A lot of students have social media, whether they use it or not. The internet is home to all kinds of content, and it’s a place to connect and share. Students sometimes post art, weekend trips, or whatever things they’ve cooked up in the kitchen in their spare time. So, it should be no surprise that teachers around KO use social media in similar ways.
If one were to pay a visit to Upper School Administrative Coordinator Lindsay Perkins’ Instagram, one would find themselves flooded with images of brownies, holiday cookies, cheese platters, pasta, and more culinary creations. It only takes a quick glance at her bio to understand the many food-related posts on her page.
Ms. Perkins has a background in baking – before she came to KO, she went to culinary school and was a professional baker. She initially began working here after doing a cooking program at Camp KO. “I’ve always been interested in food and baking,” Ms. Perkins remarked. “You take the time and creativity to make something and then realize that you could use Instagram to bring people into that experience in whatever way you choose.”
Years ago, though, her Instagram was a bit more serious of an endeavor than it is now. “People would reach out to me and instead of getting paid with money, they would say, ‘Oh, well we have a cheese company. Can we send you a case of different cheeses?’” Ms. Perkins explained. She would then make a dish out of that product and post it to her Instagram, usually placing the brand somewhere in the photo.
However, creating content like that quickly got tiring. “You kind of feel like you’re not being yourself at a certain point,” Ms. Perkins said. “During COVID-19 and when we were home, I did so many cooking IG videos and cook-alongs and all sorts of things, but that was such exhausting work.” Nowadays, Ms. Perkins just uses Instagram for fun.
Like Ms. Perkins, history teacher Stephanie Sperber also has an Instagram page filled with food-related ventures. “I think I enjoy the process more than I enjoy eating food,” Ms. Sperber mused. “I always cook too much; I have no concept of portions. But I like the process of cooking, and then by the time I’m done cooking, I’m like, ‘Eh, I don’t even want to [eat this].’”
Ms. Sperber also uses her page to occasionally post about political news or to share the projects her students are doing in class. She affectionately compares her Instagram to a parent’s refrigerator, where they hang up all their children’s artwork.
Meanwhile, math teacher Kristen Valenti has both an Instagram page and a blog dedicated to her hobby, hiking. Visit either page, and you will witness eye-catching, color-saturated photos of sunsets from the tops of cliffs, golden hour painting the trees, and rocks brilliant shades of red and yellow.
“I enjoy helping people find new places to get outside, new places to go,” Ms. Valenti commented. “I think when people think of Connecticut, they may not think of it as a state that has a lot of good hiking, but we have a lot of trail systems and a lot of beautiful overlooks that are easier to get to and then bigger hikes that take more work but are equally as beautiful.”
However, hiking does take up a lot of time – something that can be hard to find during the school year. “I try to do one sunrise hike a week,” she explained. “Sometimes I even do it before work if I don’t have an early class at 8:00 a.m. and then I try to do one sunset hike during the week. Now that the sun is setting later, it’s easier to get out there after work.” Over the weekend, Ms. Valenti also tries to plan for longer hikes during all times of day and night.
Ms. Perkins and Ms. Sperber also have to find ways to fit their hobbies into their busy schedules. Ms. Sperber enjoys cooking when she gets home, the process acting as a break from the busy activities of the day. “I can’t be doing anything else,” Ms. Sperber commented. “I maybe can listen to a podcast, but usually I put on the news and I just focus on doing one thing that is not what I’ve been doing for the last eight hours.”
Whether it be baking cookies, displaying sunsets from mountaintops, or just logging day-to-day life, teachers around campus use social media in all kinds of unique, interesting ways.