SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– A local middle school teacher is gaining a few extra fans thanks to the social media app TikTok.
Gabe Dannenbring teaches 7th-grade science at Ben Reifel middle school in Sioux Falls. What started as a game of classroom Kahoot, quickly changed the course of Dannenbring’s future.
“The TikTok stuff all happened by accident one day. It was my first year teaching in the district, and I surprised my students, we played a game called Kahoot, and I kind of recorded the sound to their reaction of me playing the game, and I hit play on the game, there’s a soundtrack that goes with it, and the kids just lost their minds and I went ‘oh that’s kind of a funny video, maybe I’ll post it on TikTok, and at the time I had probably 8 followers and it was like my family that followed me, and I posted the video and overnight it got like 40 some million views,” said Dannenbring.
Dannenbring saw this as an opportunity and started to create more videos for the platform.
“Now, I’m about three years into the content making and I’ve been lucky enough to have over a million and a half followers on TikTok and it’s been fun,” said Dannenbring.
When you scroll through his page, you’ll hear stories from his classroom experiences and conversations with students.
“I think so many people like my content because everyone can relate to school, everyone has been in school, everyone has if you know, they have kids, they have kids in school, and people just know what it’s like to be in school and they understand the weirdness of middle school, you know, what I teach,” said Dannenbring. “People get it, they get that middle schools can be goofy and some of those are funny and I feel like that’s why my content appeals with different people.”
Since posting that three years ago, Dannenbring has not only blown up on social media, but he’s also had speaking engagements at colleges nationwide, gained some acting opportunities and made TV appearances.
“I never thought I would see the positive response that I’ve seen. I mean I’ve got thousands of messages of people saying ‘hey I love your videos, your content is so relatable’ and that’s what I want my content to be, I want my content to be relatable, I want it to be fun,” said Dannenbring.
“The overall response has been super positive. It’s great that Gabe has been able to connect with people from across the nation and I think we have been surprised how people have been so positive and it’s just been really awesome,” said Annie Klumpp, Dannenbring’s fiance.
Dannenbring’s students have inevitably found his social media and he hopes his content will lead as a good example for his students.
“They are at such a malleable stage at life and I want to make sure that I can be a positive role model for young men and young women and to show them like for me on my social media that I can have a large social media following, but I can keep it appropriate,” said Dannenbring.
It’s a passion he hopes only continues to grow and reach more people across the world.
“I have been so lucky to be able to keep giving back to the education profession because of my social media and I want to keep seeing more of that, I want to keep seeing more ability to talk to more universities, go talk to future educators, or talk to current educators, and try to be as motivating as I can and that’s one of the ways I want to keep seeing it grow,” said Dannenbring.
And he encourages anyone who has an interest in content creation to give it a try.
“If you’ve got a full time job and you want to tap into the creative side and start making content, go for it. It’s a lot of time, it’s definitely challenging, it takes some work, but it’s doable, it’s fun. Once you kind of find your stride and your niche it’s really fun,” said Dannenbring.
If you would like to see Dannenring’s videos for yourself you can find him on TikTok under the user name g_unit24.