George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teachers "Friending" Students on Facebook

Teachers "Friending" Students on Facebook

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What are your thoughts on teachers who friend current students on Facebook? I wrote a blog about it. Go check it out and let me know your thoughts.

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Ruchita Parat's picture
Ruchita Parat
US Hindi Foundation organizes interactive and exciting summer camps for kid

Friendship with students on facebook can't help you and your students to solve problems.
It may create a new problems. In facebook, a small thing become a big issue.
I will recommend that teachers should not add their students as friends. Sometimes, students do some naughty type of things just to show their anger towards their teachers whom they hate.

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

I think you can if you follow specific guidelines and apply it to all students -- no exceptions.

For example, I know one teacher that only friends their students on FB after they graduate the school he teaches at. And he also has a FB account that he uses professionally to ensure that he never posts anything inappropriate that a former student might see.

Jim Rothwell's picture
Jim Rothwell
Physics and Astronomy Teacher, Lancaster Catholic High School

I have a policy where I will not friend a student until they graduate and request the friend connection. I do maintain an open group called S.T.E.M. Nuggets where I post science, engineering, and math news articles that the mainstream media doesn't cover - things like Discovery News, PhysOrg, Wired, several blogs I follow, etc. As an open group, students, parents, other faculty, the administration, personal friends, family, and friends of those people are all able to join if they want the posts to appear in their news feed or visit any time they like for a periodic drive-by. I do maintain moderator privileges, and remove anything that is inappropriate. The URL is if you want to see how I have it set up. Comments and questions welcome.

I also treat my personal page and this open group as if everyone in the world can see what is posted on them, and am careful about what I put up on social media. For the same reason that I always teach with my door at least cracked open if not open all the way... anyone can stand outside my door without me knowing they are there and hear what is happening in my room. Its security for me, really.

Elizabeth Davidge's picture
Elizabeth Davidge
11th and 12th grade English teaching in Newark , Ca

I agree with Jim Rothwell's approach. I follow similar but not even as stringent guidelines and have had only good experiences. I find the ability to talk with my classes as a group, post pictures, give encouragement and praise good class discussions builds a feeling of community. And, because I do not let current students on my personal FB page, and spend most of my time on that page I am not spending a great deal of time tooling around where my students are and finding out inadvertently what mischief they are into. Not to mention, teens areprimarliy posting on Twitter and Instagram these days anyway.

Salomon Carlos Leija's picture

At first I did not think it was a good idea to add my kids as friends. Then we went on a marine biology school trip and our relationship grew deeper, more human, less student/teacher. I now add those that were part of the excursion. In fact, I consistently tell my students that I am not an authority, that I just happen to be occupy the role of teacher. First and foremost, we are human. Also... my facebook page is public anyway as I try to push for transparency. :D

Anthony Mizzi's picture
Anthony Mizzi
High School English Teacher from NYC

Teachers should NEVER "friend" current students on FB or other social networks. I make it a personal rule to friend former students only after they graduated and THEY have to send the friend request to me, I do not send any to them.

Facebook pages are not private and shuold never be treated as such. Too often people post inappropriate information and that just leads you open for trouble.

Michael Ward's picture
Michael Ward
High School Teacher/Dean NYC

Anthony, I agree with you to a point but feel there is still an inherent danger!! Given the current climate, I do not even have a FB career and my family's future is too important! My private life is just that...PRIVATE! If you friend former students, who is to say that they are not still in touch with current students. Policy should be obvious as should our role as educators. Students have a hard enough time understanding boundaries and I truly feel we are not helping when we friend them on social media sites. it is great to see former students when they return to visit but keeping up with them in a FB manner is too far!

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