Controlling the Firehose

When I was in college I worked as a summer student at the Celgar Pulp and Paper Mill in Castelgar, BC.   As part of the “Yard Crew”, my jobs included general maintenance of the mill grounds, gardening, digging, odd jobs and hosing streets.  Because so many trucks came into the mill filled with wood chips, the streets often became covered in these chips.  So at least two or three times a week, we would hook up the firehose to the hydrant, haul the hose around and wash all the chips off the streets.  As many of you surely know, a firehose has an enormous amount of power.  If we didn’t handle it well, it would easily get out of control.  We needed to work together as a team and help hold the hose so no one lost control of it. In fact, on one occasion at the Pulp Mill one of my crew mates turned the hose on before the rest of us had moved into position to help her.  She was quite violently tossed around while desperately struggling to get control of the hose.  Finally she just gave up and ran away.  The hose continued to writhe  dangerously until one of us ran to the hydrant and turned IT off.

It has been a little over two weeks since my first blog post.  I have made a real effort to get into the “Twittersphere”.  I have read MANY, MANY blog posts, I have commented on the ones that I connected with, I have retweeted, replied and followed. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I am going to use the information I am gathering.  Truthfully, there is so much of it that, at first, I couldn’t fathom where to start.  When trying to think of the words to describe my Twitter experience, the cliché that kept coming to mind was that I was “trying to take a sip from a firehose.”  Immediately, the image of my fellow yard crew worker being tossed around like bait on the end of a fishing line came to mind.

The realization struck that that is exactly what was happening to me in my “Twittering.”  I was being flung around violently, without a purpose and without any real direction.  So my next step has been to refine what I am looking for and focussing on while reading Tweets and blog posts.  It became evident that if I tried to use all (or even most) of the information that I would end up ultimately just giving up and running away.  

Two goals immediately came to mind: 1.I love blogging. I have a lot of things to say. I am sure my students would enjoy this too. My first goal is to start my grade 8 Language Arts students blogging. 2. Assessment in Physical Education.  Teaching PE is a passion of mine, but admittedly, I have not done a great job of assessment.  My second goal is to collaborate with my PLN to become a leader in my school and in my school division in this area. 

Looking to my PLN for help achieving these goals will be necessary to controlling the volume and pressure of the greatness that is Twitter.  In the last two weeks I have had more meaningful professional development than in 10 years of teacher’s convention.  The support and 24/7 access to questions, answers, opinions and so much more makes me believe that I can carry through with these goals without getting stale. 

 I will always have my crew mates in place to help control the firehose.

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2 thoughts on “Controlling the Firehose

  1. Well said Marci. It can be overwhelming in the beginning but sticking with it is so worth it. I like what you said about how you have had more meaningful PD in the last two weeks than at any convention. There are so many great people out there who also want to learn, want to share, and are willing to help. It is important to give yourself some direction, as you have, but don’t let your head get buried in the sand about other areas. You’ll find interesting content and good conversations pop up about something outside of your two target areas and if you have the time, join in.

    You have made a great start in blogging, I can’t wait for the next post.

  2. This was my feeling exactly when I started building a PLN using social media. Like yourself I to had to step back and set some goals so I could get the most out of this awesome form of PD. Keep with it, your voice is an important one.

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