What do you teach? The school PR person as lead teacher

As school communicators and marketers, our jobs are many times separated from the day-to-day educational elements of the classroom. Dealing with the media, working with vendors, spending time in the community — it can all feel so overwhelming. We sometimes forget the value in being the lead teacher on topics to do with social media, communications and digital citizenship. While time is sparse, school communicators should take stock in the value of providing professional development to teachers and being a resource to students. The bottom line is this helps create a team of responsible content makers and communicators (remember, you can’t be everywhere at once), and it helps you showcase the value of your knowledge, expertise and place in the district’s organization even further.

Teach Digital Citizenship
Provide professional development to administrators and teachers on the importance of responsible social media usage. Digital citizenship should be taught around nine key areas: online privacy, digital communications, etiquette, personal branding, digital health and wellness, copyright, plagiarism, digital access, and cyberbullying. Many issues school PR people must face result from fallout over inappropriate online activity. By becoming the lead educator on this topic, you are helping solve this problem. Teaching responsible usage to your colleagues can then be passed on to both students and parents.

Teach Social Media For The Classroom
We know that social media is a powerful tool of outreach to our audiences, but that can become even more powerful when teachers use it in the classroom. Social media are effective platforms for both student learning and a personal learning network for teachers and administrators. Moreover, these platforms can open up the classroom to parents and community and truly showcase student learning at its finest. From creating classroom YouTube channels that stream live Google Plus Hangouts On Air to hosting Vine and Instagram open house tours to showcasing student work in a science fair via Twitter, the meshing of student learning and social media can sometimes be the best PR of all. But teachers have to know how to effectively use it. Add value to your role by providing professional development on this. Be the go-to expert.

Teach Parents And Other Constituents
Hosting parent universities or senior citizen digital events can be valuable in creating digital literacy among key constituent groups. If you are using social media as a communications tool, it will become even more effective if your core audiences know how to consume the content you are putting out there. Parents and community members need to learn, too. Since we can’t do it alone, why not use students to help teach it? One of the best examples of this is the subject of a new documentary called “Cyber Seniors.”

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