3. Meet Your Work Spouse

As a teacher, you’re around other humans all day long, but it can be hard to carve out time to bond with your coworkers. Teachers get lonely, too! For example, in Warren Township, educators don’t actually see each other a lot, says Russell. Twitter allows them to bond over shared issues, ping-pong information back and forth, and generally bypass formal structured lines of communication in a way that’s not just useful, but serves community development.

“It’s a great way for professional development outside school hours,” says Leslie Koomler, the district’s Instructional Specialist. She’s seen hashtags “open the lines of communication between schools in the district,” encourage teachers to “collaborate instantly,” and quickly connect teachers who continue their conversations about the classroom outside of Twitter chats. Might we call that…friendship?

4. Get a Little Informal

But here’s the thing about Twitter: it works best when people feel like they’re engaging with another human, as opposed to a soulless corporate bot. That’s why the Cherokee County School District made so many headlines—because its Twitter activity was so pleasingly contrary to what we’ve come to expect from our schools’ Twitter accounts.

Don’t be afraid to joke around with students or other educators, share interesting tidbits that aren’t directly related to, say, your school schedule, and chime in on broader ed-related discussions happening across the globe.

Sure, you might spend all day trying to get your students off social media, but Twitter-happy teachers and districts can turn the platform into more than just memes and noise (though a well-tweeted meme never hurt anyone, not even an educator).

About the Author:

Amy Jenkins is COO of Education ElementsWith contribution by Anna Bitong of Hippo Thinks.