I recently left the classroom after 16 years of being a high school educator.
I pause for a moment of silence after uttering (or in this case, typing) these words as it was the summation of my entire career until very recently. As a little girl, I grew up playing school in the basement of my childhood home and knew throughout my undergraduate years in college that teaching was the track for me. I embraced the ebb and flow of educational change, I love working with young men and women on the precipice of their adult lives and I took advantage of every opportunity to improve my ability as a classroom teacher and found momentum in my more recent move into school leadership and administration. I have never been happy with the status quo. I embrace change.
So then, it should come as no surprise that I would leap from the confines of my school to the welcoming arms of a startup that was created specifically to help schools improve the delivery of instruction and manage change. A business that works with colleges, universities and K-12 schools to design and provide the best technology to help educators tailor learning specifically to meet student needs. My career change has been monumentally eye-opening in that it has forced me to look at what we were doing well in education and where we could use some help from the business model. I’m not insinuating that schools should be run like businesses, but the corporate-savvy have a few tricks up their sleeves that all stakeholders in education would do well to incorporate to improve public perception and become efficient communicators and marketers of the awesomeness we work so hard to create.
How educators can take pages from the marketing playbook
As our CEO, Brian Peddle says, “The most important product you can market is yourself. People fail to realize this. Everyone is in marketing all the time. Even if they don’t think they are.” He cautions that “conversations about what you do at work, what others do at work, or how your work day goes, the statements you make convey a powerful message about yourself. Even a simple complaint about your job is still marketing.”
Great schools use social media to stay transparent, communicate and boost public perception by using the free marketing inherent in tweets, posts and shares. Our job as educators is to educate and engage our “clients,”—our students.
In that respect, we should be using social networks like Linkedin and Twitter to promote ourselves and others. Promote a colleague who is doing something innovative in their classroom, a principal positively impacting the culture of the school, or students making a difference in the community. It’s important to recognize that there is always a choice in how we speak about something, either in a positive or negative context that frames others perceptions. Use social networks to let others know what amazing things are happening in your classroom and in your school.
Twitter is also a fantastic place to connect with colleagues from around the globe to share best professional practices. If you are interested in any topic in education, there is most likely a hashtag that will take you to a vast repository of amazing resources. Here is a great resource from Te@chThought to help you learn more about all things Twitter, including educational themed #hashtags.
If you are already using Twitter to market and communicate, please share your favorite ways to use the tool in your classroom at school with me @emilydustin.