"#TeachersOfTikTok" has over 30.5 billion views on the platform. The classroom content includes room tours, teaching tips, "story times" about experiences working in education and videos about the "days in the life" of a teacher.
"The era of the 'TikTok Teacher' started over quarantine when we all had too much free time," said Lauran Woolley, elementary school teacher and TikTok creator. "I actually began as a bet against one of my students. I found out he really liked TikTok, and he was making TikToks on his own. So I bet him that I could get more followers than he could by the end of year."
With 5.2 million followers on TikTok, Woolley — or @mrs.woolleyin5th — won that bet.
She makes videos about her classroom, like tips on flexible seating for students, "unboxing" videos of school supplies and "day in the life" vlogs about summer break.
"It wasn't like I had this master plan to become this major influencer or TikTok person," Woolley said. "That was not the goal."
Woolley says her videos help her engage with her students more, especially since many of them are on TikTok.
The platform also helps her learn from others working in education.
"It's cool seeing what other teachers have in their classrooms or go through over like their daily basis in different areas of the world, so it's really cool to connect with other people too," Woolley said.
Others, like third grade teacher Sofia Bella, went viral on TikTok after sharing how she decorates her classroom and makes it a comfortable, safe space for students. She has 3.9 million followers on TikTok.
"Since they're so connected — way more connected than I was when I was in third grade — I know they're aware of issues happening in the world," Bella said. "I want them to feel like whatever is happening outside, you're OK in here."
Beyond finding humor and lightness in the classroom, Bella and Woolley hope that viewers can learn more about the work that goes into teaching.
"There are a lot of people that see things that teachers post online and are like, 'Oh wow, I didn't realize that's what you actually have to do,' and for some people, it really does kind of build more appreciation for the career itself," Woolley said.
"My goal was to inspire people," Bella said. "I'm not only inspiring my kids, but I'm also inspiring kids all over the world to love school, and I'm inspiring people to become teachers, which is what we need. We need a lot of teachers who love what they do."