Support Sylvania Teachers, a Facebook group that started in 2020 amidst uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, addresses new challenges for teachers. The group, now with about a thousand members, provides a bridge between the community and teachers in Sylvania Schools.
Dan Greenberg, English teacher at Southview for 20 years and nine year president of the Teachers Association, described the Facebook group as a community facing way to support teachers by standing with them. “It was created to keep morale up, whether during contract discussions or to raise the esteem of teachers,” Greenberg explains.
Greenberg posts content that uplifts teachers who may not always get recognition, or give themselves credit. “Teachers themselves are not typically self-promoters so being able to showcase their accomplishments is important.”
Battling the Negativity
Another important reason for this social media outlet is to counter negative groups and social media posts that are used primarily for complaints. “Some groups become a hotbed of controversy and point out things that get blown out of proportion,” Greenberg explains. Teachers may read those negative comments and take them personally and it can hurt their pride in their work, their classroom and their district.
Providing a counterbalance to the negativity is crucial for the success of teachers and for the community to be able to see the other side of the conversation. Support Sylvania Teachers aims to allow the community to see the good that comes from being positive and supportive.
“When you see a bunch of people from all over the community becoming involved, that makes people feel supported and noticed and appreciated,” Greenberg said, adding that keeping morale up is tough and teacher retention has become more and more challenging.
The posts shared in the group range from amusing memes that teachers can relate to announcements regarding teachers’ awards and other academic accomplishments. Greenburg wants the community to be aware of those types of accomplishments as teachers often downplay the honors they receive. “Teachers being nominated by a student, a peer or a parent is a huge honor and then to be selected as Teacher of the Year is very special,” Greenberg said. “Some may blow it off or not feel deserving so we want to raise their esteem and recognize them.”
Community engagement with the social media posts can bridge the gap between teachers and the community. “I see members of the page invite their friends and the growth and engagement with posts is very encouraging,” Greenberg said.
Ultimately the goal of the page is to show Sylvania teachers that the work they do matters and that they are appreciated for their work for the students and for the community, while helping teachers get through the days of self-doubt and to show them support. “The accolades that matter most are the successes that come from watching the kids grow, from the families that write notes of appreciation and from the students who come back years later with thanks,” Greenberg said.