Alumni, Community, People

Thousands follow alumna’s discussions on education

September 15, 2020
BY GERRY RUCCHIN

Catherine Zeisner

Catherine Zeisner is a social media influencer. She has over 200,000 followers, 3.3. million likes and millions of comments and direct messages on TikTok. And everything is about education.

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to make and share videos. In particular, Zeisner started using TikTok during the pandemic because it’s popular with students. Also, it provides opportunities to engage them as well as keep up to date on the current language students are using on social media.

“I wanted to learn why TikTok was so popular and why so many global users were on it,” said Zeisner. “I also wanted to learn how all the features worked and get introduced to some new music as well as how others were reaching out to each other during this pandemic.”

With TikTok’s popularity, she realized there’s an audience to talk about education, educators and learning. As part of her social media posts, she uses stories and humor to discuss topics ranging from education leadership, mental health, understanding ADHD, assessment strategies, how to engage learners’ online, educational jargon and how to support everyone who works at school.

What’s more, she really enjoys broadcasting live every night where anyone can join and discuss educational challenges. After the broadcast, she builds a Pinterest board listing the resources that were discussed.

“It has been so rewarding to work with others who want to reach out and support many that are struggling or want to grow and learn,” she said.

While finding topics isn’t a problem for Zeisner, she feels pressure to remain authentic and to ensure her values drive her content and opinion. She admits there’s pressure to jump on bandwagons, spotlight certain trends and call out negativity.

Her audience also includes a worldwide following of teachers, parents and those who aren’t in education.

“Being Canadian and a woman over 50 helps as many people on the app don't post and just want to watch and I am able to represent those who don't want to be seen but certainly heard.”

Zeisner is an assistant professor at Gonzaga University and a former principal in the Thames Valley District School Board. She’s also an alumna from Western Education’s Doctor of Education program.

Without a doubt, Zeisner said she’ll continue to broadcast, learn and share so she can support those who need her by giving them a chance to vent, cry, laugh, and learn. She’s also writing a book, ‘The A to Zeisner project,’ which is based on feedback she received from her followers concerning educational terminology used around the world.


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