You can hardly go anywhere anymore without hearing someone talking about something they have “pinned.” Pinterest is one of the newer social networking sites and people are flocking to get involved. Users create boards onto which they pin things they would like to return to someday and those items are then shared with their followers. Pins are linked to their original spots on the web, allowing Pinterest users to return to the site at a later date.
The biggest complaint from Pinterest users is the fact that they waste so much time pinning things but never return to actually complete any of the projects. It has become obvious to me that teacher resources are well-suited to for pinning to Pinterest boards.
Why are teachers so Pinterested?
Teachers have a few things going for them as Pinterest users. For one, our lives are on a very strict schedule. We operate on bells and five minute time segments. We eat lunch at exactly 10:13 every morning, and our students leave at 2:34 every day whether we have completed what we needed to or not. The beauty of this is that we already have developed the skills necessary to limit our time on the site, mostly because we typically only have a few minutes to get something accomplished anyway.
“Free” motivates us. In the days of limited budgets in the private sector as well, schools have been extremely hard hit. Many of my teacher friends and I have bought school supplies out of our own pockets for our students to use at school as we have watched their families struggle the past few years. Our schools have asked us to do much more with much less and we are rising to the challenge. Pinterest users pin ideas every minute that we can use for free or make ourselves and we are snapping those ideas up in a second.
Teachers are gymnasts in many ways. Flexibility is one of the key characteristics of a quality teacher. Children challenge us in new ways every day and things often need to be modified on the fly. This results in our uncanny ability to look at something and make it work for our situation, and Pinterest has provided us with a lot to look at. Just as we modify lessons to work for our classroom or particular students, we can easily see an idea someone posts on Pinterest and make it work for us in our individual settings.
Team spirit and sharing teacher resources
Years ago teachers may have worked in isolation, sharing very little. Modern day teachers work on a variety of teams, from grade or subject level, to multidisciplinary or even in consortiums with neighboring districts. Pinterest has demonstrated itself to be a phenomenal forum for the sharing of information. Teachers often joke about everyone knowing everyone in education, and the same can be said for Pinterest. My teacher friends are following many teacher friends of theirs I have never met, and it has been an invaluable tool for gathering useful ideas for my classroom. The open nature of the social networking site allows me to follow the boards of unlimited teachers I have never met.
What a connection!
As more teachers connect with each other on Pinterest, I believe that more school districts will be able to share in the good things that others are already doing. One of the most influential factors in someone staying in the profession is the amount of support they receive from more experienced educators. Traditional mentoring programs can be extremely beneficial in the school setting, but connections through social networking sites can also provide teacher resources and support to educators of all levels.