The story of a weekly social media ‘get together’ of teachers, from Paul Hume.

Some of you may have noticed my Friday gathering on Twitter talking about flamingos, with videos and discussions using the #FYFlamingoF. I’ve been asked questions about what it means, what it’s all about. I thought it best to write an article to explain.

Here goes…

I began interacting more with Twitter, particularly EduTwitter, as we were plunged into lockdown last March. I hadn’t used it much before, except to follow certain music and sports personalities, and was beginning to doubt why I had downloaded the app. Since then, I have formed a lot of great friendships and have found it a great benefit to my wellbeing.

But where did the flamingo come from?

Well… One of my first connections was with Rani, @fidsta77. We would find ourselves interacting on an educational thread, then we would end up going off on tangents with hilarious GIFs (some of them animals) and silly banter. This was a common occurrence. We would forget what the original thread was about, apologise to the originator and leave. When I say animals, I can remember there were lots of GIFs of sharks, orangutans, dolphins, snakes, rats (another story) and yes, flamingos. We would often end our tweets with emojis of these animals and it was the flamingo that we kept on using more and more. It became part of our daily interactions and made it into our bios .

I had been interacting on various hashtags every week: @MenTeachPrimary with #MTPMonday and their #EduPubChat with @TJGriffiths and @teacher_mr_r; @Toriaclaire with #TinyVoiceTalks; @deputygrocott with #FFBWednesday; @richreadalot with #Kindnessripple; @clcsimon with #FF/#FFEd; and had developed lots of great connections – some would even become close friends. I wondered if there was a hashtag I could possibly contribute to the week. That’s when I thought about the flamingo. It is a source of fun and laughter for some of us and unites us in joy. It also represents uniqueness, beauty and peace. I decided that this would be the intended outcome: that it would unite people every week, helping them to connect, have fun and support wellbeing. I encourage everyone to release their inner flamingo using GIFs, pictures, quotes and poems in a creative way. Your inner flamingo is what makes you, you. It’s your inner self coming forth and saying to the world, ‘Here I am. I am me and I am enough. ’

I played around with various hashtags but eventually settled on #FYFlamingoF (Find Your Flamingo Friday). The first time I launched it, it didn’t generate much response. It was new and it was probably quite confusing, as I mentioned. But I kept on. Meanwhile, I had developed a close connection with Penny, @pennywpennyw. She was another that would interact with flamingo emojis and was keen to be involved with #FYFlamingoF. She would suggest themes for the week that we tweet out, asking for submissions, in advance of Friday. She curates the submissions into a video that is broadcast on that day. This began generating many more interactions, and now, as people understand it more, it is much more successful. Thank you, Penny! It’s great to have a friend to help with this.

Where will it go next?

Well, I am planning on recording a weekly Flamingo podcast where we discuss highlights from the week, play music and share funny stories. It’s a work in progress but I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows. If you want to be part of #FYFlamingoF, look out for Penny’s tweets in the week or join us from approximately 6am every Friday! You don’t need to be part of the video.

Even if you don’t interact with us on Fridays, it is worth reflecting on the symbolism and values that the flamingo stands for.

  • What is your talent?
  • How can you positively make a difference to the world around you?
  • Do you know that you are worth it?
  • Do you limit yourself, through perhaps fear or otherwise?

Let yourself fly free. Release that flamingo!

Author

  • Paul Hume

    Paul qualified to teach in 2007 from the GTP and has had the pleasure of teaching in a wide range of primary schools throughout London. He developed his leadership skills as phase leader and leading on curriculum and assessment. He is now deputy headteacher at a bilingual school in West London.

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