I always tell people that I’m glad that I didn’t grow up in a social media era where you’re constantly pressured to have a million followers, take the perfectly angled selfie at the trendiest spots and feel the need to pretend to have the picture-perfect life. But as I reflect on that, I realize that I am a teacher in this same social media-obsessed world.
Since the inception of Pinterest, I have seen rock star teachers who create countless boards of ideas to make the perfect classroom. They make it look flawless and elegant, but mine will never look like theirs. Yet for some reason, I don’t feel the pressure to be them. I am content to modify what these teachers willingly share with others to make it possible for me – the self-proclaimed “Pinterest Fail Teacher” – to pull off my own rendition.
In the Twitterverse, I’m always in awe of the creativity and passion of the educators that I follow. I’m not cool enough to be on Instagram, but I’ve been told that there are many educators I should be following on there as well. Once again, I don’t try to be just like these teachers; instead, I’m left inspired to be the best version of myself for my students.
A student in my class wore a shirt that simply stated, “Girls Support Girls.” When I first saw it, I thought to myself, “I need this shirt in my size.” Then, the next thought I had was that I wanted a shirt that says “Teachers Support Teachers.”
Teachers should be supporting other teachers; not competing against one another or trying to outdo the person in the classroom down the hall. We should be sharing our ideas, celebrating one another’s successes and trying to lift one another up when we are down.
Twitter is the platform I use to celebrate my students and other educators in my life.
If you follow me on Twitter, you will see pictures of my students being resilient leaders and learners. I also love to showcase the awesome teachers in my building who go above and beyond to create a fun learning atmosphere for their students. I make sure to retweet the positive things going on in my professional learning network too, because as one of my education heroes, Sean Gaillard (@smgaillard), has taught me, we must #trendthepositive.
In my classroom, we end our day with shoutouts, where my students share great things that they have seen other students in our class do that day. I find it only appropriate to close out my thoughts by sharing some shoutouts for some fellow educators in my life:
- Shoutout to Katelyn Callahan (@k_callahan4) of Kenton County for her leadership in orchestrating the 2019 virtual #kygodigital conference for teachers in Northern Kentucky and beyond! Through her leadership work, teachers were able to receive free, high-quality professional development right from the comfort of their couch during their summer “off.”
- Shoutout to Anji Davidson (@anjanetterd) of Jackson Independent for bringing back what she learned from the Ron Clark Academy to her district by starting a house system to help build community within her school.
- Shoutout to C.J. Fryer (@cjfryer) of Beechwood Independent for his innate ability to make learning fun. During his school’s week-long fall break, he was able to get 28 students to go to a math event. This speaks volumes to Fryer’s rapport with his students.
- Shoutout to Allison Slone (@joallison_slone) of Rowan County for organizing her Conference for a Cause, where she was able to bring together different stakeholders all with the vision of making Kentucky education better. Through this event, she also was able to raise $1,200 toward a diabetic service dog for another Kentucky teacher’s daughter.
- Shoutout to Ada Skillern (@t_skillern) of Oldham County, who radiates positivity. Skillern has a way to make her educator peers from her professional learning network feel loved and valued.
- Shoutout to Amy Atkins (@a_atkins716) of Boone County, who is a fearless leader who inspires the teachers in her district with her innovative ideas, which also allows her to impact students beyond her school.
- Shoutout to Sheri Rhodes (@MrsRhodesJCPS) of Jefferson County for always being an advocate for gifted and talented minority students. Her classroom is also structured around a project-based learning atmosphere with real-life impact activities.
- Shoutout to Josh DeWar (@Jjd502) of Nelson County for helping give the students at his school a voice. He supports and empowers the students by being a faculty adviser for their Boston Hive newspaper. This entire newspaper is student-created, which includes the writing, editing and the implementation of design software to publish the newspaper. All students in the school receive a copy of each publication of the Boston Hive.
- Shoutout to Kelly Melton (@kellymelton1) of Muhlenberg County for showing her students and the dance team she coaches how strong people can overcome obstacles like cancer with the combination of determination and a positive outlook.
- Shoutout to all of the teachers of the Commonwealth. You are making a difference each and every day in the lives of your students. Thank you for being a champion for public education.
- Shoutout out to Allison Mainello (@mainellomath) of Covington Independent Schools for showing her Holmes Middle School students that she cares about their success in the classroom and on the court. Mainello is known to show up at the sporting events of her students. Students work hard for teachers who love them unconditionally which in the end results in growth.
After reading this, I hope you take the time to use social media for good. Tweet a shoutout for a fellow teacher with the hashtag #TsSupportTs. If you want to go old school, simply write a note to another teacher to celebrate something amazing you saw them do.
Celebrate the positive things in our schools because this is how we write the narrative of our profession. We are stronger together when we are united and when we lift one another up.
Amanda Klare is a Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellow alumna and a teacher at Beechwood Elementary School (Beechwood Independent). Klare created and maintains the Northern Kentucky Tribune‘s “Voices From The Classroom” feature, which highlights local teachers and their work to improve outcomes for students. She is a recipient of the 2019 Teacher Achievement Award and was a semifinalist for the 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award.