School is about to begin again and there is nothing is worse than an excited parent that goes to the school’s website to meet the administrator or teacher and all they see is a boring letter, or even worse, the person’s name with no other information. You had the parent right where you wanted them! They came to your site, they wanted more information, and they came to you! So how do you reward them? With nothing? With a boring description that is impersonal and shows a lack of effort? Not a great first impression especially if you are a leader. They start wondering how much work you put into the rest of your job. Maybe it isn’t fair, but it is reality. There are better ways through modern technology and videos to make an amazing first impression that shows you as a person instead of a position. This also helps to build a positive relationship from the very beginning even before you actually meet them in person!
On our Ashland Elementary School website, we have introduction videos for all of our staff. It is imperative that our community know who our people are and that they feel like they can approach them. Our families go online and watch the videos when they register for school, when they consider moving into the area, and when they find our yearly who their child’s teacher is.
Not only is this beneficial for parents and students, but candidates for positions look at these videos before interviewing as well. Will you like your new boss? Will you like you new teammates?
Here is my video from last year. I tried to show many examples with pictures to show evidence of my messages. I’m due for another one soon and I have some really fun ideas for the next level!
Here are a few tips and reminders to add to your profile page on your website:
Title and Name
Make sure to write your title and name in the way that you want others to call you. Do you want to be called with a Dr. or Ms. in front? Do you want to be called by your first name?
What do think your parents will want to know about your credentials? I like writing out the universities that I attended because chances are you may have a parent that also attended one of those schools too. This may give you a quick connection with them. The idea of this section is that it is a brief, written out blurb. Keep this short and sweet.
Links for Other Sites
Do you have a blog? Link it here. Do you use social media for school? Link it here. Make sure your home page for your position is a one-stop shop for the various professional sites you use. Be transparent and organized in this way for your families.
The is the most important part of your profile page on your website. Create a brief video that represents you in whatever way that you want to be represented as an educator and leader. There are no huge rules with this and for each person, this will be different based on your priorities, but consider what will matter to your community. Focus more on the big picture and your philosophical beliefs on education. People don’t care about programs, but they do care about what you believe. The video should be professional with good lighting and sound quality. You don’t need anything fancy like green screens. The biggest thing is to show personality and passion for working with students. Be the teacher or administrator that you would love for your own child. Make sure you end with them feeling that you want them to approach you and meet in person as well. The video should be generally brief but it doesn’t have to be really short. They are there to see you and you already have their attention, so make sure to maximize that time.
Here is a list of topics in our school that we use for introduction videos for staff:
3. # years teaching
4. # yrs at our school
5. Why you teach/work with kids (be passionate!)
6. One new thing you are excited about doing w/students this year
Opt #7. Any personal info (family, hobbies, etc.)
- Editing: You can use your phone, computer, or a fancy camera. You can edit it later if you make mistakes with programs like WeVideo. If you don’t have that capability, redo the video until you get it right.
- Scripts: Consider a script that is taped on a wall directly behind the camera. Test it. Make sure you look like you are looking into the camera. Some recording programs like TouchCast have built in teleprompters for your script.
- Lighting: Make sure your lighting is good. An easy way to do this is to record outside with the natural light. There are a ton of YouTube videos for these types of tips.
- Sound: Use a microphone. It doesn’t have to be expensive. They have cheap lapel mics online. If you don’t have any of this, it could still be ok, just make sure to test it and make sure background noises doesn’t interfere or distract the viewer.
- Background: When recording, be mindful what is in the background. A classroom, library, office, or playground looks good unless it looks messy behind you.
- Professional: Be professional and positive no matter what. Convey confidence in what you are doing and that you really enjoy doing it.
- If you want to use one video for multiple years, make sure to not use dates or the number of years you have been doing something. For instance if you say that you have been a teacher for 6 years, then then video won’t work the following year. I recommend making yearly videos to keep current and updated.
- Make a YouTube Channel for yourself and/or your school. Use this channel to upload the videos. Write a clear title and description. Use their embed code to put it on your webpage. Go ‘share’ and ’embed.’ There are options you can click before saving the embed code. YouTube makes this even easier by right clicking on the uploaded video and then clicking ‘copy embed code.’ Some modern webpages will automatically embed if you copy the regular url for the video.
- Now YouTube can create closed captioning based on your speaking in the video to help you be ADA compliant. There is a tab and then checkbox for this. You can read through and edit their captions to make them perfect. Closed captioning is also fantastic for the typical viewer that may not have their sound on when they are watching the video or have difficulty making out all the words that you are saying.
- You can also use new tools like Flipgrid to send the videos out to parents and easily have your staff record their videos from their phones.
- Create a picture montage with music and a voice over. I think those look great and give you a chance to show examples with pictures. I do think though that a face to face video is more effective at giving the parents or students a feeling like they actually met you. Advanced level is using a little bit of both – you speaking to the camera and having pictures or videos pop up on screen like in news broadcasts.
- Film the video showing you doing activities like going down the slide, on the swing, or playing with students’ manipulatives.
- Use students in the video (get permission first) to show your connection with your kids at school and give them voice.
- Tell a story of one of your favorite moments as a leader or educator. Stories are powerful in connecting people to your ideas that you want to share. You also come across more natural in speaking when you tell stories.
Are you daring enough to use this method to make a better impression with your community? It’s your turn! Be bold! Be you! Reach out to me if you need help!
After talking with others and seeing the interest in using FlipGrid for intro videos, I added this section.
This year we are using FlipGrid (now free for all educators!) to record our intro videos. I sent them out the task at the end of the school year to do this over the summer. I created a new grid and topic for these videos. I added information right there for the teachers to remind them what they should talk about.
I made this a locked grid so that only our staff can use with the password that I emailed to them. I even had them write their names and positions in a certain way so they show up right on FlipGrid. I gave 90 second limits to their recordings.
What’s really cool about FlipGrid is how you can use the videos from here. The titles, names, emails, etc. are all able to be edited. Once you unlock the grid, you can share it out for all to see all of the videos combined. Or you can link separate videos to specific teacher webpages. You can also download them to use later. Our plan is to use these videos to link up to their teacher pages on our website.