good morning


It is great to have you here and thanks so much for reading! I’m Erika Hillstead, a passionate and quirky high school social studies teacher currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Education. I had the privilege to take Joe Blatt’s course, Growing up in a Media World this past fall semester at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Our class explored how young people are influenced by the unprecedented media stimulation across contexts and personal developmental periods, ranging from Curious George on PBS Kids to 16 and Pregnant on MTV. (sidebar from a former Total Request Live fan: what happened to the music on MTV)?

Joe Blatt inspires me to become a more effective and engaging educator. His carefully crafted witty lectures captivate and enlighten his students. I appreciate that his course directly relates to my continued work as a teacher and my new work as a teacher educator. Our final project asked us to connect what we learned to another part of our academic or professional goals. Combining the rich ideas of this course and the essential safe spaces work of my professor Gretchen Brion-Meisels, I created this blog to support teachers in a non-after-school-staff-development-meeting-that-should-have-been-an-email sort of way.

My educational-esque blog, teacher’s lounge focuses on how to create safe spaces for adolescent students to have meaningful conversations about the potential negative effects of online social media. My goal is to provide relevant, user-friendly and easily accessible researched resources to fellow and future teachers so that they are armed and fabulous with the latest concerns surrounding the potential dangers on teenagers’ online use. Each blog post’s emphasis will focus on building relationships with your students and preparing for discussions about cyberbullying, sexting and social media applications. Please feel free to share your insights and wonderings in the comments section of any blog post so that we can promote the tagline of this blog-teachers helping teachers. And please feel free to read this while drinking coffee or wine.

A shout out to my teaching fellow, David who encouraged me to not only write a blog for my final project, but to also take a look around the internet to see if anything has been written about this topic before…

#related works: after Google searching topics like teacher blog addressing negative social media and teacher blogs for safe spaces and blog about addressing the negative impacts of social media in classrooms, I did not find a specific blog that focuses on how teachers can discuss the negative social media impacts that students face. However, in my Google-ing, I came across Vicki Davis’ intriguing blog, Cool Cat Teacher which combines technology in classrooms and professional development and Education Week’s comprehensive assortment of multi-disciplinary blog posts. Non-blog related works include Edutopia-a resource-rich site for teacher structures and strategies (grades K-12) and the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education-a site that provides engaging safe space lesson plans you can implement in your classroom tomorrow.

A final note for now: if you are like me and are already “tripadvisor-ing” where to go for summer break, feel free to peruse my blog, hillstead on location which combines international travel anecdotes and off-beat humor about the good, the bad and the great of stepping out of the American comfort zone.

Talk soon, Erika


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