Social Media and me: A mini guide for teachers
Social Media have always been a part of my life. I remember when I was a teenager; I dreamt of a “place” where I would show my life, my work to other people, to communicate. I remember that I used to write letters to people all over the world and I also used to interact with people on Satellite TV, sending pictures, sharing information about my country, and communicating.
We can do everything online
So, the time came, and we can do everything online. We can do research, we can talk with other people, we can study whatever we want. And all this, thanks to the Internet.
Social Media have helped us socialize, but also grow as professionals. So let me share what I have done all these years to grow personally and professionally through social media:
Although young people say this is a platform for “old people”, you can still do a lot of things using it. You can be a member of groups with people who have the same job, the same interests, and the same problems. Through Facebook I got in touch with so many wonderful teachers, I discovered iTDi, and took wonderful courses. I met Shelly Terrell and took part in her amazing 30 Goals project, and got a mention in her book. I have taken part in ELT talks, and even wrote a chapter in Rob Howard’s book. I took part in so many webinars and conventions both as a learner and as a speaker. I even found a job, because I had a strong presence on this platform, and so much more. Facebook is also a wonderful tool for us as teachers individually. You can create groups for students or parents and make it easier to interact with them. In pandemic times, Facebook messenger and rooms is a valuable tool for classes as well and is comparable to Skype or Zoom or other teaching platforms.
Yes, this is a platform for pictures. But, you can totally use it for work as well. Take the opportunity to promote yourself and your work thought this platform. “Stories” are a wonderful tool for little tips and announcements about classes, exams, and even teaching vocabulary and grammar. If you have a blog or a website, you can link your posts and let people know your work. Younger people prefer short texts and more images, and why not? Using Instagram could bring you more students, or at least better communication with them. Instagram Chat is also a communication platform you can use to teach, since a lot of people don’t use other platforms.
Tik Tok? Yes, I am serious about it! I am pretty new at this, but I see a lot of my students spending hours and hours trying out new challenges. Do we adults have a place in this? Yes, we do. Tik Tok is all about videos and images. So why not create a mini channel with learning tips? Or explaining new words? Talk about exams, talk about fun facts of the language or the subject you teach! I am sure that a lot of students will find that interesting enough to contact you.
Using social media takes a lot of time. Content creating and being consistent is not always easy. But… I believe that you can benefit a lot if you give it a try.