Summer Professional Development . . . on Instagram?

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Teacher Perks: “You get summers off.”

How many times have you had someone outside the education profession say this to you? If you are reading this blog post, chances are you know that it’s really not true. You probably know that teachers use these precious summer months to recharge, refuel, and LEARN. We strive to find ways to perfect our craft and answer questions that came up over the past school year.

This is the first summer that I did not physically attend multiple professional development conferences or workshops in June and July. I say “physically” because looking back on the past few months, I do feel that I attended professional development in a new and different way. Over the past year, I have found a new community on Instagram.

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This community is filled with educators from all different content areas and age ranges. Educators are posting lesson plan ideas, classroom management strategies, classroom organization tips, and even personal stories and experiences. Many of them have stores on Teachers Pay Teachers, blogs, or vlogs and are sharing content / pedagogical strategies for the world to access at our finger tips.

How to Get Started

I first started by creating a separate account just for my education world. I tried to follow all of these amazing teachers on my personal account but I just couldn’t keep up. Creating a separate teacher account has allowed me to be more intentional aboutChange profile photo interacting with other teachers (and specifically other social studies teachers!). My account is: @historyiscoolinhighschool

The Art of the #hashtag

The best way to find teachers on Instagram would be to follow specific hashtags. Below is a list of ones that I follow:

  • #teachersfollowteachers
  • #teachersofinstagram
  • #iteachhighschool
  • #iteachhistory
  • #iteachgovernment
  • #iteachsociology
  • #highschoolteacher
  • #historyteacher

Most of these are specific to my grade level and content but you can adjust them to find middle and elementary teachers as well! If you want to just follow hashtags, you can do that but I would encourage you to take it a step further and start to follow and interact with other teachers on “the gram” (That’s what the cool kids are calling it.)

My Recommendations

Here are a few of my favorite accounts that I have been following and would definitely recommend!

Social Studies Related:

history_heels_teach's profile picture@history_heels_teach

chalkdustdivateaching's profile picture@chalkdustdivateaching

toocoolformiddleschool's profile picture@toocoolformiddleschool

mrbettsclass's profile picture@mrbettsclass

studentsofhistory's profile picture@studentsofhistory

Non-Social Studies Teachers but You Should Definitely Check Them Out

missbertels_'s profile picture@missbertels_

fivefootoneteacher's profile picture@fivefootoneteacher

elementaryshenanigans's profile picture@elementaryshenanigans

_wadeking's profile picture@_wadeking

maniacsinthemiddle's profile picture@maniacsinthemiddle

mrdtimes3's profile picture@mrdtimes3

realrapwithreynolds's profile picture@realrapwithreynolds

_hipsterteacher_'s profile picture@_hipsterteacher_

doccopteaching's profile picture@doccopteaching

thesuperheroteacher's profile picture@thesuperheroteacher

missstewsroom's profile picture@missstewsroom

Most organizations / schools have accounts as well that are worth checking out. I know that I missed some of my favorites from this list but there are the ones that post pretty regularly and have some amazing resources/tips/strategies that I have implemented or plan on implementing in my classroom next year.

There is a reason @history_heels_teach is at the top of my list. I don’t really know how I found Erin but I started following her when I was making the transition from middle school to high school and her posts (both on Instagram and her blog) definitely saved me!

So if you are looking to spice up your Instagram feed or want to be more meaningful and intentional about how you spend your time on social media, I would encourage you to check some of these people out. Many of them have been very inspirational for me as an educator but I’ve also found that this community has inspired and motivated me to be not just a better social studies teacher but a better citizen!

These amazing educators, like many users of social media, are mostly posting their “highlight reels” – the best parts of their day, the most engaging lesson plans, their best student’s work. Please don’t compare your “behind-the-scenes” to someone else’s “highlight reel” (I don’t remember where I heard that quote – I can’t take credit for making it up).

Everyone has a “behind-the-scenes” that they mostly don’t post for the world to see. I just really enjoy the teacher IG community because it allows me to collaborate with teachers that I would’ve never met otherwise but know that everybody has their days on the struggle-bus!



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