One reason I love working in independent schools are the relationships. Many of the connections I’ve made with students, parents, alumni, and colleagues remain strong to this day – one such connection is my friendship with Gerard Manoli, a math teacher and coach at my alma mater, Western Reserve Academy.
I met Mr. Manoli during his first year at WRA when I was a senior and he was my basketball coach. We remained friends during my college days and he was one of the first people I called when I got my first independent school job – at my alma mater. We became colleagues and our friendship continued – I valued his opinion and sought his advice numerous times. One such occasion occurred when I was struggling with my student advisee group. I asked Gerard what advice he gave his advisee’s and he shared with me Manoli’s Mantra. I’ve, in turn, shared Gerard’s advice many times and can’t help but think how applicable his words are to social media.
1. Obey All Major School Rules
For an independent school student following all major school rules is the price of admission – the same is true of social media. While there technically aren’t any “rules” with regard to social media there are conventions and best practices and the quicker you figure them out and follow them the more effective you will be with social media. How do you determine those “rules?” You begin by “listening” to the social media channel(s) with which you would like to participate and learn how best to use that channel.
2. Be Where You’re Supposed To Be, When You’re Supposed To Be There
The above is not only great advice for an independent school student but I’ve found this thought is applicable in my personal and professional life. Keeping appointments and being on time are life lessons for students, teachers, and parents. I believe this axiom applies to social media most specifically as a guide to managing your social media channels. I’ve found that social media has the ability consume your free time if you let it and I like to think this phrase tells me to focus while I’m managing all of my personal and professional social media channels. I’ve written previously about “How I Find Time To Make Media” and “My Social Media System For Schools,” which, along with the above phrase, allows me to engage through social media and be efficient and purposeful while “I’m there.”
3. Do The Very Best You Can Once You’re There
What wonderful advice for all facets of one’s life. I believe that if we all did the very best we could once you’re there the world would be a better place. I apply this advice to social media as it relates to setting goals. Before you begin using social media for your school make sure to determine your goals with each social media channel you utilize. Equally important to setting the goal is to monitor and measure how you’re doing to relation to your goal – sounds simple but you’d be surprised at how many schools have jumped into social media without a clue where they’re going.
I’d like to thank my friend for sharing his mantra with me so many years ago. I’ve found the advice timeless and applicable to so many facets of my life…including my use of social media. Remember Manol’s Mantra as you embark on using social media for your school you’ll be appropriate, efficient, and effective. Good luck!