Teachers connect with their classes using social media

Apps not only used for leisure purposes

Bella Khor

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   Writing emails is so 2000s. This form of communication has fallen out of the mainstream for teenagers since cell phones and social media were  brought into existence.

   Some teachers at Granite Bay High School have taken to social media as an alternate way to communicate with their students.

   CP Chemistry teacher Elizabeth Henderson is one of these teachers. Her Instagram account, (@itsmrsscience) currently has 647 posts and 358 followers, many of whom are GBHS students. 

   “I figured if students were spending time on social media, I wanted to go there to reach out and connect with them and bring the science to their feed. There is so much social media can offer that is positive and it can be a powerful tool for #scicom. If you are going to scroll, you might as well learn something” Henderson said.

  She created her Instagram account three years ago and currently posts about a plethora of science news and tips.

   “When I have time I will also make quizzes and little fun games – both current and former students and even some adults like to play along just for fun,” Henderson said.

   “I encourage (my students) to use it as a resource for help or enrichment in class – sometimes I will go live for homework tutorials if students are struggling and take requests. Other times I post stories of what we are doing in class to share the fun,” Henderson said.

   Students like junior Roxana Tehani have successfully used Instagram as a platform to contact Henderson and get help and information for class.

   “I asked her about the due date for one of our labs, since we started one in class that day but we never finished it,” Roxana Tehani said. “So I asked her if it was still due that night for if we would have more time in class to finish it tomorrow.”

   “It was easier going through her Instagram (rather than email) because it’s just more accessible. It’s easier than having to pull up an entire email and typing that out,” Tehani added.

   Junior Nicole Bersinger is another student who has taken advantage of Henderson’s live sessions and explained that she also does “live final reviews for those who miss them in class.”

   @itsmrsscience is not only for Henderson to update her followers on cool science news, but also to get to know her students better.

   “In the classroom, we only get to see a small side of each person’s life, and it’s nice to appreciate all the other amazing things my students do in sports, music and with friends. I also like keeping in touch with former students and watch(ing) them as they grow up and succeed in college and beyond,” Henderson said.

  Another GBHS teacher, Spanish teacher Grant Adams, uses his Twitter account (@thegrantadams) as a platform for students to reach him outside of emails.

   “The only social media that students can access while they are my students is Twitter. They can message me for questions,” Adams said.

   His Twitter was created in 2012, and he’s been active on it ever since.

   His YouTube channel, Professor Adams, is primarily used for his college classes, though he has shown some of his videos to his GBHS classes.

    Sophomore Makenna Stewart  remembers one particular vlog that Adams showed the class of a town in Spain.

   “The video was interesting because through the video we got to hear Spanish from local, native speakers and hear our own teacher speaking and notice the difference,” Stewart said.

   “I think it’s nice that we get to learn about the culture through someone who has experience with it instead of just seeing it through pictures and in the textbook,” sophomore Shreya Holikatti said.

   He has also shown videos for entertainment purposes, too.

   “He played us a video of him juggling and I thought it was kind of interesting,” Holikatti said.

   Differing from Henderson, Adams hasn’t had much GBHS student traffic through his Twitter.

   “Since email is probably the only option currently, that is how all of my students contact me, with the  exception (of) an occasional instant message through Twitter,” Adams said.

   Adams has accounts on other social media platforms, such as Instagram, but those are not accessible to current students.

   “Instagram is more personal for me.  I put family photos and pictures of my children and personal life. If any students want to join that circle beyond high school and we have a pleasant relationship, then sure… but during high school I draw a line of teacher/student relationship.”

   Michael Valentine, AP European History teacher, has a Snapchat, though it is more for fostering a community for his AP European History students than providing an academic resource.

   He expects that “eventually (his Snapchat) will go out to former students” making the AP European History community at GB even bigger.

   “Valentine is amazing with his selfies (on Snapchat),” said Megan Panicker, a sophomore and current AP Euro student, “We were in third period, studying for the AP test, and he takes his phone and wants to take a selfie.”

   “It’s just really fun,” Panicker added.

   So far, neither Henderson, Adams, or Valentine have had a problem using their accounts, with students or parents.

   “…If I did (encounter an issue) I would likely talk to that student if I knew them in person, or simply block them,” Henderson said.

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