I have been taught by so many different teachers from nursery through university and as I write this article, I am trying to remember who they are and what I can remember of each but I can remember very few of them. Some for good reasons and others for not so good reasons. These memories I have of them are all based on my experience of each of them in and out of the classroom.
The words that you think of when you think of a particular teacher are very much part of ‘their personal brand’; Beautiful, cheerful, lazy,a good marker ,Fun lessons, gets good results, Strict but fair, Cruel, they have good knowledge ,always sick – always has time off…
Personal branding usually involves identifying your best qualities – perhaps you’re particularly well-organised, or you’re a proficient public speaker – and finding ways to describe and communicate your expertise via a number of online (and occasionally offline) platforms.
This may seem a long way from the realities of teaching, but education professionals will already be only too aware that they often cannot avoid having a great reputation offline and online. Using personal branding techniques will therefore make it much more likely for you to impact greatly your students, administration and the parents.
So if you’re looking to take the next step up in teaching, here are some personal branding tips that should help you;
Narrow down your teaching specialty
Building your brand means understanding your own areas of expertise, so you need to figure out what it is that makes your teaching methods or class management unique.
Many people find it hard to focus on what makes them special, so some people use this technique to find out.
First, make a list and detail everything you do in the classroom and the school. Then try to narrow down that list to pick the thing you know you’re best at – i.e. the thing that people ask you to do because they know you’ll do a good job.
Next, work out what that expertise means. What do you stand for?Perhaps you have an ability to help children who struggle to read or you’re unusually good at livening up a traditionally ‘difficult’ subject. You might also be good at calming down angry students or helping train other teachers. Whatever they are, narrow down your specialisms and start thinking about how you can share your advice and experiences with others.
If you’re good at something, you want everyone else to know about it, and you also want to use your knowledge to help them get better at the same thing too. You need to explain the methods you use and the success/failure stories you’ve had after putting them into practice. It’s time to start building up your reputation as a knowledgeable expert, both offline and online.
Find a platform and start writing
To really control your online reputation, the best thing to do is find a blogging or content sharing platform where you can expound your views and advice. You don’t need to create something that is going to get millions of readers – but remember it should feature highly in the search results when people look for your name online.
Picking the platform is, to a great extent, a matter of personal taste but, depending on your specialisms, you may favour one over the other. You can start writing using WordPress, Blogspot very easily or you might want to consider LinkedIn Pulse as it will connect directly to your LinkedIn profile.
When it comes to writing, try and keep your writing topical, accessible and engaging and consider experimenting with different angles. However, when it comes to teaching never mention any specific details about the school you work at, or information about a pupil or colleague that could make them identifiable. Remember that this is incredibly sensitive information, so a thinly disguised description is not good enough.
Invest in yourself
As an educator, continuous investment in upgrading your skills and know how is primordial. We are in a fast-paced world and knowledge is available for all. Take some time and invest in educating yourself more in the teaching expertise you identified as your own. Look for mentors, authors, etc. who have gone down that road and study what techniques and tools they use. Let them inspire you to become much more efficient.
Communities like https://www.theteacherscorner.net/ a large forum with a great user community that is very welcoming and encouraging to new members. It is clearly a place that teachers go not only to learn about teaching techniques and ideas from other teachers, but just a place to hang out and chat with other educators in the community.
Join groups and forums where teachers share their knowledge and experiences. Below are more links to articles regrouping teachers’ blogs and communities you can join.
Even so, there are still plenty of things you will be able to say about your expertise that can help colleagues and help you build your reputation in a positive way. So get brainstorming and you might find yourself taking the next step in your career sooner than you think.
Have an amazing school year and cheers to your branding success!