Last year I 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. They feel that being a teacher doesn’t afford them any respect in the LinkedIn culture. Some of the educators I have spoken to about being on LinkedIn feel the same. 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 young people, I don’t miss being treated like one. Many educators are not treated like professionals by their superiors, their peers or even society. In fact, that’s one of the many things I love the most about the working in the private sector is being treated like a professional. My teaching skills are valued and carry weight and 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 last year), it’s a great professional learning tool.
The content is quick and easily digestible. But, the downside, even though I am careful about who I follow and engage with, there’s a lot of content that ends up on my feed that isn’t relevant. That’s why I prefer LinkedIn.
How I use LinkedIn
As an educator, LinkedIn is great! I use it as a professional development and networking tool. Here are the ways I 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 and content that is professionally relevant.
- To join groups and follow thought leaders. Connecting with groups and following thought leaders, keeps me 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? Or discover how your skills can be used in other fields and professions?
- To share interesting content. Sometimes I write it, but 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 really useful not just for me but those I am connected with.
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.