Happy Sunday, all! This weekend has been full of basketball games for both of my daughters, club volleyball open gym for my oldest, smooches and hugs from my two-year-old nephews, and, of course, tons of coffee 🙂 I even napped today AND yesterday. Get outta town! Next weekend includes at least one, maybe two soccer tournaments for my oldest daughter, and a basketball game for each of them. I’m so thankful for my tribe of family and friends that help me taxi and cheer on my daughters as they participate in all of their fantastic activities! Did I mention I’m also starting my school law class? Ya, I’m totally fine 🤣 Today, I’m sharing with you how I’m using a popular social media platform to connect with students all over the world. Yup, that’s right. I’m on TikTok and I’m using it to connect with and engage my students in content, to continue my goal of making a positive impact.
Before I get into my entry into the world of TikTok, let me share a reflection with you about my “why” for becoming a teacher. I vividly remember thinking as I was preparing for my first interview as a teacher, how I would answer the obvious question that would undoubtedly be asked: why did you want to become a teacher? My response? I want to make an impact – a contribution. What better way to do that than become a teacher?
Fast forward 13 years (13 years??!?!?!?!) to today. I’m known throughout my school as the crazy teacher who drinks too much coffee and sings cringy songs about Government so her students can remember the concepts. Over the last few years, I’ve created many “raps” (I use that term VERY loosely) to help my students remember everything from constitutional principles, landmark cases, and types and systems of government. These raps are often set to the tune of a common song (Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc.,) that students know and are “catchy.” Then, throw in some easy to remember lyrics that describe the content, coupled with my cringy dance moves and just plain silliness, and you have a Petty Wap Rap! Yes, my students bestowed the name upon me a few years ago and I wear it as a badge of honor 🙂
Last Spring, as we were preparing for Spring Break, unknowingly preparing for virtual learning, my students and I found ourselves in a bit of a funk. As I was singing one of my songs one day to sprinkle a bit of fun into our 3rd Quarter-Final review, one of my students said, “you should put these on TikTok, Mrs. Petty!” The rest of the class erupted into “yes! Do it!” I saw their excitement and enthusiasm, and I couldn’t let them down. Also, any ounce of shame I had already vanished sometime after the birth of my youngest daughter, and I think my classroom has been better for it. So, I made a TikTok account and added my first video.
My students LOVED IT!
It took me back to the reason I started putting my “raps” on YouTube – that was the place my students were in the world of social media. That was the place where I could reach my students – to make progress toward my goal of making a positive impact.
So … yes, I’m on TikTok. I uploaded a video on Friday about Marbury v Madison – a landmark case that students in my Government class had just learned about, and apparently so had tons of other students in Law, AP Government, AP US History, and Civics classes around the world. The views, comments, and follows I’ve gotten since Friday have blown me away. TikTokers are asking me to make video raps for other landmark cases, concepts and time periods in American History, and asking why I couldn’t have popped up on their FYP (for you page) earlier so they could have passed their assessment!
What was my purpose in becoming a teacher? To make a positive impact and contribute. While creating a TikTok account and sharing cringy songs about Government concepts might be a weird way to do so, I think it’s helping me achieve my goal.
Are you on TikTok? Be sure to follow me @pettywapedu and follow the #teachersoftiktok hashtag!