Sometimes teachers and students don’t get the amazing press they deserve. So often what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As a teacher, you can be your own public relations manager. You can share your students’ (and your) triumphs with your administration, your community, and even the world.
Here are a few ways to get started.
1. Share something wonderful on social media.
Did your students just make it to the state Spanish competition? Win a writing contest? Spend their weekend tutoring younger kids in math? Fight against the education narrative media is mired in about testing, violence, and failure, and post an inspiring photo or video on your social with a hashtag like #greatstudentsgreatschools. Let your friends, family, and colleagues know that wonderful things are happening on your watch.
2. Invite someone in a position of power to see the action.
Are your students putting on a poetry slam? Make an administrator from your school one of the judges. Are they going on a field trip to learn about beach ecosystems? Invite a school board member along for the ride. Are they Skyping with a classroom in another country? Maybe your department chair ought to be there.
A lot of times, admins are looking for ways to observe and be part of the school, so they appreciate a quick email or invite.
3. Find a venue for community display.
When your students have created something astonishing, don’t keep it a secret! Check with a local coffeehouse and see if they want to display your students’ artwork. Ask the children’s museum down the road if they’d like to put up a hall of science projects with photos of each young scientist for a period of time.
Another way to do this is to create a blog where you can post pictures of your students’ National History Day projects for their relatives to admire.
4. Involve the press from time to time.
Whether it’s your school newspaper, the city paper, or the New York Times, reach out to a journalist to cover something wonderful happening in your classroom. With all the sad stories out there, communities need to be reading the hopeful and inspiring true stories unfolding in your classroom.
If your students are organizing an anti-bullying social-media campaign or planting a garden, why not tell your state and local media about it? It’s a great way to drum up local support and get recognition for your students.
5. Take an event to the next level.
So your original plan was to hold an open mic in your own classroom during school hours. But then your students got so excited about the idea of hosting it at the ice cream parlor down the street. Go for it. Invite anyone and everyone.
Maybe your students were going to give their mini TED Talks in your classroom, but then they asked if they could organize a TEDx-like event and bring the entire neighborhood. Do it. Help them make signs, design a website, and create a press release. Don’t be afraid to go big.
6. Write an article.
Sometimes the best way to alert the media about the great things happening at your school is to be the media. Write a positive letter to the editor, a column for the local paper, or a piece for a magazine. Even blogs or certain websites are good outlets.
No time? Let your students do it! Make it a unit for class and teach them the real-world skill of pitching and submitting work. Think of how amazing it would feel for them if they saw their story published! Imagine how their parents and your boss would feel too.
Sharing the wins from inside your classroom is good for you and your career. It is good for your students and their morale. It is good for your community and the world.
Time to go take action!
Photos in this article are from my Instagram feed. Check it out.
Do you have ideas on how to spread good news? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
And check out this article on getting respect from your school admin.