with other educators, and find out about professional development opportunities. It is a place I lurk and occasionally contribute but rarely create.

I’ve never been comfortable being a maven, challenger, or facilitator as Lloyd, Skyring, and Fraser describe in Online Personas. It was however interesting to read that the authors found that the respondents of their survey generally have a positive attitude toward lurkers; especially for those who are just beginning. 

The survey found that for some people it takes time to get comfortable in a new group setting. However, I can see how being a lifelong lurker could be detrimental to my personal growth as an educator. I want my students to be connectors, creators, collaborators, and contributors so I should be leading by example. This is essentially the reason why I am now a COETAIL-er. I want to push myself outside of the box of lurking and into the world of connecting and creating. 

Having two weeks of Online Learning due to the Coronavirus and now going on a third week, I am seeing the benefits of being a creator more. Through my connections on Twitter, I have been able to find out what other teachers in Asia are doing while schools are shut down. As I was lurking through Twitter, I saw that one teacher had made video tutorials for her students using Screencastify. 

Immediately, I went and created one for my second grade students on how to log-in to their Seesaw accounts from home. Then I talked to another teacher I know through PubPD who also happens to be a COETAIL alumni. She shared that Screencastify is offering free subscriptions to teachers affected by the Coronavirus. Without these connections, I am not sure I would have created a video tutorial for my students today.

And as a sit here and right this blog post, I am already beginning to see a shift from a lurker to a connector and creator. For one, I am creating a blog post. I contributed by commenting on someone else’s post. I created a video using Screencastify for my students today. I am finally beginning to see that everyone has time to create! Kate Cofino’s post, Making Time to Create, is a great reminder that with a little practice and effort anyone can be creative!

CREATED by Andrea Goodrich

Author: Andrea Goodrich

I am an international educator working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have been working overseas for the past 13 years. I started my career in a bilingual school in Guayama, Puerto Rico as a fifth and sixth-grade reading teacher. Then I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and taught fourth grade for two years. While living in Ecuador, I met my husband and we moved to Seoul, South Korea together. In Seoul, I taught fifth grade for two years and then moved into a literacy specialist role. We are now teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam with our two Korean rescue dogs.

8 thoughts on “Out of the Comfort Zone”

  1. Hey Andrea! I’m sorry to hear you’re also one of the schools affected by the Coronovirus closings. I wanted to share that I really connected with your post because I have also become a lurker. I loved how you are starting to see yourself as a creator and connector. You are now connecting with other teachers and making use of new tech tools as you teach online which is exciting. I look forward to watching your journey and development through COETAIL.

    1. Hi Josmary! The Coronavirus closings have left things up in the air for now at school, but we are making the best out of it. It is actually a good challenge for all of the teachers. It is allowing us to be creative and giving us time to try out new ways of teaching! Platforms like Seesaw and Screencastify have been helpful tools that allow us to connect with students and offer them learning opportunities outside of school. Hopefully, we will be back in session soon! I miss the students.
      I look forward to learning with you throughout this experience.

  2. Hello Andrea!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. What you saying about yourself is very close to how I feel. I am more a lurker, then creator and not a connector at all, when it comes to the online world.
    I have also just found our about this wonderful program that you have started to use Screencastify and very exited about it.
    How much time does it take you to create one 3-5 minute instruction? Do you aim to perfection when creating it? I want to use it, but my main concern is that it will not look professional and that it will not be perfect.
    I am very exited to read about your journey!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hello Irena,

      It’s nice to meet you! Screencastify has been super helpful during this time away from school because of the Coronavirus. I have been recording the writing lessons for my grade level team. It is actually kind of fun! I don’t aim for perfection and the parents tell me the videos have been helpful. It’s also been helpful when students are having trouble logging into their accounts from home. I make a quick tutorial through Screencastify and it only takes a few minutes. You should play around with it! I kind of want to record a bunch of mini-lessons through Screencastify and put them in a Google Drive folder that students can access when they need support on a particular topic such as writing an introduction.
      Looking forward to collaborating and getting to know you better through this experience!

  3. Fantastic post, Andrea! I can sense that during the blogging process you are moving from a lurker to a creator and connector. It is great to have you part of the COETAIL community. I am excited to see where it takes you.

  4. I completely identified with some of your reasons for being a lurker. I also get anxious and worry about what others think. I talked about some of this in my own post too.

    Kudos for moving forward, out of the lurker phase and taking active steps toward being a creator. If anything, the Coronavirus has forced us, educators, to think differently about facilitating learning.

    I can’t wait to read more!

  5. Hi Andrea!
    This is one great aspect of the COETAIL program and its community approach to learning: the connections we find, and the inspiration we can mutually find and give. I definitely could claim your first paragraph as mine, as I now have realized that I am a lurker (I didn’t know the word!). I also am to a small extend a contributor, mainly by liking or sharing as I do get nervous too about “exposing” myself and I don’t think to have the validity nor the skills to create. So reading how you are a few steps ahead, and have already moved forward is reassuring for someone like me, and inspiring.
    My school closure also forced me to already use tools and practices I wanted to try but always postponed.
    Looking forward to discover how you kept progressing in Course 1.

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