Recently, I came across the work of Sara G, a teacher on the North Shore of Chicago who hit a home run humanizing herself in an intro video to her online learning space.
(For more on this idea, see my extended article on how to humanize online learning spaces.)
Let's take a look at Sara's intro video, and then I'll pull out a few pieces that I think go a long way in establishing for her students that she's a credible teacher.
(Video not working? Try this link.)
Why the video works
- Sara touches on her childhood. Students are fascinated by the places we're from — whether we grew up in the same place we teach or (as in Sara's case) somewhere further away. Also, that matching outfit family photo… so money.
- Sara shares the path that brought her to teaching. I think most students assume that teachers pop out of the womb fully aware of their fates as future educators. When Sara talks about her path to teaching, she muddles that too-perfect picture up a bit — a key move for humanizing.
- She touches on her subject. As an English teacher, Sara anticipates that not all of her students will appreciate reading. She acknowledges this while explaining the logical route that brought her to a love of books. She's not pushy about her discipline, but it's also clear from the get-go that she loves it.
- Sara shares her interests outside of school. Her love for her children is obvious in the film, and while Sara's students probably can't relate to the exact idea, they can appreciate that they have things and people that they love, too.
- She hits the notes of humble and bold. Again and again, Sara brings it back to teaching — why she loves what she does, why her current role as a distance teacher is difficult, why her passion for her work remains unchanged even in a world wrought with uncertainty.
Why your video will work, too
It's important to remember that videos like this are going to be as idiosyncratic as the people who make them. When we look at examples of good teaching, we need to monitor our insides. When we feel overwhelmed or inadequate, we just come back to a trusty question: what would this look like if it were simple? When we feel excited or encouraged, we steep in the gratitude for a second and then move on with our work.
I hope it helps.
Thank you to Sara G for representing the third coast well and sharing her work.