Using TikTok to Build Relationships with Students

Jeremy RinkelBlog, Engage Better, Innovate Better

In This Post:

  • A brief overview of the new trend in social media: TikTok.
  • Using popular social media to build relationships with students.
  • Connecting popular social media to your content area.

What is TikTok?

TikTok? Have you heard of it?

Do you remember the app While I never jumped into the world and I said TikTok was ridiculous, I quickly changed my mind because of the potential to build relationships with my students.

First off, TikTok is a social media video app for creating and sharing short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The app allows you to record videos from 0-60 seconds with most videos clocking it at about 15 seconds.

Two weeks ago, I decided to create a TikTok account and post my first video. 

But how can TikTok be used to build relationships with students?

Teachers have to go where the audience is. Click To Tweet

My Students Love It

After posting my first video, I was strolling through the halls before school. Students were laughing and asking when I was going to post my next TikTok. They saw it and shared the video with their friends, who then shared it with their friends.

I received a text from my daughter who said people were asking her if I was her dad and if she saw my TikTok. Her school is 30 miles from where I teach. 

My first TikTok video was posted and shared to my teacher social media sites on Sunday, November 3 at 9 PM. When I went to bed with 5 views and woke up at 4:30 AM on Monday morning with 947 views.

By noon, I had 1,200 views.  As I was writing this post, I posted a Snow Day (saying we won’t have one tomorrow) video at 11:30 AM. By 2:15 PM, I already had 20,000+ views. At 6:30 PM, I was up to 67,000 views. By the time I went to bed at 10:30 PM, my TikTok had 175,000 views.

What happened? This can’t be right. I’ve never had that many views on social media in that short of time.

At the time of this writing, I’ve created three videos and am closing in on 180,000 views. My students tell me I made the “For You” TikTok page. AKA: TikTok featured my video.


Building Relationships to Teaching Content

It is very clear to me. Teachers have to go where the audience is.

I need to use TikTok as a relationship builder with my students, but I won’t just stop there. My next step is figuring out how to use TikTok to teach content. While this idea is still EXTREMELY new to me, I’m planning a strategy to use TikTok as a supplement to my classroom content.

The next few weeks I’m going to continue to post “funny” TikToks to continue the relationship piece. It is a great opportunity for me to explore various features the app offers me when it comes to creating social media videos and this could help me create better content for my students and followers. Once I’ve built a base of student followers, I’m going to start focusing on content from novels we’re reading, as well as key grammar and writing tips. Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, you can find me on TikTok and Snapchat at jrinkelteacher, on Youtube, and find more information as I wade into the world of TikTok at

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About Jeremy Rinkel

Jeremy is a husband, father, high school English teacher and Yoga Teacher. He has earned a Masters in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Teaching from Greenville University. His goal is to inspire students, teachers and anyone he comes into contact with to be a life long learner. Jeremy believes education is the key to solving our world’s problems. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys traveling, writing, spending time in coffee shops, and spending time with his family watching old TV shows on Netflix. In the summer, he can be found at a Lake Sara in Central Illinois teaching Standup Paddleboard Yoga.
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