Congratulations to Jamie Beavers, winner of the 2022 Content GenerationⓇ Award for educators! Jamie is a journalism teacher at Midway High School in Waco, Texas. Her winning project celebrated Career Technology Education (CTE) month by empowering students to craft engaging social media posts featuring the school’s CTE staff.
The students interviewed and photographed the staff and used Class Intercom to draft social media posts, allowing Jamie to provide feedback, approve content, and schedule posts for publishing on Midway’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Overall, the project inspired school-wide collaboration between students and teachers, as well as the newspaper class and other departments.
Since Jamie started working with Class Intercom in 2019, Midway High School’s social media engagements have increased across all platforms. Jamie also teaches lessons on social media etiquette and best practices, and mentors the students managing the school’s social media accounts.
Check out Jamie’s guest blog (below) for her take on leading her school’s social media accounts, leveraging Class Intercom, and tips for sharing your school (and your own!) successes and stories.
The 4 Things I Know About Social Media
By Jamie Beavers
Journalism Teacher, Midway High School
I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to social media. I have a degree in photojournalism, but no formal training in marketing, graphic design, or public relations. I’m a high school photography teacher who was thrust into the role of social media coordinator for our large campus two years ago, so the humor in me winning this really cool Content Generation contest is not lost on me. Don’t get me wrong–I work my tail off–but most of what I do is akin to “well, let’s throw this out there and see what sticks.”
But here are four things I do know:
One: Class Intercom saves me valuable time.
I leave my Class Intercom tab open all day. I use it to post simultaneously to our school’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Our 200+ teachers have the ability to submit content, which then is approved by me or a small team of admins. Teachers are encouraged to photograph activities in their classrooms and club events and brag about the great things happening there. Twice per day I schedule a few seconds to peek in on pending posts to review and approve. If someone posts incorrect information or changes their mind – no problem. We can unpublish in one click.
Two: I have a crush on Canva.
I could write a love letter about how Canva has improved my work life. With free templates for everything, it’s a fast way to make graphics for social media. I ask our staff to start with the “Twitter Post” layout on the home page when designing posts that filter through Class Intercom. This gives me zero problems uploading content to Class Intercom because it fits Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter’s requirements for size and shape. Canva also offers an educational membership that opens much of the pro/paid content for free. Additionally, I use Canva in my photo and yearbook courses for portfolios, posters, and other assignments.
Three: Common sense is important.
Again, with no formal training in social media, I can only assume marketing or PR majors take a class called “How to keep yourself and your boss out of the news for bad things” or something to that effect. I like my job. I want to keep my job. These two things force me to look at each post with this question in mind: Is this going to piss anyone off? No? Great, it’s published. Yes? Well, then it’s time to involve people above my paygrade.
I did take some journalism classes in college. My editing professor once gave the best advice I carry to this day: When editing, think dirty. A student of mine once spent hours creating a graphic with beautiful shades of tan and pink circles. I took one look at it and said it looked like a bunch of nipples. Embarrassed (yet laughing), she realized that if this was my first reaction, then think how the masses would have responded. Back to the drawing board and crisis averted. As odd as it sounds, thinking “dirty” and playing out “worst case scenarios” in my head has saved my employer (and probably my job) several times.
Four: Self-promotion is empowering.
I spend all day promoting our campus, kids, teachers, sports, awards, academics, etc. You probably do the same for your team. Does anyone promote your amazing work as a content creator? You deserve a parade too! Find a media competition through your professional organizations and see what other creators in your field are capable of. Celebrate your achievements and use them to make professional connections. Send your biography and achievements to your alma maters. Use your experience and knowledge of media to inspire people who are currently where you once began. When your job is shining the spotlight on everyone else, there’s no shame in shining it on yourself now and then.
Jamie Beavers teaches the most amazing student creators at Midway High School in Waco, TX. For 22 years, she has led the newspaper, yearbook, commercial photography, and independent study programs there. Beavers also coordinates the campus social media and websites. She is a 1999 Baylor University grad and is currently working on a master’s degree in communications from Southern New Hampshire University. Her husband, Jeremy, is a high school science teacher. They have a 12th-grade son whom they love to lovingly embarrass, and a daughter in kindergarten who is known to many as The Diva. Beavers loves photography and mass communications but frequently escapes into her large vegetable garden where she grows tomatoes, peppers, squash, and zucchini–none of which she actually eats. She has two useless yappy dogs and about 40 even more useless egg-laying hens. And a horse. And who knows what else.