Instagram has recognized a new profession as a lucrative business model: teachers. In the US, teachers sometimes earn more as influencers than in their actual job. But also in Germany there are more and more “Insta-teachers”. We explain what’s behind the trend.
Amy Groesbeck is a young elementary school teacher from Texas. She teaches the third grade and is exactly what a primary school teacher thinks she is: she loves her class, works hard, is always motivated and always strives to create creative new material for the classroom.
But Amy Groesbeck also has a side job: influencer.
Six hours a day for Instagram posts
In fact, her part-time job is almost a second full-time job for her. After work each day, she spends an average of six hours designing and sharing Instagram posts with her 97,000 followers.
These are mainly materials that she has developed for her own teaching and offers for sale on the Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) teacher exchange. When Amy Groesbeck started posting her stuff on Instagram, she just wanted to channel more traffic into her TPT profile.
But she unconsciously discovered a completely new business model: teacher-influencer on Instagram.
Like Groesbeck the magazineBuzzfeed newsBetrayed, she earns $ 50,000 a year as a teacher. On Instagram, on the other hand, she can earn up to $ 200,000 a year.
Companies discover teachers as influencers
But the money is not just about selling educational materials. Their high number of followers was not long hidden even for textbook publishers and school materials manufacturers.
For a fee, Groesbeck now tests various products and then promotes them in the classic influencer style on Instagram.
Amy Groesbeck is part of a growing community of teacher influencers on Instagram. In addition, one must know that teachers in the USA are notoriously poorly paid and receive relatively little teaching material.
Especially teachers who work with younger children, therefore, create their own materials – and pay for it from their own pockets.
Platforms like TPT or Instagram help them cover at least the cost of materials. In some cases, as at Groesbeck, doing a side job becomes more lucrative than the main job.
In Germany, the trend has now arrived, albeit on a much smaller scale.
From #instalehrer to #grundschule: german teachers on Instagram
The largest German Insta-Lehrer accounts register nearly 15,000 followers. Most of them are also primary school teachers.
This is partly due to the fact that especially in this area much work is still being done with visual materials, which are particularly suitable for sharing on Instagram. Secondly, most teachers in Germany are female.
At elementary schools, nearly 90 percent of teachers are female. One of them is “Miss Colorful”. Miss Colorful teaches in a primary school in Baden-Wrttemberg and would rather not call her real name.
She has been a teacher on Instagram for about a year. “I started small and just wanted to share my materials and share with others,” says Miss ColorfulBASIC thinking.
She never intended to have a business model, she says. Meanwhile her account Colorful Classroom has at least 6,500 followers.
Under hashtags such as #instalehrer, #instalehrerzimmer or #grundschule romp in the German-speaking area many similar accounts of Instagram teachers. As in the US, most posts in this country turn to teaching materials.
Because even if the teacher’s salary in Germany is better, especially primary school teachers invest a lot of money in the design of their teaching materials. Some of them then sell them, similar to their US counterparts, to “Lehrermarktplatz”, the German counterpart to Teachers Pay Teachers.
For many, platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are a great way to promote their profiles to the teacher marketplace.
The big money in this country does not deserve a teacher
That’s one of the reasons why Josefine also sets up her materials on Instagram as she doesBASIC thinkingexplained.
“Since I’ve only recently started marketing material on the teacher marketplace, Instagram is the key to getting other teachers interested in my material. Everything I offer at Lehrermarktplatz, I also post on Instagram and get feedback on the need for the material. So I know if there is any interest in certain materials. “
Josefine also teaches at a primary school and she also prefers to stay anonymous. On Instagram she posts under the pseudonym “Frau.F.Aus.W.” She started about four months ago.
Your account with almost 2,000 followers is therefore one of the smaller, albeit very active, in Germany. In addition to her own materials, Josefine also posts advertising on certain school items.
Both Miss Colorful and Josefine are quite open to the idea of posting sponsored content – but only if the materials persuade them personally and they are allowed to write their honest opinions.
Nevertheless, the big money makes in Germany – so far – no teacher on Instagram.
Is Advertise on Instagram Corruption?
That also has legal reasons. After all, teachers in Germany have to report every sideline to the school management. If you make money from it, you must also get it approved in advance.
In addition, the income must not exceed a certain limit. Depending on the federal state, there are some different values, the teacher union Association for Education and Training (VBE) explains on requestBASIC thinkinG.
In North Rhine-Westphalia this is therefore 6,000 euros a year. “If, however, the income is higher, the amounts exceeding this limit must be paid to the supervisor,” says the VBE.
Get Rich on Instagram? That could hardly be a teacher in Germany. But there is another problem with teachers on Instagram.
Because for civil servants applies: Secondary activities may not affect the public service. According to VBE, this can either be caused by the lack of objectivity or by the amount of time involved.
If it’s about 30 minutes a day, like Josefine or Miss Colorful, it’s no problem. The six hours of Amy Groesbeck, however, would be questionable.
And what about objectivity? If teachers with private accounts on Instagram as an influencer earn money, this is not a problem, explains Ilka Hoffmann, head of the School Board of the Union of Education and Science (GEW)BASIC thinking.
It only becomes complicated when they act as teachers. Because if companies make the Instagram teachers “gifts” in the form of test products, this could also be interpreted as an acceptance of benefits in office. That would be a service offense.
But is the recommendation of a teacher on Instagram for a product really always the same as corruption? That’s a gray area, says Ilka Hoffmann.
“It is a matter of interpretation whether the use of the term (teacher) in connection with material benefits (gifts) is already considered corruption.”
More important than making money: the exchange on Instagram
That’s why most Instagram teachers have a much more important reason to use the platform than earning money: sharing with each other.
For example, Miss Colorful tells us that she was able to make very many contacts with other teachers via Instagram, and that she had a lively exchange. Not only is her that way. That’s why the first Insta-Lehrer meeting in Germany took place last year.
For Josefine too, the Instagram network has become an important part of her everyday life: “It is already part of my daily lesson preparation to catch up with inspirations and ideas there. There are so many teachers who share great ideas and design teaching materials, such a network is a tremendous relief on the many other things that are in the teaching profession. “
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