Teaching + TikTok = The perfect combo

Today students and teachers alike spend a great deal of time on social media. We could argue about the merits and drawbacks of this, but the truth cannot be ignored: social media has an impact. At NumWorks, we are aware of this reality and are always excited when we meet a math teacher that uses social media to bring positivity and learning to the screens of their students’ smartphones.

Enter communities like #teachertiktok, #MTBOS and #teachersofinstagram! That’s right, many teachers now spend their days in front of the whiteboard and their nights behind a ring light. Some teachers share math tricks, some create classroom decor DIY’s, and others post funny jokes about the life of a teacher.

The team at NumWorks loves browsing social media platforms and laughing and learning alongside math teachers. Over the summer, we came across a favorite, Courtney Talbert, @ctalteach on Instagram and TikTok. Courtney makes hilarious videos on these platforms, like this one!

Courtney Talbert

Courtney Talbert is a first-year high school math teacher in Virginia. She creates funny sketches and helpful tips for students and teachers on her TikTok and Instagram pages. As a huge fan of Courtney’s work, I knew I had to sit down and get to know her! Keep reading to hear all about the new teacher on the block!

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I wanted to become a teacher because I love getting to know people, specifically younger kids. I like helping them navigate life at least through high school and preparing them for the next step. It was during my junior and senior years of high school that I realized I was the one my friends always contacted for help with homework or studying. More often than not, they wanted help with math homework and I was really good in math classes. That is what solidified math as my main subject area and teaching as my profession.

What inspired you to create social media profiles dedicated to teaching?

It started when I was student teaching. I wanted a space to tell other student teachers what I was learning and get input from existing teachers. I made the page and started connecting with other teachers, sharing my process, and picking up helpful tips from those with more experience before I got started in the classroom.

Courtney Talbert with a ring light

How do you come up with ideas for your TikTok videos?

I start by thinking about situations that happen to me all the time as a teacher that I know other people will laugh at and relate to. Other times, I will think of strange quirks that I notice in myself as a teacher and often when I post about them there are lots of teachers who comment and tell me that they can relate.

What is the community of teachers like online?

The community of teachers online is so nice! Everyone is kind and helpful. Funnily enough, I even ran into one of the teachers I follow on Instagram in Las Vegas while on vacation this summer and got to connect with her face to face! She even gave me some advice and words of encouragement to get me ready for my first year of teaching.

What do you hope to do with your social media presence?

I hope to create a space online where students and teachers can come together to connect. I want students to be able to come to laugh at a young teacher making videos about funny things that happen to them in school. I want teachers to have a space to talk and share advice and resources. I want everyone to feel comfortable and safe in that space.

Courtney Talbert with a scrunchie

What are you most excited about this school year?

I am so excited to form relationships with my students! I had to do my student teaching from behind a computer screen and it was great, but at times it also wasn’t. I loved getting to teach but I was missing my favorite part, connecting with students. The number one thing a student could do to make me happy as a teacher would be to engage in conversation in the classroom whether it is on-topic or not. Not having that was difficult during the pandemic for both me and my students. If I completely fail as a teacher this year, which I don’t think I will, I hope that I have at least gotten to know them and connected with them personally. That would be a successful year for me.

Courtney Talbert at a desk

I loved getting to know Courtney and learning more about her experiences online and as a teacher. Follow Courtney on TikTok and Instagram to accompany her on her journey through her first year of teaching. Stay tuned for more teacher spotlights in the future!