Teacher TikToks: Spread Positivity during Quarantine


Photo courtesy of Doris Schlothan

Literary and language arts teacher Doris Schlothan is one of the teachers who has been using the TikTok app to connect with students through their witty videos.

Emma Haag and Celine Lee

When the novel Coronavirus shut down schools, put everyone in quarantine and caused a wave of panic among students, some teachers started spreading moral support through TikToks: 15-second videos of carefree comedy.

Literary language arts teacher Doris Schlothan, science teacher Brittany Kang, and social studies teacher Natasha Schottland, have taken the extra step of creating lighthearted videos to make sure their students can still feel assured and accompanied.

“I think that my videos that I make and post for my students on [Google] Classroom help lift my students’ spirits a little bit.” social studies teacher Natasha Schottland said. “I try and make a few jokes, show my pets and show my life in quarantine. I hope it makes the students feel less alone during these weird times!”

Chemistry teacher Brittney Kang has gained over 1,500 followers and 149.5k likes in less than a month.

“While I know that it doesn’t solve anything, I hope [my] TikToks allow my students to feel connected to me again,” Kang said. “Our classroom was full of laughter, when we weren’t taking tests, and any way that I can bring that to them makes me feel a little better. I want students to remember that it is okay to be silly sometimes.”

Some teachers post content related to a lesson they are teaching in a humorous way, allowing their students to learn while also having fun. Others simply post trendy content that sympathizes with students and school life.
Literary and language arts teacher Doris Schlothan averages 300 to 1,500 views per post. Her two most viewed TikToks include tips to writing a better essay and a day in the life of a teacher in quarantine.

“I wanted to do something that would cheer my students up,” literary and language arts teacher Doris Schlothan said. “I figured making TikTok videos would be a quick and effective way to cheer up my students, even for just a second, and more importantly, to let them know that I missed them.”

Though the TikToks of Portola’s teachers vary in subject and style, they all share the common intention of spreading positivity and assurance to their student audiences.

“I remember [Mrs. Schlothan] talking about TikToks, but I didn’t expect her to actually make one,” sophomore Elizabeth Chung said. “It was really nice knowing that a teacher was on the same social media platform as students, so we can all bond at a time like this. Personally, it made me feel more connected to her without actually seeing her in the classroom.”

Even during a global pandemic, teachers at Portola are always finding a way to spread positivity and humor to their students.