<![CDATA[Basic Girl Teaches - Blog]]>Mon, 06 Jan 2020 21:27:10 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Why I Am Not Sharing Classroom Photos This YEar]]>Mon, 05 Aug 2019 02:37:09 GMThttp://basicgirlteaches.com/blog/classroom-photosI am not going to be sharing any photos from my classroom on Instagram this year. In the past, I have occasionally shared a #feetupfriday post, or maybe a shot of my anchor charts or my messy desk, but this year I'm doing things differently. Over the last year or so, I have felt less and less comfortable posting images of my classroom on the internet and slowly I have backed off from sharing classroom photos. There are a few reasons why I made this decision.
FERPA (The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) is a law the relates to students' privacy and the protection of their personal information. The more I've learned about FERPA, the more I have begun to recognize my responsibility to protect the privacy of my students. I have always been careful about this, but lately I have been even more careful. I never want my social media usage to infringe on my students's privacy. My friend Jillian from Teaching with Jillian Starr has created a blog post and a podcast episode that are great resources about FERPA and social media use that I would recommend to anyone looking to reflect on their own practices.

Some decisions I have made include:
  • not posting images that includes students hands, clothes, feet, etc.
  • avoiding images that include samples of student work or student handwriting
  • not referencing the first or last names of any student
  • refraining from posting images that include any students or their likeness

Since my classroom is full of students, student names, and their handwriting, I have found myself stepping back from sharing classroom photos. No longer sharing photos from my classroom will make it even easier to be certain that I am abiding by the specifications of FERPA.

2. Boundaries
I have always been an advocate for the importance of boundaries. In this instance, I'm talking about the boundaries I create between my teaching and my social media platform. I never want to give the impression that I use my classroom as a means to promote my business or my Instagram account.

Here are a few boundaries I have selected for this purpose:
  • I never take photos or create content or stories during contract hours
  • I create products on my personal computer at home
  • I plan, design, and create products and content for my business separate from creating them for my classroom and my students
My decision to stop sharing pictures from my classroom will make this boundary even clearer.

3. Teaching Matters
I've noticed the increasing competitive atmosphere between teachers on the internet, especially on Instagram. I don't want to contribute to this environment. Instagram is full of perfectly curated and edited photos of well-styled and well-funded classrooms full of matching baskets, perfect posters, and trendy decor. But, the average classroom doesn't really look like that.

My value as a teacher isn't connected to what my classroom looks like. Neither is yours. There are aspects of teaching that are much more important than how your classroom is decorated.

My teaching can stand alone. Yours can, too. We don't need perfect pictures or a perfect classroom to prove that our voices are valuable and our opinions are valid.

Here's the deal: you don't have to be like everyone else on the internet. You don't have to share things just because everyone else is sharing them. Be intentional, ethical, and equitable in your posting.
Join the Teacher Instagram Club
Enroll in the Teacher Instagram Guide
Shop the Teacher Instagram School
<![CDATA[You Have An Influence]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:37:43 GMThttp://basicgirlteaches.com/blog/you-have-an-influenceIt's easy to feel lost in the sea of teacher Instagram accounts. Often you might feel like your reach is so small that what you're posting and saying isn't reaching anyone's ears. Here's the deal, though. No matter how big or small your audience is, you're impacting the people who see your content. If you're using Instagram, you have an influence.
It doesn't matter if your audience has 10 people or 10,000 people - you have an impact on whomever it is who comes across your posts and stories. Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about the size of our influence that we don't think about what type of influence we have.

Social media is different from real life in one main way: on our social media platforms we are able to carefully curate the messages we communicate. We can rehearse our stories, edit our photos, revise our captions, and delete our posts whenever we want. This means that we have a lot of control over how we use social media to influence the world.

Pay attention to what kind of impact your messages have. Is this the kind of difference you want to make in the world? I love this quote by Jane Goodall. She said, "What you do makes a difference. You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

What you're doing on Instagram makes a difference. You get to decide what kind of difference you want to make. This means you don't have to have opinions on the same topics as everyone else. You don't have to share the same kinds of photos or the same quotes as other people. You get to choose what message you share with the world.

