Teacher 'Gram Tips and Tricks

6:00 AM

Are you on Instagram with either a personal or teacher account?

Most of the bloggers here at #Conversationsfromtheclassroom have an Instagram account we use for teaching ideas and shares.  The group blog even has it's own account here: @conversationsfromtheclassroom

I am actually a part of the Facebook Group: Instagram Connection for Educators that tries to help educators who are selling on TeachersPayTeachers, or want to become influencers in the Educator World.

If you DON'T have an Instagram account and follow fellow educators in your niche...go sign up! 

Now that you have an account, here are a few tips and tricks that will help you grow your account, follow the right people, and make teacher 'gram a great place to be!

1) Find your niche!

There are A LOT of great teachers on Instagram, from all over the world and teaching all sorts of wonderful things.  However, when I started my account I went in and immediately followed all the popular people or ones suggested to me by Instagram right away, and their content just wasn't for me.  I wanted to see relevant posts in my feed, so I had to unfollow of "mute" people who didn't fit with my niche.  As a second grade teacher, seeing a high school science teacher's lab experiments might be fun, but isn't going to help me grow in my profession.  I searched for hashtags like #secondgradeteacher and looked at the photos where that had been used, and then followed teachers who's content was interesting to me.  I have since found great anchor chart ideas, classroom engagement activities, management and organizational tools, etc. that have helped me grow as an educator.

Also, just because someone has 50K followers does NOT mean they are the greatest account in the world.  Some of the best Insta-teachers I follow have less that 2,000 followers, but they are a great resource for inspiration and teaching posts.  Instagram can be like high school, where the "popular" kids gain momentum and get a lot of attention, but sometimes it's just smoke and mirrors.  You get to be the judge of who you see in your feed by clicking the follow button; just because 49,999 other people have followed that person doesn't mean you need to, if they don't appeal to you.

2) If you share/repost someone's picture, make sure you TAG THEM in both the caption and on the photo itself.

Teacher grammers love to be re-shared and for their content to get seen by others, but please make sure in the caption you use the @ and then type their username, as well as hit "tag" on the photo and link it to them.  It is only KIND to give someone credit for something that you are re-sharing.  You can use great apps like Repost to help share and tag the account.

3) Remember that people show you what they want you to see.

For the most part, people use Instagram to highlight their best selves, give you a glimpse into their classroom.  You are seeing one second in that educator's life/day, and you are reading the caption they chose to put there.  Not everything is always rainbows and butterflies....but they won't tell you that.  We ALL have hard days or moments, things that don't go as expected, ideas that flop, observations that tank, lunches that spill....should I keep listing?  But most of those things don't get posted because that's a weakness or showing that we're not as put together as we should be. (I am not saying anyone is really weak, just trying to put things in perspective!)

Someone might have a really great idea and post about it, but you're not seeing the 12 tries they attempted at making the anchor chart look nice, or how they stayed up until midnight planning, or how their lunch is a 4th cup of coffee because their's is actually still on the counter at home.  Don't judge yourself by someone else's snapshot or snippet.  This is SO HARD because we make assumptions about people based upon what we do get to see, and forget to give ourselves grace and forgiveness.

4) Interact with the accounts you love.

Instagram is all about liking (double tap to "heart" it) photos.  But if there is a photo you really enjoy or want some more information on, interact with the account by: commenting, saving, or even dming the person!

  • Comment: let the person know WHY you liked their photo or what made it so intriguing to you.  Do you have a connection to it? Did it make you laugh or cringe because it hit a little too close to home (thinking teacher memes here.)
  • Saving: hit the little bookmark button under the photo on the right hand side and save the idea for later!  Instagram also allows you to put these photos into collections (folders) so you can access them later.  I have collections of books to read, classroom management ideas, team building activities, etc. saved that I can access whenever I need to. This is also nice because it saves some brain cells from having to remember the name of the handle who had posted the pic and saves time from needing to go and look it up again...you can just go to your saved photos and viola there it is!
  • DMing-Direct Message, sending the account a message in the Instagram app.  Think of it like a text but using the Instagram platform.  "Hey, I saw ____ and am wondering about _____," is a nice way to get to know people on Instagram.  Most people will respond and share follow up thoughts if you ask and are polite.  Those who don't respond, aren't worth your time.  Just remember that accounts have real, live human beings working them, so give people some grace to respond before you write them off.

Those are four of my top Teacher Instagram Tips for new accounts.  Any questions or things I should add?  Feel free to join our Facebook Group (Instagram Connection for Educators) or send me a message on Instagram (@drazs_class) with questions or thoughts.  I by no means have it all together or consider myself an expert, far from it!  But I do hope I can help you make your time on Instagram worthwhile, and help to elevate this platform as a useful tool for educators!

by Sara from Draz's Class

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