Hi everybody, it’s me. That YouTube video gal. The one that all the spouses are asking about. “Why are you always watching that lady?” “Should we de-subscribe to Netflix?” “Please don’t bring her on vacation with us!”
Yesterday at the CI Midwest conference, I was surprised to have so many teachers tell me that they’ve been watching the daily class videos I’ve been posting. Several said they watch in bed every night. One said she watches on her commute. I thought, “Nice, she uses public transit.” Not so fast Hargaden. She drives. She assured me it was with the sound only. I hope so! One said she’s watched every video of every class all year! She knew all our class secrets! I thought, wowiee that’s a full-time job on top of a full-time job! Maybe she watches on her commute to save time. Then I thought like, “Let’s not make that a thing!”
Needless to say, I was totally floored. I mean, it’s not like I can’t see the views on my YouTube channel getting higher an higher. But I guess I pictured people watching a vid here and there, not enrolling in the Room 23 School for CI. Those videos have really meant a lot to people. It is certainly motivating as I do spend hours per week uploading and cataloging them. It’s a labor of love at this point. And now I’ll think of all those teachers in bed, so committed to learning CI or improving and refining their existing practice that that’ll spend time with the Room 23 crew on the regular.
A couple people were like, please don’t think I’m a stalker! I assure you, folks. I get it. I used to watch so many teachers on YouTube! I still do! When I’m not watching myself!! LOL!! I love it! Until 2016, I never went to a national conference and only had one two-day Blaine Ray workshop with Donna Tatum-Johns in 05 and one two-day Carol Gaab BER workshop in 08. I spent most of my PD money on Reading and Writing Workshop trainings at Columbia University Teachers College in NYC. All I had was the More List, YouTube, blogs, and Ben’s PLC. Videos were IT for me! I learned so much watching others teach. It helped me conceptualize what CI looked like.
So I guess now I’m paying it forward in a big way.
I thought I’d explain how the video bonanza came to be, in case people are curious. My hope is it might inspire folks to post videos of themselves. Believe me, there’s a MARKET for it. You too can teach loads of your colleagues and rake in the invisible cash! 😂
I kid, I kid. But you can really help a lot of people. I’ve learned that. I certainly didn’t set out to do that. I just set out to share with 22 people in California and to leave a record of a nontargeted year, an experiment as I jumped off the cliff to see what would happen.
It was literally a snap decision made on the spur of the moment at the last minute. Ben and I had been in Mike Peto’s classroom in Southern California in August of 2016. Or should I say Ben had. I was just tagging along helping him at that point, trying to absorb from him and provide logistical support. And at the end, on Friday afternoon, some folks said, Tina we’ve never seen you teach. So then the day I went back to my classroom, to begin the school year, I was biking past the Starbucks up at the top of the hill and I had the thought, “I’ll record myself and send it to them.” So I did. But at first, it felt like taking medicine.
At first, I was petrified to watch myself. I had had to watch myself teach in grad school and it had been really really hard. The weird thing is, after about two days I ended up not even thinking twice about it. I began to see myself through a different lens. Now, it’s strange. I watch myself teach, like, pretty much every day. And I actually like it now! It feels more like reading my own writing.
If you’re scared to watch yourself then think of this. You’re watching for all the times when you’re HAPPY in class. Watch your happiness. It will help you get through those first awkward moments of Oh My God My Hair and I Need to Start a Diet Yesterday!!
I was just making the videos and posting them and watching myself and growing a lot from that. And then I started getting messages and questions and pictures of roomfuls of people watching my classes on screens in PD sessions. I started to realize that there’s a real need for virtual visits to another teacher’s room.
It’s strange going from Lil Ole Teacher Me to Video Lady so fast. This time last year I was just starting this video posting project. I literally pictured Mike and crew watching them and maybe talking at their monthly CI meetups. And now twelve months later I just met like at least 20 people who were raging about the videos. And a few superfans. It kind of plays with your head. Like, I wonder, “Do people think I’m some kind of egomaniac?” But then I remember that so many people have said the videos help, and I just stop caring. At some point, I suppose, anyone who wants to go on a mission just has to stop caring what they look like, and focus on what they’re DOING FOR OTHERS.
So, “stalkers”, please never feel awkward! I stepped out of my comfort zone –waaaaay out – to help a group of teachers. I’ve stuck to the project ONLY because it’s helping people. I did debate a lot, “Should I do it again this year?” It’s motivating to know there are real teachers with real students who might get a new idea to make class more efficient and joyful. Cause ultimately it’s for the kids, right? I mean, it certainly ain’t for the invisible dollars!
The more the merrier! Come on in; the water’s fine…once you get used to it. You don’t hafta go hog wild like I did and video every day. Just post a little. The more the merrier! Brett Chonko is on YouTube as Comprehensible RVA and Scotty Jimenez is on YouTube as Sr. Mississippi. Mike Peto is on Vimeo. And there are tons of other classes to watch.
Now please drive safely and tell your spouse that you’ll use headphones in bed. It just makes me feel better about the whole thing!