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Mackenzie Adams never set out to gain TikTok stardom, but that’s exactly what happened when the 2018 Central Washington University graduate posted her first teaching video to the social media platform.

As a Kindergarten teacher at Glenwood Elementary in Lake Stevens, her world changed drastically when she needed to transition from in-person to online learning when the pandemic hit. Having never taught online, she wanted to see what her students were seeing through their screens and began recording herself to watch back her lessons.

“I posted my first teaching TikTok just to reflect on my teaching,” said Adams. “I wanted to see if I appeared engaging to the students and how the lesson looked from the students' perspective. I never expected anyone would see it!”

Adams’ teaching TikToks quickly went viral, with her page now having over 9.6 million likes and 417,000 followers, and one video even getting over 14.2 million views.

With this experience also came new opportunities, including being a guest on podcasts, appearing on local news stations, getting to partner with Curriculum Associates, and even being featured in the two-hour “Celebrating America” program during Inauguration Day. 

Introduced by Tom Hanks, Adams appeared on TV and said, “It’s been a difficult year for our students, and I am so proud of all the teachers, parents, and students across the country who have adapted and made the best out of a tough time.”

She then introduced the Foo Fighters, a rock band formed in Seattle, WA, for their performance.

“I was in disbelief when they told me they wanted to honor me during the program. I feel very lucky and honored to represent teachers all over the country, they deserve to be recognized for all their hard work. I was able to film at Kerry Park in Seattle with the beautiful skyline behind me, it was truly incredible!”

Coming from a family of teachers, Adams has always watched them and wanted to be one herself. She started playing school with her stuffed animals at age five, and when she became an adult, she followed her passion to Central where she enrolled in the CWU School of Education.

“Central gave me the best memories and the best friends,” said Adams. “I enjoyed the teaching program and had so many great professors! College was an unforgettable time, and I will always cherish Ellensburg and Central.”

Adams still records her lessons and shares them with her followers. If you would like watch, you can find her profiles at @kenziiewenz on TikTok, or @kenziiewenzteacher on Instagram.

Story by: Robin Burck