Saturday, July 14, 2018

What On Earth Does #waledchat Mean?

I have had people asking me a lot on Twitter and other social media about what #waledchat means.  It's a great question!  It also reminds me that there are a lot of new people in the chat, who I was not connected with when the concept was first developed.  So let me explain! :)

  If you would have told me last year that I would be active on Twitter and running a podcast on teaching, I would have laughed and said, "Yeah right!"

    However, one of the benefits of working at a school where Evan Robb is your principal, is that he sees potential in us that we do not necessarily believe.  I have always loved public speaking (I did debate and went to nationals for FLBA in high school), but as I got involved on Twitter and saw these titans of education -- contributing ideas to education -- I questioned myself.  "What do I have to offer this infinite world of internet knowledge?"  That was my response when Evan came down to the cafeteria during lunch and said I should consider starting a podcast.

    Evan was quick to say that I had a lot to offer, and it would be a great opportunity to share with others the ups and downs, the wins and losses, as a middle school history teacher.  Then like a flipping a switch, I started to get all of these ideas.  I went home, downloaded the Podbean app, and got made a short intro episode explaining the purpose of the podcast.  It wasn't hard to think of the name... Wins And Losses.

    I really appreciated the support I got for the podcast.  It does not get thousands (or even hundreds) of downloads, but the people who listen to it, are always so kind and willing to talk with me about it.  I found this podcast to be a great source of reflection.  I stopped looking at losses as a roadblock, and instead saw them as a challenge to be overcome to create new wins.  I learned the importance of celebrating wins.  Podcasting helped make me a more positive teacher.

    As 2017 started to wind down, I wanted to expand.  In college, I wrote a blog on different historical theories and events.  It was read pretty prominently in circles of historians -- my professor would tell me after coming back from conferences that other historians would ask him about the blog.  I wanted to try out blogging in education.  Hence, we now have the Wins and Losses blog you are reading here.  I wanted to write a blog, because I know sometimes people are in a rush, and I wanted to be able to provide education tips to people that could get to them quickly.

   While all this occurred, I had been actively participating in Twitter Chats.  There is something absolutely amazing about being able to talk to teachers, administrators, specialists, consultants, etc., from around the world.  As December started, I wanted to start my own chat, but I had to consider what I wanted the theme to be.  It did not take long for me to go back to my roots... Wins And Losses.  After looking at Twitter schedules, I found a time that worked well, and did not have any active chats yet (Thursdays at 9pm ET).  I contacted someone at Fiverr to make the logo, and then announced January 26th, I announced the creation of a Wins and Losses Ed Chat which would be called #waledchat.  We had our first one on February 1st.
    The central theme around #waledchat is reflection.  If you notice, the questions always ask about triumphs and frustrations.  They ask how you can overcome your frustrations to turn them into victories.  I believe that reflection is like eating birthday cake, it is better when you have people with you for the experience.  I was amazed when I saw people on February 1st signing in from all over the country and Canada.  I have since been humbled every Thursday.  There are days when I feel overwhelmed, and every time I go into #waledchat I am filled with joy.

    Yes #walechat stands for Wins And Losses Ed Chat, but it also means so much more to me.  It means time where I get to meet and grow with some of my favorite people.  It is a time for me to be vulnerable and share my shortcomings, and have people to encourage me to not give up!  It is a real honor to have so many people choose to spend thirty minutes of their Thursday night with me in reflection.  #waledchat feels like more than your typical ed chat to me.  It feels like family.  And as #waledchat continues to grow, I am so thankful for the #waledchat faithful who work to make sure new people feel welcome.

    I am excited to see what happens next.  See you Thursday!


  1. We are so lucky that you started #waledchat Phil. I look forward to it every Thursday. As you said it feels and is more than just another Twitter Chat. It is family and I am honored to play a small part in it. Thank you for everything you do.

  2. So proud of you, my brother. You never cease to amaze me. Amazing things are on the horizon, Philly. Keep on reflecting, growing, and gaining ground. Keep up the good work.