Sunday, June 20, 2010

Social Networking: Teachers and Students

This question came up on facebook.  "Correct me if i am wrong, but we are not supposed to be facebook friends with any student, whether we teach them or not. i have had a lot of rising 9th graders want to be my friend!"

Here is the link to the WS/FCS Board Policy on preferred mediums of communication that exist for teachers, school administrators and all other employees to communicate with students rather than the use of social networking sites.{1160}&softpage=PL_frame

The main point is:  "The Board strongly recommended that teachers, school administrators and all other employees not communicate directly with students or list WS/FCS students as “Friends” on personally administered pages of social networking sites, unless the student is the employee’s child, grandchild, sibling, cousin, niece or nephew. The Board of Education reserves the right to limit the mediums of interaction and communication between a teacher and student in the event the communication between the teacher and student warrant such."

It does say "recommend" that means you can not be fired for simply communicating, but the problem is the slippery slope that exists when communication starts on social networks that include your friends who do not necessarily think of your job as a teacher and the things that might say or post pictures of you doing :(

 However, other renowned educators feel quite differently than our school system.  In fact there are principals out there that actually encourage their teachers to friend students on Facebook!  Read more about that here:

Finally, here are some articles that have been written on the topic:
(there was a suggestion on here for making a group page that would allow you to communicate with students on a very limited platform--like a fan page)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing one of my many posts about the importance of adults being in the worlds of students and vice versa. Students need us as role models, advisers, and protectors. We must act that way. When caring adults are in the worlds of children online or off everyone benefits.

    I have student friends on Facebook. I have professional friends on Facebook. I know everything on Facebook is public and it provides educators like me, Chris Lehmann, Eric Sheninger and the rest to show what it means to look like a caring role model in the lives of students.

    If someone young or old is inappropriate on my Facebook page I delete their comment and provide a learning opportunity for the friend.

    I've had a few such inappropriate comments early on. We learned, moved on and today, I rarely have to engage in such lessons with friends.

    Do we really want to scare educators and advise them against connecting with students in all methods available? Is this really something we think they can't handle? Thank goodness I'm an educator surrounded by others whose influence I would value in the lives of students.