A Snappy Follow-up: Snapchat in (and out of) the Classroom


Snapchat isn’t what I thought.

I mean, it is. It’s a powerful Augmented Reality tool that teens are using  ALL.THE.TIME.  And PROLIFICALLY.

But once I got into it, my ideas (see the previous post) of how to use it in my classroom shifted.

I thought I’d use it for kids who missed class, snapping English lessons to my Story, etc.

I did do that.

But that’s not where or how it was most effective for me.

Instead, I went on maternity leave and started to “snap” my life.

Snapchat removes the small talk barrier.


Student followed me while I was away for 8 months. I transitioned into a fuller-time guidance counselling role when I came back, and students started to pay more attention to my life.

They wanted to know, as a role model, what I do in my spare time, on the weekend, at night.

They’re used to knowing what their peers do, and it’s in some ways a great cultural divide not to see teachers and other responsible adults in that light.

Students started coming up to me voluntarily. Instead of the awkward  and somewhat invasive “what did you do on the weekend” question, they could tell me how cute my dog was, and go on to talk about their own pet – or ask me what I thought of the movie they know I’d seen on Netflix (because of course, I snapped that!)

As an English teacher, I can chat all day about the Power of Stories. Humour? Drama? Satire? You betcha, I’ve got literature for that, and then some.

But guess what?! Snapchat allows me to produce these genres, anew, each day – from my very own life.

Not only that, but students are engaging and laughing along (or at … whatever). I don’t know about you, but I tend to characterize myself as a stand-up-comedian in my classroom. So engaging them with silliness or humour or the narrative of my adult, interesting (?), responsible life is natural for me.

My "Bitmoji" is in a good mood.


This style won’t fit everyone. Likely, it is healthier not to “snap” your life than to spend the effort thinking about it, and I certainly put more effort into other things.

However, I hope you consider taking a look.

Our lives should be somewhat private, but as the adults that our students spend the most time with, they want to see how we actually live.

I encourage you to think about what that means for you! For me, it’s my dog, my evenings marking, my child, going to the farm, and silly selfies with different filters (exciting, right?!)

If you want a quick Snapchat tutorial, you can find one here .  

There’s a great rundown of the platform here.

And if you’re an educator wary of Social Media – you can find some good tips here.

It’s good to be back and writing- next time I’ll keep up the social media streak, and post about my adventures on Youtube.

If you’re already on Snapchat, or thinking about it, please leave a comment to tell me what you think!

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