Leslie Hibbard teaches 8th grade science and history at O. Henry Middle School. She also coaches the robotics team and serves as Campus Innovation Coach. In her spare time, she plays ultimate frisbee and competitive dominoes.
As a middle school teacher, one of the best ways to have a successful year is to build positive relationships with students. Middle school kids are in a weird stage in life, and knowing they are cared for and seen as a real person is very important to them. There are many ways to connect with middle school kids, but today I am going to focus on one in particular: social media. Social media is such a huge part of kids’ lives today, so as a teacher, I take advantage of that.
I have a class Instagram account where I post pictures of my students and what is going on in my class. Quick note about compliance: all parents and administrators are aware of my account (many follow it!), and I do not post pictures of any students who are on any do not publish list.
Students LOVE being featured on my Instagram page. They “like” pictures of themselves and their classmates, and they comment on photos. Sometimes my captions will include a question, and they comment with the answer. For example, during the dry ice lab (a favorite of many students), I captioned pictures with the question, “what is it called when dry ice changes from a solid to a gas?” Kids commented with the answer, “sublimation!”
Aside from posting pictures of students when they are in my class, I also post pictures of them in action when I attend school events like volleyball games or band concerts. This shows my school pride and makes them feel special that their teacher cares about them on more than just an academic level.
Finally, I also use my Instagram account to post pictures when I do any science or history related things in my own life. Last March I got to meet Bill Nye the Science Guy, so I posted a picture of us. To this day, it is one of my most “liked” posts. I think this is a neat way of showing kids a small glimpse into my life so they can see that I am a person too, and more specifically, a person who is passionate about the subjects she teaches.
I really love having with this class Instagram account – it makes kids excited about class, I get keep up with former and current students, and I connect with students in ways that are meaningful to them.
You can follow Miss Hibbard’s class on Instagram: @misshibbard