Let’s chat about my Teacher TikTok!
Hi! I’m Christina Smith - an Alto in Fort Worth Chorale and an elementary music teacher going in my 8th year of teaching. I’ve been singing with FWC since 2019 and in that time, like many during the pandemic, I decided to start a TikTok account in February, 2021.
At first, I was hesitant and thought this app was only for “Gen Z” until I made an account and discovered that there’s a TikTok video for everything. Going in, I knew I wanted to create content and develop a following, but had no idea what my niche would be so I played around with the app and figured out the editing features during the first month.
I didn’t have a niche and my videos weren’t getting a lot of engagement until I noticed that the few teacher joke videos I made were getting some traction. During Spring Break 2021, I officially broke into Teacher TikTok with a video about how my students drink water during class with their face masks. The video did very well and I decided that my niche would be teacher content. Another video that propelled me into the Teacher TikTok community was a video reacting to the CDC’s new decision for social distancing in the classroom from 6 ft to 3 ft. Soon thereafter, I hit 1000 followers meaning there were features on TikTok I could utilize that I couldn’t before - like going live.
From then on, I was invested in the Teacher TikTok community. I made teacher jokes, gave tips and tricks in the classroom, shared my outfits of the week and began advocating for education. Some of these videos were filmed at home, but the majority were in my classroom after contract hours. I loved being able to talk with other teachers in the United States and abroad and learn just how different everyone’s teaching experience was during the worst of the pandemic.
When the 2021-2022 school year started, my teacher TikTok veered away from jokes and started to chronicle the teacher burnout I was experiencing in the fall. Teacher burnout was at an all-time high at the beginning of last school year and I thought it was appropriate to let other teachers know they weren’t alone in the struggle - that there were ways to prevent and recover from teacher burnout. I started talking about boundaries I created for my work/life balance and how to stay true to them. I gave advice on how to make the teaching day easier. Was I perfect in all of these things? No, but making videos surrounding this topic, alongside navigating teacher burnout myself, helped a lot in the fall when my teaching situation at my previous campus was going downhill.
In January of 2022, the Omicron variant was running wild and many districts were closing due to staff shortages. My district never closed, but toxic positivity was rearing its ugly head. I decided to document all of that on my TikTok account because it was miserable to go into work trying to avoid illness. Instead of recognizing that the Omicron wave was aggressive and taking measures to ensure our health and safety, we were given jeans passes, sweats days and overly-processed snacks with puns attached. All this while other districts were closing and people were getting sick left and right. This string of videos did extraordinarily well as many teachers were in the same situation. By my one-year anniversary on
TikTok, I had 10,000 followers. Since then, I backed off from making videos as I was in the process of looking for a new teaching position. I currently have 12,600 followers.
Did I ever think sharing my experiences as a teacher would gain a huge following on social media? Absolutely not. Did I ever think I would make money from making videos or linking my favorite teacher apparel or supplies? Never. I am so grateful I decided to take this leap of faith and create videos on TikTok. I love the teacher community I have built over the past year and a half and I can’t wait to continue sharing my experiences this school year at the school of my dreams!
If you’d like to follow my teacher TikTok and/or Instagram, both handles are “christinateachesmusic”.