Outlining the Benefits of Social Media for Teachers with @toocoolformiddleschool
Looking for a creative way to teach fractions or introduce new ideas that can make learning more fun and engaging for your students? Not sure the best way to get students excited about their next book report project? Enter the helpful and relatable world of social media for teachers.
Teacher-run social media accounts offer an unlimited wealth of resources for every grade and subject. Not only can you find amazing ideas to implement in your own career in education, but you can also make lasting friendships, expand your network, and focus on your professional development.
Increasingly, educators are turning to apps and social networking sites to connect with each other and find support. If you’re interested in a career in education, now could be a great time to start building your professional network online.
Understanding Social Media for Teachers
Megan DuVarney Forbes (attended ’04-’05) teaches history and English at First Avenue Middle School in Arcadia, California. When she first started her teaching career seven years ago, she turned to YouTube to help her navigate the California credential process. When she didn’t find any videos that could help her, she decided to make her own.
As Forbes progressed through her first years as a new teacher, she continued to make helpful, teaching-related YouTube videos and cross-posted tips on her Instagram account. Today, she has over 30,000 YouTube subscribers and more than 41,000 Instagram followers who know her as @toocoolformiddleschool. Through her growing community of followers, Forbes tapped into a valuable resource all teachers can benefit from.
Social media can be a game changer for your teaching career, even if you don’t want to post personal information. “Social media is so helpful for new teachers, because you can check Instagram or YouTube or whatever social media you use on your own time and find good ideas that you can immediately put into use in your classroom,” Forbes said.
Not only can social media help you connect with like-minded people who have similar career experiences—it can also make you a better teacher. Here are four reasons why.
1. Offers Support Where You Need It
Educators are some of the most talented and compassionate individuals, each teaching different subjects and grade levels. But even the best teachers will have some subjects that are not their strong point—and that’s OK.
Forbes explained she had less training in college around teaching English, so she follows many English teachers on social media to help her gather ideas for her classroom. She also noted that she follows elementary teachers, even though she teaches sixth and eighth graders.
“Elementary teachers tend to be a little bit more organized. Their students are younger, so they tend to have more procedures than I have,” Forbes said. “I really like following elementary teachers to get those ideas, and then I can update them for middle school.”
2. Provides Endless Ideas
Let’s face it, some subjects and topics can be a little more challenging to teach than others. Thankfully there is a teacher out there who not only loves the subject, but also has practical and entertaining ways to teach them to a class!
For example, if you struggle teaching geography, you could connect with other educators who shine in that area. From them, you can learn how to start a cross-country pen pal system or host an easy-to-prep “geography bee.” Social media serves to connect creative and budget-minded teachers.
Many accounts will show followers how to maximize savings and transform inexpensive items into powerful learning tools. Other accounts give out free printables and easy-to-implement ideas. One of Forbes’s most praised ideas is her practice called “Starbucks Time.” Students pretend they are in a coffee shop surrounded by strangers and work independently.
Most teachers will agree that the days leading up to a holiday or break can make it hard for students to concentrate. Forbes solved this issue by orchestrating an escape room with her eighth grade English class. Using the concept of a Poe-themed escape room created by Emily Aierstok of @readitwriteitlearnit, Forbes’ Tell-Tale Heart escape challenge the day before Halloween allowed students to dig deeper into Poe’s short story while having fun and working as a team.
3. Allows You to View Diverse Perspectives
Forbes said she loves that social media allows her to see different and diverse teaching perspectives from her own. “I love hearing about other teachers’ experiences in the classroom and how they impact their students and the kind of trends they’re seeing in education,” she noted. “I really appreciate that through social media I can get a wider perspective and then incorporate that into my teaching.”
We live in an exciting time, and today’s classrooms are more diverse than ever. Using social media to see how other teachers approach diversity and important but sensitive subjects can help strengthen how you weave these subjects into your own classroom.
4. Highlights the Joys of Teaching
Most of all, social media assists teachers in coming together as a community of educators, and helps everyone remember the importance of the job. Yes, there are challenges, but it is all worth it when you can shape a student’s life for the better and see the impact you made.
Are you ready to fulfill your calling in education and work toward becoming one of tomorrow’s education leaders? The School of Education at Azusa Pacific University can prepare you to become a creative and collaborative difference maker in the field.
Posted: May 9, 2019