A few years ago we had a career dress-up day at school. Kids were asked to dress for the career they wanted to have as an adult. Several students showed up to school in flannel t-shirts with their hair sprayed blue. I didn’t understand what this career was….grunge boy band? Were the 90s back? Turns out they were dressed as some famous “YouTuber” which is when I found out that “YouTuber” was a job you could have. I had no idea that people got paid to put videos of themselves playing video games on YouTube. But apparently this is a job you can have and if you have it you make far more money than I do each year.
More and more I head the term “influencer” and most recently it comes up when reading about the college admissions scandal because one of the daughters involved was “social media influencer” and I had zero clue what this was. Turns out that if you have a lot of people following you on social media apps you can get paid thousands of dollars to endorse products. I guess you influence people’s taste….because if a random person I don’t know is endorsing a skin care product I am definitely going to buy it (I sincerely home the intended sarcasm came through there).
THEN. I found out that there are educational influencers too! I already knew about Teachers Pay Teachers and whatnot, but I did not know that if you post pictures of your perfectly color-coordinated, Pinterest-worthy classroom you can also get paid by the creators of these color-coordinated products.
The concept of influencer makes me laugh, because I try to influence people every day, sometimes to no avail. I try to influence my kids’ decision-making process (i.e make good choices about where to sit, what you want to read, not shaving your pencil with a pair of scissors, etc.) and no one is offering me any money. And if you walk into my classroom it is a mess- there are kid-created charts hanging precariously, piles of books and notebooks. Baskets of books without any rhyme or reason to their color scheme. Plastic bags with math games that are beginning to fall apart. I don’t have a teacher desk because I don’t see a need for one. Not a blessed thing is color coordinated. Edges of plastic bins are cracked because it’s March. 97% of the pencils in the classroom don’t have erasers and there aren’t borders around my bulletin boards….there isn’t even (gasp) a colored paper background. It’s just corkboard with kid work and thumbtacks (that also don’t match). No one is going to offer me money for my polka-dot or chevron themed room. Which is not to say that I dislike polka-dots or chevron…I love them both, but I just want my classroom space to say that kids live here and sometimes we forget to clean up.
So if anyone from the Ziploc company or the makers of plastic tubs or the creators of Ticonderoga pencils wants to pay me to take pictures of the myriad plastic bags and Tupperware containers or freshly sharpened pencils in my classroom, please let me know. I’d love to be influential if it means my students and I can be us.
**And seriously, no offense to anyone who has the nice, neat, perfect classroom. I applaud you and your organizational skills and attention to detail. That’s just not my style. **