December 3, 2014 by

Why Secondary School Educators Should Join Instagram

It’s no secret that there’s a special spot for educators in the world of social media. Teachers have turned Twitter into their very own landscape with a massive list of education-related hashtags and chats. On Pinterest, you can’t help but notice the amazing sharing of lesson and classroom ideas. There’s even a growing network of educators on the professional networking community ASCD EDge®.

But what about Instagram?

Sure enough, you don’t have to look too far to find educators networking on Instagram as well! A simple search of #teachersofinstagram will verify this point. You’re bound to come across images of elementary school classrooms, primary math problems, and early childhood learning circles. Elementary educators are easy to spot on Instagram!

But what about secondary educators?instagram post

I’ve heard middle and high school teachers share concerns that their own students may find them on Instagram or their content just isn’t as “cute” as their colleagues’ in the lower grades. While understandable, these concerns don’t have to keep you from joining Instagram. Make sure your Instagram account is private and be creative with your user name if you want to avoid being found by students. As for your classroom content, it doesn’t have to be “cute” and elementary-aged to help out your colleagues.

In fact, I asked a few secondary teachers who are active on Instagram to share why they believe Instagram is a great place for networking and explain what they find most helpful from their colleagues on Instagram. Here’s what they had to say:

“As a 6th grade teacher I often find myself on an island of sorts, but networking with other like-minded secondary teachers has actually helped lighten my load.” —Kayla Dessert (@coachandteach247)

“Create a hashtag for your students to follow. For my kids I use #hodgensap, #hodgens12, #hodgensmyth. The hashtags allow students to see how you celebrate your classroom without having to follow you.” —Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator)

“I initially created a professional Instagram as a way to share what was going on in my classroom. However, I have found that the support I have gained from teachers that are complete strangers has become the reason I often spend my ‘mental cool down’ time after school perusing strangers’ pictures and taking screen shots of lesson ideas.” —Kayla Dessert (@coachandteach247)

“Share classroom happenings. Last year I took a picture of my midterm review sheet and posted it on Instagram with the class hashtag. I had several students tell me they thought that was cool. And it shows them how we can use Instagram for more than just pictures of ourselves and our food.” —Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator)

“With the Common Core, teachers are often left to decide how best to teach the standards. With this looming over us, having a network of teachers that are experiencing the same thing can be a great help. Through Instagram we can bounce ideas off each other and refine lessons through pictures and quick comments.” —Kayla Dessert (@coachandteach247)

“Take humorous pictures of yourself. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with grading or if I’m having a rough day, I will take a selfie and post it with my class hashtag. This allows my students to see that I can have a sense of humor, even on my roughest days.” —Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator)

“Like anything, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out. I suggest searching hashtags for your grade level, such as #iteach6th, in order to find ideas that are most applicable to you.” —Kayla Dessert (@coachandteach247)

“Take pictures of students working in groups (I try to get them when they are looking down). I have to remind them to not look while I’m taking pictures. But it lets them, and their parents, see what they’re doing in class . . . and how comical some of their faces become when they’re working really hard.” —Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator)

“Instagram is rapidly becoming my favorite because it only takes a few seconds to upload a picture and receive immediate feedback from a vast audience around the country and even the world.” —Kayla Dessert (@coachandteach247)

“Take pictures of student work that is impressive . . . and not so impressive. I like to make collages of projects my students complete and post it to Instagram. It gives students a defined sense of self in a new way. I’m not just hanging their work in the hall; I’m sharing it on social media because I am proud of the effort they put into their assignments.” —Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator)

Alexandra Fenwick is a public relations professional on the ASCD Communications team. She supports the Communications team, works on ASCD’s social media accounts, and contributes to media relations on behalf of the association. Alexandra received a degree in public relations from the Pennsylvania State University.