Back in June 2019, before COVID was a worry in anyone’s minds, before we entered the world of social distancing, pivoting and Zoom fatigue, I read this amazing book called Your School Rocks..So Tell People! by Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe. I was so impressed by this book that I first wrote a blog post about it in June 2019. This past week, as I was doing an Instagram Live with Amber Trout of Pear Deck, she asked me about how social media could be an asset to any classroom or teacher. This question came from a quote she referenced in my book.

We (educators) have so much talent to share but it remains hidden until we share it.

As I started to share why I believed social media is so essential to educators. I reached for a book to reference, realized that I grabbed the wrong book, Four O’Clock Faculty by Rich Czyz (another amazing book), and when we finished the live show, I went searching for the correct book I was referencing: Your School Rocks..So Tell People! by Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe.

When I found it, my first thoughts were how sometimes old news can become new news again. As we get ready to start a year unlike any other, what story do we want to tell and share about our schools? In their book, McLane and Lowe ask all of us these questions:

  • What stories do we portray about our schools?

  • What stories do we share about our students?

  • Who shares these stories?

  • Why are we sharing these stories?

I don't know about you, but being an educator the past 18 months has been HARD, Educators have been asked to pivot quickly and deftly in response to circumstances beyond any of our control. We have learned how to become virtual teachers, provide concurrent instruction, and many other tasks.

I can only speak for the educators I know and work with, but in the last 18 months, I have seen innovation beyond my wildest expectations. Educators displayed amazing amounts of dedication and resilience. But most of all, they took these challenges and made the most of them. They used them as opportunities to learn,

Why is this even more important now?

Not only am I an educator, but I am also a parent of 4 children. Both my sons have already graduated high school, while my two daughters are in 10th and 11th grade. What messages are we sharing from our schools? When we ask, "What did you do today?" to our children, the answer is frequently, "nothing." In Your School Rocks..So Tell People!" (YSR/STP), the authors share,

If kids are telling their parents nothing special is happening at school, that is the parents' perception whether or not it is accurate (p.12 YSR/STP)

Perceptions are a powerful influence on all of us. What we perceive is what we feel is true. What messages are we sending about our schools? Are we focusing on the struggles (the masks, the social distancing, and such) all the time? Yes, they are so important and we need to be consistent in their implementation. Yes, I will admit that sometimes, even I am guilty of this one sided focus. But, are we sharing the positives, the amazing learning that our dedicated educators cultivate inside of their classrooms. As we prepare for a new school year, consider the following:

  • So how can we change the script and help parents and others in the community see something different?

  • How can we tell the stories of what is happening in our schools and reach as many parents and others in the community?

  • How can social media contribute to sharing our school's story?

How can social media contribute to sharing our school's story?

In their book, McLane and Lower share, "Social media is our new super power and can help us (educators) maintain a positive culture." p.98 YSR/STP. Most schools and districts have Twitter accounts, but have you ever considered how you are using it to share your school's story?

Twitter is a tool that empowers you to keep your stakeholders informed. p.43 YSR/STP

I feel like that says it all. Check your school's Twitter page. What messages does it share about your school? Are you sharing the amazing things going on in your school? During my time as an educator, one administrator once asked all of us to create a brag sheet so that we could share the great things that we were doing that she might miss with just regular observations. I loved this idea- think of Twitter as your school's brag sheet and share all of the amazingness that happens inside of the walls of your building every single day.

Why You Should Consider Adding a Hashtag?

A hashtag is another way to help build community. Hashtags can help us find information, gather information and much more. To help share our story of how our schools rock, a common hashtag is a great way to unite your school's commmunity.

Hashtags promote a sense of community within our schools. (p.74 YSR/STP)

Hashtags can tell a lot about your school. It is so important to be intentional as you consider the best hashtag. Does your hashtag share your school's values or its mission. Right now, that is something we are working on at my school- what is the best hashtag for our school community to unite under? When teachers tweet out using the hashtag, it allows the school community to see all the school's tweets together. It also helps both educators and family to curate their tweets from multiple sources if teachers have their own professional Twitter accounts.