Social Media and Teachers in 2012
Don’t allow frustration in the classroom prompt you to
post inappropriate content online in 2012.
As teachers begin to make the transition from holiday
relaxation spent with family and friends and back to the
business of educational professional at their respective
schools, they should remember to reposition and refocus
their minds to that of professional educators.
This transition for many that are experienced educators is
second nature, but for new teachers it takes adjusting back
to the rigors of responsibility and accountability being
teachers of young minds. Teaching is not something that
a person can just jump into, it takes proper educational
training, professional development refinement, seasoning
There are adjustments, modifications and changes to make
sure the educational climate is conducive to learning.
Distractions in the learning environment are held at a
minimum as much as possible and outside personal matters
are kept away from the classroom.
That being said, teachers should be mindful of their
online content that consists of text, photos and video.
Online content can present a distraction that maybe
unseen and cause unforeseen professional ramifications.
The continued debate as educators is privacy as
individuals, but in the field of education in many ways
we loose our privacy when working in the public spotlight
in a profession that has great exposure.
Working with children automatically puts us in the spotlight
and with the advancement of interactivity in Social Media,
growth in Social Networks, and integration of Web 3.0
protocols(tools) online content is scrutinized even more
whether teachers like it or not.
In any social media situation educators should be careful of
what is said about students and their families. Educators cannot
afford to be their student’s friends in the classroom and on social
media because of the potential of misunderstood content that is
posted or that may be posted by other adults/friends/family members.
Posted on the web site The Drum it is stated about teachers and
students that, ”teachers (should) keep their private and professional
lives separate.” Increased access to social media has created a
hyper-sensitivity to information and the message it presents about
educational staff, teachers, administrators and included custodial
staff and cafeteria staff. Online information has ramification for
years. As I have discussed in past presentations with teachers the
way you present yourself online in social media today may be
scrutinized in 5 to10 years.
A teacher’s level of perception should include how to conduct oneself
online is a component of media literacy – the ability to think critically
about messages received through television, newspapers, books or
online. Educators use multiple media types to teach with and communicate
with, but our involvement for the most part is the educational access.
Students have a more social behavior, this may create conflicts in
the intent and purpose of communication and sharing information.
Discussing school activities, procedures, rituals and routines are
common place in dialogue that teachers share, but when discussions
are directed to student behaviors it becomes a issue of student privacy.
All teachers should remember that anything posted online will never
go away, it will always be located some place, even if the use of
Smart Phones is used to transmit or post information. Simplistically
do not share or post any information about any student in a social
media environment even if you think your security or personal
settings will protect you. THEY WILL NOT!!!
This would seem to be a No Brainer, but with confidentiality
laws on information sharing, beyond the obvious facts that
some information could be embarrassing to the student and
family there are other relevant facts about students. Student’s
personal lives are affected dramatically by their parents or
guardians ability to provide for them, homeless is increasing,
medical issues are present, custody issues are involved during
divorce or adoptions, and from several previous experiences
there are families that are in protective custody. Professional
educators are not always privy to this information so caution,
common sense, good judgment along with professionalism is
always suggested. Make sure that information posted is not out
of frustration, aggravation and argumentation.
Transitioning back to school will bring some frustration, anxiety
and apprehension. Social media is not the place to vent to online.
You never know who could be reading your entries, looking at
your photos and videos, importantly who could be telling others
what you said. In the digital age information is never discarded,
it is archived, stored and housed some place. That is why those
in professional positions as education, medicine, law enforcement,
etc must be mindful of what and where we vent or exchange
information. It could be used against you in the future and has
happened in recent court cases against educators.
On the student side of free speech; Freedom of speech cases have
been in favor of students; In a groundbreaking free speech case in
the age of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and
MySpace, the ACLU of Florida received a favorable decision in
a lawsuit filed in 2008 on behalf of a high school student against her
former principal and teacher at a High School. In the ruling, a United
States Magistrate Judge denied the Principal’s motion to dismiss the
student’s complaint, allowing the lawsuit against the teacher, principal
and school board to move forward.
The student’s lawsuit allowed her to post unfavorable words against
the teacher on social media sites because they were viewed as,
“off-campus, non-violent expression of her opinion about a teacher,
posted on the Internet, is protected speech.”
Teachers do not have free speech support in some cases because
our work involves minor children and their families. Even if a court
case is won concerning freedom of speech and online postings, this
sometimes destroys or damages the teacher’s reputation as a professional
educators because their past is brought forward into the public eye.
This is not something any teacher, administrator, staff member would
want told to the world. The type of information they access on their
personal time that may influence or inhibit their professional duties.
Posted on Teachers and the Dangers of Social Networking (2011)
a reminder that, "teaching is a public profession and it's a public
image issue." An educators private information through social media
is made public.
As we teach our students, education will empower us to make intelligent
decisions that affects our lives. Please use this information to empower
and protect yourself as teachers.
More information to support teachers and social media can be found at:
Blogging Content for Teachers
Caution for Teachers that Blog and Facebook
Teachers and Blogging