I recently conducted a poll on Twitter asking educators whether they were on LinkedIn. To my surprise 60 % of the respondents said that they were on it. 

Why was I surprised?

In my experience, primary and secondary educators do not use LinkedIn in the same way that they use Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve read a number of blogs by educators who clearly don’t like LinkedIn. Many of those who blog about LinkedIn feel that being a teacher does not afford them any respect in the LinkedIn culture.

I have spoken to a number of primary and secondary educators since reading the blog, and many of them feel the same. They believe that the skills they have cultivated in their professional careers carry little or no weight in the private sector.

I completely disagree.

Teachers Are Professionals

I made the jump to the private sector over six years ago and I have never looked back.

Although I miss teaching teenagers, I don’t miss being treated like one. It’s something that has always driven me bananas. Teachers are not treated as professionals by their superiors, their peers, even society.

That’s one of the many things I love the most about the working in the private sector, being treated like a professional. My teaching skills are valued and carry weight.

I credit LinkedIn for helping me see that.

You’re Already Using Twitter

I love Twitter. And even though I am a late adopter to the microblogging site, (I only joined in June this year), it’s a great professional learning tool.

The content is quick and easily digestible.

But, the downside is that there’s a lot of rubbish that is posted on it, that’s why I prefer LinkedIn.

How I use LinkedIn

As a professional educator, LinkedIn is great!

I use LinkedIn as a professional development and networking tool.

That’s why I recommend educators use LinkedIn. Here are the best ways to use it.

  • As a professional development tool. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, which means that if used properly it can connect members with people who are professionally relevant.
  • To join groups and follow thought leaders. Connecting with groups and following thought leaders, keeps members up to up to date with the latest worldwide trends, and research in both education and the private sector.
  • To connect with educators around the world. It’s easy to live in an education bubble. Easy access to a worldwide, growing network of educators is invaluable. If you think that as a teacher you don’t need to network, that’s ridiculous. How on earth can you take control of your own professional learning if you don’t? And then there’s always the possibility or future jobs or career moves.
  • To share interesting content. Sometimes I write it, like now, most of the time I share really useful things with the people who I am connected to. I have picked up so many things on my newsfeed that are super useful, and that I have  been able to share with my community too.

I know LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

But if you are an educator and you think that the LinkedIn culture doesn’t respect educators that simply isn’t true.

I urge you to give it a go, you may be surprised just how useful it can be.

Connect with Tara on LinkedIn.

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Tara Walsh

Senior Learning Designer at MakeMatic

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