Twittering Teachers


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BY STEPHANIE RENNER

Birds have taken over Mariemont High school. There was a lost bird flying around in the library a few weeks ago, and if you listen carefully to the morning meditation music, you may be able to hear the faint noises of birds in a forest. Recently, teachers have been adding their own “tweets” to the chaos through their professional Twitter platforms.

Most teachers choose to post about once a week. History teacher Mrs. Leatherwood likes to post in order to “give shoutouts” to hardworking students in her classes. “I like to post innovative, cool stuff we are doing in the classroom that I’m proud of,” she says.

Junior Grace Penker likes the use of the hashtags at the end of the posts, such as ‘#flipgridfever’. “They are funny,” she says. “I like that they are trying to be trendy.” (SCREENSHOT BY RENNER)

Getting likes and retweets for those posts is “cool” and is a positive affirmation. “When Mr. Estepp or Mariemont High School likes it, it reinforces it and shows respect,” says Leatherwood.

On the other hand, English teacher Mrs. Lowery says that “hearts” and retweets are “fun,” but those clicks alone are not the reason for her account. To her, the purpose of tweeting from a professional, educational platform is to reach out to what she believes is the audience: “parents” and “other teachers”.

Tweeting is not the only aspect of her account, which she manages through her smartphone. “I follow the teachers at the elementary to see what is going on there,” Lowery shares.

Students had mixed feelings about teachers’ Twitter accounts showing up on their feed. “It almost feels like an intrusion,” says senior Sarah Feeney, “I go on Twitter to escape.”

Junior Grace Penker, who doesn’t use Twitter personally, says she would use it more to follow the teachers if they added more “funny jokes from class” or “spunk”.

Since these accounts are professional, the teachers interviewed concurred that it is not “awkward” if students chose to follow them. “They are the ones being featured,” says English teacher Ms. Reilly.

Junior Jake Perkins, who follows Reilly, likes to be featured in the posts. “It makes me feel like I was doing something right,” he says.

Although teachers will not follow students on their professional platforms, they do follow each other. According to Reilly, Twitter has a considerable presence in the education world, resulting in Reilly’s decision to follow “other teachers and education bloggers.” 

English teacher Mr. Wiseman launched his twitter account 3 or 4 years ago because he “wanted to know what was so great about it”.

The general connectivity of the app intrigued him. “I can connect with people around the globe through similar ideas. It also helps build community,” he says.