Facebook + Teachers = Failing Grade

15 years after social media exploded onto the internet scene resulting in professional scandals aplenty, teachers still have to be warned about what they post on Facebook, including very personal pics.  From what I’ve heard it is somehow possible to hack into someone’s private conversations with their friends and find out all sorts of juicy information.

What baffles me is who is stupid enough to post a picture of herself in lingerie, a bikini, or flat-on-your-face drunk at a costume party dressed in a tutu and carrying a wand?  Yet people do and then later they wonder why they are on suspension and at risk of losing their jobs (or actually do lose their jobs).  Watch Bikini-wearing teacher fired.

Social media provides artillery from student to teacher: an American student and her friends went onto a teacher’s MySpace page and typed comments about the teacher being a “lesbian,” and stating they “hated her“. When the school board found out, the comments were removed and the student was reprimanded but the damage was done: the school community knew about the postings and many people had seen them.  Read 16 Indian students suspended after rude Facebook comments on teacher

I use Facebook.  I use it very carefully.  There are no pics of me on my page.  There are pics of my family (decent, respectable) but no pics of me.  Period.  My profile information is not entirely true either (obviously I won’t stay which information is false). I use it to stay in touch with high school friends and indeed I have reunited with a number of them.  Facebook has valid uses.

However educators are hardly the only people who need to use social meda with care: many people are fired in different industries for posting seemingly innocuous comments.  Watch Teenager fired for commenting on Facebook at work how she was bored.  Not only did this woman post disparaging comments about her job, she did so during company time when she was supposed to be working.  Um, really now.

Teachers are public figures, like it or not.  To choose to become an educator is to choose to forever live your life under intense social scrutiny. That doesn’t sound fun.  It doesn’t sound fair.  But following the unwritten rule pays off when teachers remain within ethical boundaries, avoiding legal trouble, providing role models to children and most importantly, staying employed.Watch Superintendent reacts to Teacher Facebook Pages.

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