The flip side of this is: if you're using Instagram, you're being influenced by the content that you read/watch/see. If we're not intentional about who we follow, our social media feeds can quickly become an echo chamber where we only see content that reinforces the beliefs we already have. Look to follow people who have a variety of backgrounds, opinions, and perspectives, who have different sized followings, who do or do not sell stuff, etc. Keeping a blend of points of view running through your feed can help you see the world differently.

Instagram can be a powerful tool to connect with people. How are you influencing your audience through your Instagram account?
Want to learn more about using Instagram as an effective tool for your teacherprenuer business or brand? Click on one of the links below for more information.
Join the Teacher Instagram Club
Enroll in the Teacher Instagram Guide
Shop the Teacher Instagram School
<![CDATA[The Teacher Instagram Club]]>Tue, 09 Jul 2019 15:30:00 GMThttp://basicgirlteaches.com/blog/the-teacher-instagram-clubHave you seen a trend lately of teacherprenuers using Instagram to grow their audience? Maybe you've heard of some big names in the teacher-instagram land and you've got heart eyes wondering how they were able to find so much success. You may have even started your own teacher instagram, but you're feeling a little lost and you're wondering if you'll ever have more than 20 people like your photos. Maybe you're dreaming of the day when teachers will talk about your account or share your resources during lunch.

When I first started my teacher instagram, I felt a lot of these feelings. It seemed like there was some big secret to success that no one was willing to share. I felt alone and desperate and I wanted to give up, but I'm so glad that I didn't.
Can I tell you a little secret? Starting my teacher instagram account was so frustrating! I could see other accounts growing quickly and finding customers, but I was just hearing crickets. Even more frustrating was the fact that there was practically zero information about there about how to use Instagram as a successful tool for your teacherprenuer business.

So I spent several years learning everything I could about Instagram, social media, branding, etc. Then I put my knowledge into action and everything changed. I started connecting with people like YOU! I built relationships with other incredible teachers who believed in what I believed in. 

William Arthur Ward said, "Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.

I think this statement is quite applicable to using your teacher Instagram as a tool for your business. Finding success won't come from dreaming and believing - it will come from working and practicing. Making a difference doesn't come from caring and belonging - it comes from helping and participating. Don't sit around and wait! Go out and make your own dreams for your business come true!

I definitely still have more to learn about a lot of things, including business and Instagram, but I want to share the tips and tricks I've learned so far with all the new teacher instagrammers who are trying to navigate that platform and transform their accounts into powerful tools. When I started out on Instagram, I felt kind of alone. I wanted to find a community of teachers who used Instagram and who wanted to work together.

I couldn't find a community like what I was looking for, so I created my own community: The Teacher Instagram Club. This community is 100% free and it always will be. If you want to join the club, or explore some of the other courses, guides, and tools I have for teacher instagrammers, click on one of the links below.

<![CDATA[Your Needs As a Teacher Matter, Too.]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 16:30:00 GMThttp://basicgirlteaches.com/blog/your-needs-as-a-teacher-matter-tooThere are a lot of trendy quips people say about self care. Things like "self-care isn't selfish," or "almost everything works if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you,"an empty lantern provides no light." Usually, when people use these quotes to talk about self care they're promoting an idea that it's okay to make time to pamper yourself or encouraging you to take long baths and make appointments to get your nails done. I'm not saying you shouldn't do those things if you enjoy them. I'm just saying that long baths, fresh manicures, and splurging for a soda aren't things that you necessarily NEED in order to survive.

True self care has to do with the essential tasks you make yourself do to take care of your real human self that needs sleep, food, comfort, entertainment, and security. Real self care is eating enough vegetables even though they're not your favorite. Real self care is making time to clean the kitchen floor regularly. Real self care is sticking to your budget and going to bed on time. And you deserve that kind of self-care, too. 
Brianna Wiest wrote an article about self care and she said something about self care that I love.
True self care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don't need to regularly escape from. And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.
Teaching is a DEMANDING job. Teachers often put in hours well over their contracted time, staying up late grading papers, planning lessons, printing worksheets, brainstorming activities, completing forms, answering emails, organizing field trips and parties, and worrying about everything. Teachers don't need gift cards to Target or mugs with cute sayings; they need permission to say no and courage to put their own needs at the top of their to do list.

