Nowadays, learning does not end at the classroom door. Thanks to the online teacher community, we can now dip in and out of class whenever we please.
From DIY science experiments to tips for student management, from speaking out against banned book policies to unpacking why teachers are leaving the profession, some teachers have gone above and beyond by creating content for the sake of their students and fellow educators.
For this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on seven exceptional teachers creating quality content and making a lasting impact on their students’ lives. Through their unwavering passion and creativity in school and beyond, they remind us all that learning can and should be fun.
Mrs. B (@mrs.b.tv)
When schools shut down in March 2020, North Carolina elementary school teacher Nancy Bullard, aka Mrs. B, noticed her students spending hours on social media instead of attending her virtual classes—so she decided if you can’t beat them, join them.
She began posting fun science experiment videos on TikTok as a creative way to engage her students during virtual learning and quickly amassed a following of 3 million avid fans keen to see her next experiments.
One video in particular, where she demonstrated how cocoa powder is hydrophobic, went viral with a staggering 34.5 million views. In another mind-blowing video, she extracts the DNA out of a strawberry by mixing soap, salt, and water, then adding alcohol.
Through her innovative use of TikTok, Mrs. B has found a unique way to connect with her students and inspire their curiosity for science. We’re excited to see what astonishing science she shows us next.
Mrs. Lewis (@lessonswithlewis)
One of her videos suggests teachers should be a little “nosy” in order to stay ahead of troublemakers. In another she jokes about teachers who spend a little too much time on TikTok, taking viral sounds and using them in the context of the classroom.
Mrs. Lewis is also known for a viral series where she compares gentle elementary school teachers to laid-back high school teachers in how they respond in typical situations—like when a student says they have a belly ache or someone brings food to class. Her relatable humor and passion for teaching make her a must-follow for anyone interested in the teacher-sphere.
Brooke Rogers (@thatnewteacher)
With over 620,000 followers on TikTok and Instagram, California middle school history teacher Brooke Rogers shares her experiences as a first-year teacher through vlogs and tips, offering insights and advice to other educators.
From posting teacher OOTD inspiration on Instagram to breaking down how she got her current job on TikTok, Brooke tirelessly supports the teaching community. She aptly acknowledges that educators can sometimes face undue criticism, especially in the current climate of teacher burnout due to difficulties from the pandemic.
However, through her videos, Brooke has cultivated an online space where she can be appreciated for her passion and dedication to teaching. We’re looking forward to seeing what she does next.
Larry Lexicon (@larrylexicon)
Larry Lexicon, a high school English teacher based in California, is known for the scripted satirical videos and fake teacher rants he puts together along with his students. His larger-than-life personality and unique video style have attracted more than 2 million followers on TikTok.
One recent scripted viral video, in which he jokingly told his students to use a bucket in his classroom instead of going to the toilet, received a strong response from viewers. Lexicon then posted a more serious video to explain why the bucket was in the classroom, as a part of a survival kit that teachers keep in case of a mass shooting. He urged viewers to focus on the real issue, which is the need for these survival kits in classrooms, and to get involved in making schools safer for both students and educators.
In a persuasive call to action, Lexicon encouraged people to contact their local representatives and work towards creating a society where yellow buckets would not be needed in classrooms. His message is a reminder of the harsh reality of teaching and attending school in the United States today.
In both his advocacy and comedy, Lexicon is truly a game-changing creator. We’re staying tuned for what he does next.
Mrs. Frazzled (@mrs.frazzled)
Arielle Fodor, a kindergarten teacher from Los Angeles who gained TikTok stardom as “Mrs. Frazzled,” went viral with a series of hilarious videos where she addresses former President Donald Trump with the same sincerity and patience she would use with one of her kindergarteners. Her comedic take on the political announcement garnered widespread attention and helped her accumulate over 1.2 million followers.
But moving from Teacher TikTok to Teacher QuitTok, Mrs. Frazzled went on extended maternity leave after having her daughter in May 2022 and started a podcast with a fellow former teacher to provide a candid look into why teachers are leaving the profession in droves. In one recent episode, a guest teacher spills the tea on all the unethical and illegal things her school asked her to do. In another, they discuss the violation of students’ privacy with shocking stories of educators reading private diaries or going through backpacks without consent.
However, on TikTok, she still posts plenty of teacher-related content, with sometimes shocking videos unpacking school lockdown drills for her kindergarten class or discussing a policy at her school in which teachers have to pay for their own substitutes. We think she’s a must-follow for anyone with an interest in the teaching profession.
Sydney Rawls (@sydneyrawls)
In late 2022, Tennessee teacher Sydney Rawls made a video shining a light on the extreme lengths she has to go to in order to keep her classroom’s library up to code. In the video, which has racked up almost 2 million views since it was posted, Sydney is by a bookshelf, explaining the rigorous new guidelines for “age appropriateness” for children.
Starting in August 2022, Tennessee teachers must now catalog every single book they want to read to their students, and those books must then be reviewed by the school librarian to make sure they meet the state’s strict criteria. This policy change comes amid rising policies in 2022 targetting the discussion of race and LGBTQ issues in Tennessee classrooms.
Thanks to Rawls’ viral video, this convoluted approval process is now on the radar of millions of viewers across the country, along with other important issues affecting teachers such as staff shortages, work-life balance, and even the Tennessee third-grade retention law and how this has impacted her students. She is a spirited advocate everyone should be paying attention to in 2023 and beyond.
Mrs. Kelly (@the_mrskelly)
Deidre Kelly, a sixth-grade teacher from Texas, initially joined TikTok to create fun, light-hearted videos with her students. However, when the pandemic hit and classes moved online, she began using the platform as a way to connect with her math students in a different way.
Deidre started creating mini math lessons on TikTok, covering topics like labeling quadrants and cross-multiplying fractions. By incorporating viral music and trending audios that her students love, she was able to keep them engaged and interested in her videos, even outside of regular Zoom classes.
Deidre’s innovative approach to teaching has earned her a lot of praise from fellow educators and parents alike in the comments of her videos. It’s clear that her commitment to finding new ways to connect with her students has paid off in a big way, amassing an impressive following of 1.4 million.