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If parents are going to trust you with their children, then your life needs to reflect the values and standards of the community in which you work. What you do in private is your business, however, the Internet is not a private place (no matter the precautions you may take)and teachers should be held accountable for information they post there.
As a teacher, I feel that anything I do that has an impact on the classroom is subject to scrutiny. Therefore, yes, my MySpace page (if I still had it) is open to being looked at by parents, staff and students.
What I would like more discussion on is the subject of teachers looking at their students' MySpace pages. Some people feel that teachers should NEVER look at their students' MySpace pages, even if they are not marked as private. I say that since MySpace is a social network, then any page that is open to public viewing can be seen by anyone, even if the viewer is a teacher and the page belongs to a student. If the student doesn't want his/her teachers looking at the page, the student should take some responsibility and mark it as private.
Be responsible. As a teacher of 12 and 13 year olds, I believe that teachers should not be acting the same way as their students. Kids post unbelievable pictures and content without thinking about the consequences. I do not have any social networking sites, just email. Really teachers, do you need to post your life online while you keep in touch with colleagues and friends? Just use your email. If you have a family and like to share your photos online with those you have chosen to allow access to your site, then fine no real problem there. To display party photos, topless photos, or any other suggestive content is just not acceptable. Grow up, you are teachers! Teachers provide the positive role models that many kids are lacking. When we give in and act as the kids do, try too hard to be their friends, or just are teaching for all the wrong reasons, then we lower the standard for the profession. Be smart. Keep your junk off the web. Not saying you can't still drink or party, just be smart. Don't share drinking stories with students, don't talk about your sex life with students, and don’t post pictures of your drinking or sex life on the internet! Our job is to show youth that we can follow the rules of a civilized society. That we can be active democratic citizens. I am only 30 years old, not some old humdrum who doesn't know how young people act or what they talk about in school or on the streets. I have had a few beers with my friends while in university, gone out and partied on many an occasion in the past, but never, ever would we have considered taking pictures of anything, and then posting our party online to share with our "friends". Bottom line, grow up, act responsible, and teach your kids how to accept responsibility by modeling responsible behavior yourself.
About five years before I became a teacher, I had a small part in a movie where I was in bed with a man and woman and my breasts were exposed there was no touching involved. I am worried that if someone finds this out I will be fired. Do you think I am making too much out of this? It was a B movie after all and no one may ever see it, some advice would be greatly appreciated.
I just got an email from my union to completely delete my pages. (facebook and myspace) I deleted them because my union told me to do so. I do not agree with it, but I will abide. I did not have anything alarming on the pages, but I felt that even having a myspace page set to private looks suspicious. It seems like, hmmm why is she having it on private? Trying to hide something? I am not affected without it, I am truly too busy with my job to care or to worry about it.
I had a MySpace. Being a younger teacher, it was an awesome way to keep in contact with friends from college who were also beginning teachers. One day, I had some frustration in the classroom and decided to make a blog post about it. I'm not sure what happened after that - a set of parents went over my head (as in, they didn't talk to me about it) to my principal and demand that I be fired. (I'm not even sure how they saw my page in the first place due to the privacy settings.) They even took it to the Board of Education. Thankfully I was not fired, but I had to completely remove my site (severing contact with many friends/colleagues) and also do a public self reflection journal for an entire semester. I now have a "no student policy" on any of the social networks; it's just not worth the hassle, even though I'd like to show them how to use the sites responsibly.
If teachers have a social networking site, it is their responsibility to make sure that the content of the site is according to what they would like their students to know about them.
I am all for privacy and the non-invasion of privacy, however, once something is posted on the web, it is no longer private, but very public.
One of the problems I see with the new online communities that are cropping up is that teachers are able to show so much more of their private life to the public.
Another issue with which I foresee problems is content teachers post before they become teachers. This content is now part of the public domain, and as such is likely to be recycled and viewed for the rest of our lives. Producing a social networking site, with the advent of various aggregating websites, has become much like getting a tattoo. Sure, you can use some sophisticated and frustrating processes to erase your digital footprint on the web, but it will be difficult.
So, do we hold teachers accountable for their actions before they become teachers? What activities are socially acceptable to show, and what activities are not?
I had an innocent video up on my personal blog that showed me using my laptop with my feet while holding my sleeping son in my arms. Unfortunately I wasn't wearing a shirt at the time. One of my colleagues at work pointed out that this might not be considered appropriate so I removed the video.
Who defines the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not? Some things are obvious, others less so.
This is a hard one! I don't know that teachers should NOT be a part of any social websites, but should definitely take the precautions of not posting pictures and/or using a pseudonym. But then again it's a safety practice one should use anyway.
Should they be punished? How far is a school district willing to go to punish a teacher on a social website? Embarrassing to the school district? Probably. But where does one draw the line as to what is embarrassing enough? What if one saw a teacher in an adult bookstore? A little tipsy (or a lot) at a bar or night club?
Culture has a lot to do with what is acceptable in any society. What's tolerated in one place is not tolerated in another. Look at the tolerance differences between inner-city schools and small rural schools.
After a lot of babbling on my part, I'd say the answer to the poll question is clear as mud!
YES YES YES-
The teaching profession is like none other. Teachers should be held accountable to a high standard. We are entitled to a social life, but we also know, especially as educators, how sensitive and easily influenced children can be. We also know that a child will interpret what he sees and what he sees may not be what was intended. We influence lives, we create futures, and we may be the only person someone can talk to. What if you have a child who wants to talk to you about the pressure of drinking/drugs and then sees a picture of you on the internet doing the very thing he needs someone to talk to about? As teachers we have to think about everything we do inside and outside of school. I don't think it can be any different.