Sometimes teachers are mistreated in the name of "caring about kids." Which is ridiculous, for a few reasons, but mostly because you don't have to put students first at the expense of supporting teachers. Supporting teachers IS supporting students because happy, cared for, rested teachers are more effective.

But the problem of sacrificing the needs of teachers in the name of "putting kids first" doesn't just apply to other people. We do this to ourselves, too. Putting students first is the excuse we use for things like:
  • justifying grading papers until 2:00 AM
  • working for hours outside of contract time
  • spending our own money on things for our classrooms
  • going to to work sick
  • choosing to cut out lamination instead of essential things like cooking dinner, vacuumming the living room, and sleeping.

The story of a teacher as a selfless martyr who gives until they burn out is damaging and dangerous. We as teachers need to stop perpetuating that story and write a new one: healthy, happy teachers who respect themselves, have boundaries, stop bullying each other in the name of "putting kids first," and go to bed at a decent hour.

Be enough for yourself. You can't pour from an empty cup, but more importantly you don't have to put your job over everything else. You don't need to wait until summer to give yourself permission to rest. Put yourself first. Eat real food for dinner. Do something fun on a weekday. Go to bed. Save the grading for later. Your needs matter, too. 

Do you have a teacher Instagram account? Are you struggling to figure out how to make Instagram work for you? Check out some of my resources for teacher Instagrammers like you!
<![CDATA[Instagram is About Relationships]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2019 16:46:25 GMThttp://basicgirlteaches.com/blog/teacher-instagram-mindsetI'm a big believer in the power of your mindset because your core beliefs influence everything you do, think, and say. The great thing about mindset is that you can CHANGE it just by choosing to believe something different.

I believe that Instagram should be about more than liking perfectly edited photos. It should be about more than scrolling through filtered perspectives and well crafted captions. It should be about more than saving ideas for later and dreaming of being like someone else. It should be about more than emojis and giphys and stickers and follows and likes and shares. Instagram should be about the relationships you make with other people.
Social media is all about relationships. That's the social part of it. We tend to think about the curated feeds and the filtered images so much that we forget about the PEOPLE, the human beings behind the accounts. Sometimes this means that we start to forget about our own human life, too. No one's life is as perfect as they make it look on Instagram. Yours isn't ever going to be that perfect, either. When you let go of the urge to compare yourself to people to people on the internet, and you start to focus on getting to know the humans behind the screen, your experience changes.

We need all kinds of people in the world. We need all kinds of teachers, too. And the #teacherinstagram community on Instagram definitely needs more kinds of teacher Instagram accounts - we need someone like YOU. We need each unique perspective because we learn and grow personally and professionally as we start to see new points of view and as we pay attention to different opinions.

I follow people on Instagram for a variety of reasons. Some accounts entertain me. Some accounts teach me. Some accounts are people who have become my friends. Some accounts are people who I have a lot in common with. Some accounts are people who help me see new perspectives and opinions. Some accounts inspire me. Some accounts challenge me. Some accounts motivate me. I need all of those people.

I could never possibly list all of the teachers on Instagram who I love to follow, and that's really not the point. These are my people. You need to find your people. Intentionally choose to follow people who inspire you, teach you, motivate you, entertain you, etc. but also choose to follow people who have a different view of the world than you do.

We need all kinds of teachers on Instagram. We especially need teachers who share open and honest perspectives and who are interested in growing and learning best practices together. Don't hide your reality in your stress over taking perfect photos full of stuff and Target that look like what you think everyone else is doing. We need what YOU have to offer, too.

I want to help you use Instagram to share your message with the #teacherinstagram community. Click the links below to join the free Teacher Instagram Club or to shop for courses and guides from the Teacher Instagram School. I know there is room for you on Instagram and we need your unique point of view.