I was recently chatting to someone who was shocked to hear that, as a social media manager, writer and editor, my background is actually in teaching.
Yup, it’s true! I am a qualified teacher, and Deaf Education specialist. But having the opportunity to explain how one profession can very easily lead to the other gave me a chance to really, deeply think about it… so, naturally, I wanted to write about it, to explain it all to YOU! Let me share the secrets I’ve started to uncover!!
I guess the easiest way to explain how teachers can actually make great social media marketers, editors and content creators, is to look at the similarities between the jobs.
1. Language: Both professions need us to love language, and be able to use it in different ways for different purposes. Imagine a long blog article, compared to a one-line caption on an Instagram photo, compared to an academic essay… Now also imagine creating and working with teaching resources, compared to writing report comments, compared to marking an academic essay. See what I mean?
2. Writing: Both professions need us to write… well. I was primarily an English teacher, though I taught grades 1-3, as well as drama and dance, and South African Sign Language. Loving to write helped me come up with so many amazing and beneficial language learning opportunities for my learners. Now, as a social media manager, writer and editor, my love of writing is one of my biggest assets. I am able to write for myself, but also with the voice of my clients, who come from a range of backgrounds, countries and cultures. Loving to write helps my editing, because I am able to see exactly where the writer is coming from and wanting to say… a skill that teaching really helped to hone.
3. Creativity: Teachers, social media managers, writers and editors all need to be super creative. Not only do we need to be able to come up with content, but we need to do that for different ages, audiences, purposes and learning styles, over and over again. The creativity also needs to be multi-faceted, with images, design, text, video and whatever else we can get our hands on, to get the message across.
4. Attention to detail: Another thing the professions have in common is this point. Attention to detail is really important when it comes to teaching. Paying attention to the little things goes a long way in helping learners grasp more difficult concepts later. Obviously editing needs our full attention as we correct every mistake and provide overall improvements on manuscripts. Every detail adds to the whole, so it does need to be perfect. Any writing or social media content published, needs to be checked thoroughly before going live. Having errors in facts, grammar, spelling or image editing can really make a brand look sub-standard. So, attention to detail is a very big YES for these professions.
5. Concrete to abstract: This is a concept used in early childhood development and teaching, but I have found that it goes a LONG way in teaching all ages, and also with my online work. The idea is that, to educate, we need to use real objects, that we can touch, feel, explore, etc. before bringing in the 2D representations of the object. Using props in teaching is sure way to test if this works for learners. But what about social media, writing and editing? Well, in a more metaphorical sense, concrete to abstract is actually a great tool to use. In order to sell something, the audience needs to be educated about what it is, what it does, and how it can help them. The use of influencers is a good example here, because your audience can see the product or service in use, and relate to the human being using it, therefore be more likely to purchase it. The same goes for writing. In writing, short or long-form, we need to set the scene first. (provide an almost-concrete image in the reader’s head) Once the scene has been set, we can launch into the story or explanation etc. With editing, the concrete needs to be done by you. Editing a manuscript requires a lot of reading and understanding first. Only once you have a solid understanding of who the writer is, who they are speaking to, what they are trying to say and why, can you begin editing to bring out the best version of their work.
6. Reaching the target audience: This one has a clear link to see. When you are teaching, writing, marketing or editing, one of your primary goals is finding ways to reach your target audience. It may come with trial and error, but it also means using your expertise, knowledge, training and other resources to get those concepts, products and brands across.
7. Working to a deadline: Did you know that teaching comes with so many deadlines? Honestly, the hardest part about teaching is finishing work on time and assessing before the deadlines. The admin is insane, and so I fully believe that teaching set me up to be a great digital worker. Having been a teacher, has given me the ability to see tasks from a bird’s eye view, plan how to get it all done, and then work, step-by-step to get it completed on time and with superior quality.
8. Holidays: I know people mock teachers for having school holidays, but after all their hard work during the terms, they really do need them. Recharging is as important as soldiering on. It’s all about the season. So, if I was to add one more tool of the teaching trade to my online work now, it would be to take rests. Of course, having time off means planning and working for it, so it may be difficult the first few times, but I think this is something we can all benefit from. And, just as those saintly teachers, having been recharged, show up early on the first day of a new term, to welcome the learners back to class, you will also be able to come back to your work, full of energy and enthusiasm again.
So, there you have it. A bunch of ways that teaching has helped my social media marketing, writing and editing! I guess what we can draw from all this is the fact that, no matter what you are trained in, experienced in, or used to doing, you CAN make a shift. You already have so, so many skills and resources at your fingertips… just reach in and use what you can, keep learning and give it your all. You know what? For all your hard work, here’s a gold star for you! 😉
#teacher #writer #editor #socialmedia #socialmediamanager