Twitter chats are an amazing way to engage with other educators and share our ideas, stories, and personal reflections on our experience in classroom. You know the drill: Chats last an hour and consist of six or seven questions and after that, of course, come the various replies, likes, and retweets. I usually come away from Twitter chats inspired, challenged, and energized with many ideas to incorporate into my practice.
As a result, I’ve always thought about doing a Zen Teacher Twitter chat, but given the unpredictable nature of my personal schedule, I knew it wasn’t something I could commit to on a regular basis. So I’ve been thinking about how I could provide that experience for teachers interested in The Zen Teacher message and I think I’ve found a solution. 
I call it: The Zen Teacher Sideways Twitter Chat.
I’ve decided to turn the Twitter chat on its side. Instead of asking for an hour of your life every week and asking my seven questions there, I will take those questions and ask you one a day for an entire week and ask for your responses, replies, likes, and retweets to happen throughout the course of that day. 

I think this also adds an interesting layer to the entire process. Instead of trying to process seven questions in an hour, I will be presenting one question, concept, or topic a day for you to mull on, think about, and incorporate into your lifestyle and then report back on how it went or what you think. This format gives you the opportunity to put the ideas into immediate practice. I’ve seen other groups try this with great success and I’m hoping it works for us as well.
Here’s how it works:

  1. I will Tweet a question early Monday morning (relentless promotion will precede this tweet as a reminder to those interested in playing along). One question will follow each morning for an entire week–seven days in all.
  2. Mull on the idea as long as you like that day.
  3. When you’re ready, contribute your response to the Zen Teacher hashtag (#zenteacher) and, as you tweet your response, be sure and check the hashtag for what your other colleagues have said. Reply, like, and retweet as you would during a normal chat.

The very first Zen Teacher Sideways Twitter Chat is scheduled to begin on Monday June 5th, to ease us into summer and help us better navigate the end of the school with more grace and peace.

Think of it as an early morning PD session you can use all day.

Think of it as a mini-course in self-care.

Think of it as the beginning of a lifetime of greater peace, serenity, and personal fulfillment.*
Not a bad way to spend the week, no?
This is an experiment, and so like most of the best teaching ideas, it may be a transcendent learning experience or it may crash and burn. Some people may not like this structure. Some people may forget it’s even happening.  Time will tell.


After the first chat (that ends on Sunday, June 11th), two lucky participants will be able to pick from the following list of prizes:
1. A copy of my book The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom.

2. A free 30 minute Google Hangout with me where I help you design your own personalized self-care plan.  

I’m not sure how to judge this yet, but it may be the person who participates the most, the person who has the most interesting contribution, the person who makes me laugh, or the person whose profile picture or bio I like the best. Anything goes. But two people will walk away with their choice of the prizes above (and no, I won’t be offended if you choose the book. . .). 🙂 

If this sounds like an interesting idea to you, I hope you will join us on Twitter beginning Monday, June 5th. If you have any questions, please let me know. You can comment here or tweet me at @thezenteacher.
I’m very excited to be hosting the first Sideways Twitter Chat beginning Monday June 5th.

I hope to see you there! TZT 

*your results may vary