4 Things I’ll Lose as a Teacher if They Ban TikTok



Across the country, many teachers are following the news about the potential TikTok ban. Some—especially middle and high school teachers—would welcome a ban on an app that causes so much student distraction. But other teachers are worried about how the ban would affect their ability to connect with other teachers, grow as professionals, and even make money.

It seems the government may eventually ban the app due to concerns about national security and data privacy. Recently, President Biden signed a law promising to ban TikTok unless it’s sold within a year, further escalating the big-tech tension between the United States and China. The new law, paired with a foreign aid package, included a requirement that ByteDance divest its TikTok stake within 12 months or face a U.S. shutdown. On the flip side, TikTok vowed to fight the law in court on claims that it suppresses free speech.

While I am no expert on national security, I am a professional in the education field watching the debate rage over one of my favorite apps. I can tell you if they ban TikTok in the United States, I will miss it dearly. Here are four things I’ll lose as a teacher if the TikTok ban goes through.

1. My global teachers lounge

For many of us, TikTok is a virtual teachers lounge on a global scale. If they ban TikTok, I will lose access to thousands of teacher friends whom I message frequently. It’s also no secret that education can be difficult. Catching a glimpse into real teachers’ lives helps me feel seen, especially on the hard days. Sharing jokes with other educators across Internet space and time zones brings comic relief to some of the most mundane parts of my job.

This school year alone, I shared resources with thousands of educators, became pen pals with another class, swapped friendship bracelets with teachers all over the country, and met some really amazing teacher besties from across the globe. The seemingly silly little video app made all of these teacher community connections possible.

2. Free professional development

Spend a few minutes scrolling through Teachertok and you will quickly realize it offers so much more than just funny lip-synch videos. TikTok provides bite-size professional development from real educators. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is a search engine for teachers. If I want to know how real teachers are reacting to educational news, or I need a new idea for my students, I can always find something on TikTok. The best part is, it is free and quick, two things tired teachers love. I don’t need to attend a conference or find a substitute teacher. As budgets are continually cut and teachers are more burned out than ever, banning a huge educational resource just feels so typical of the American education system. Cue the eye roll.

3. My side hustle

I started using TikTok as a side hustle two years ago. At first, I shared a few videos per week of preschool classroom ideas and talked about my children’s books. Now I share early childhood content and teacher jokes on my page daily. What once was just for fun quickly became a means to build an educational community and make some extra cash doing it. If they ban TikTok, I’ll lose both my virtual teacher friends and my lucrative hobby.

4. My freedom of speech

TikTok gives me a voice that can impact thousands of educators on a weekly basis. In a time when many teachers feel like we have lost our say in education, it’s frustrating to think about losing my voice on TikTok as well. Teachers are often put in situations where resources are suddenly unavailable. Unfortunately, we are pretty used to making do with less. We are resilient and hardworking, despite the gaps. If they ban TikTok, I bet teacher creators like me will find another way to connect with our communities—I just hope we don’t have to.

What comes next?

As discussions surrounding the potential TikTok ban intensify, American teachers watch the tech news vigilantly. By January 2025, we could lose our freedom of speech, supplemental income, and our ability to share resources with one another on TikTok. The great TikTok debate highlights the broader impact of the ban on personal and intellectual property, which begs the question: Is banning a global source of community going too far in our democracy?

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