Facebook Friends After I Leave?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ACardAttack, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Apr 24, 2010

    Okay,
    Friday was my last day of student teaching and some of my students asked if I was on facebook, I told them yes and that I wouldnt add them until they graduate (which wouldnt be for a couple years). The biggest reason is I am in the running for a position at the school and while I highly doubt anything bad would ever come from it, just to be safe my policy is not friends on there until they have graduated from school. What about if I dont get the position? I dont think there should be much of a problem, I dont see really any conflict of interests possible situations.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    I would stick to your plan about friends after graduation. What if another position comes up? It wouldn't look good for you to be on that level with students.
     
  4. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Good point, I dont know why I didnt think about the future.
     
  5. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    My rule is no one under 21. Not because of me being afraid they are going to see what I'm doing-I do very little. Mostly it's because I don't need to know what kids are doing.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The only kids that are on my facebook are related to me. I also don't have any work friends there. I use fb only to keep up with far flung family. But, that's just me.
     
  7. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I am FB friends with two or three former students, but that is only because they baby sit for me and I know their parents. FB is the easiest way to set up babysitting gigs; way easier than trying to call them, and I don't really like to text.

    Otherwise, my policy is no kids.
     
  8. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I wouldn't put anyone on my FB who I've even remotely professionally connected to. I post pictures of being out with friends, and while we don't exactly get plastered and dance on tables, there often are pics with drinks on the table...I wouldn't want that being manipulated to make me look bad.
     
  9. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I teach high school seniors and my rule is also after they graduate. They soon find out that I lead a very boring life. I am a typical mother and most of my pictures are of my children and the events in their life. I actually only keep a very few on the list that I read everyday and these are kids that I taught 5 or 6 years ago and are actually adults now.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    In the words of Nancy Reagan:

    JUST SAY NO!!!

    What's the upside to having them as friends? I can see lots of downsides, but no reason you would choose to include them in your social circle.
     
  11. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    :agreed:
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Keep your personal life just that: personal.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Then take them off!!! What's the upside to keeping them there???
     
  14. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Sometimes that is a lot easier said than done. My students are the same age as my children right now and I live in a fairly small town. My students often know what I am doing because they are often invited to the same parties or weddings as my family. I have had many of my students spend the night at my house with my children. We were at a wedding today and 3 of my students were there. They saw me drink at the wedding so if they see my Facebook page or pictures it does not bother me.
     
  15. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    The upside is to share memories with my friends. My FB is blocked to everyone except who I invite in. My personal life is my own. If you were to search for my name on FB, you wouldn't even find me. And I don't have professional acquaintances as friends. I draw a very strong line.
     
  16. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Well, that's understandable. But that's also different than having them as friends on FB.
     
  17. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I live in a small town, and have children that are quite spread out in their ages. So next year I will have one in HS, one in MS and one in 1st grade. I will be at all the events for all the schools and I will see TONS of people that I know from my work life. I can totally see the problem with keeping a line between social and work, I live that every day. That said, I don't usually add my kids' friends to the fb page, I do add their parents (as they are my workmates in the other settings). The teens I have on fb are staff, babysitters and so on. The parents I have are concession stand workers with me, team moms, PTA mom's at the other schools, car poolers and so on.

    I don't have an opinion on adding the kids-you could always take them off in the event you have position. Just, as always in a small town, be careful-all news travels fast (it doesn't take fb in a small town).
     
  18. JoshCHT

    JoshCHT Rookie

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    I agree with Alice.

    I wouldn't add students or former students. I don't think I'd add co-workers either. Not that I have to worry about it since I don't have a job anyways. :unsure: :lol:

    I only have family, friends, and former classmates on my facebook.
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    My rule is after they graduate!
     
  20. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    The up side is seeing how some of my former students who I had a connection with are doing with their lives. Its not like we'd be chatting and posting on each others walls all the time. But Im gonna keep it till past their graduation date even if I dont get the position cause I might get one the year after that.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Is there no way for them to keep in contact with you other than facebook? They can't stop by, drop you a letter, leave a message on your voice mail, text or email you?
     
  22. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I only use my FB for family. It's awkward to have to ignore friend requests from coworkers but I have no reason to want them having access to my FB. Students having access would be a definite "no" for me.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    If you MUST keep in touch, an alternative would be to create a separate account solely for your teacher persona. Either they will love the attention paid to them or they'll get bored and defriend.
     
  24. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    It's funny. As a parent, I don't think I would want my child befriending other adults that aren't family members of mine without me knowing about it. To me, it opens up the air of improrpiety that may or may not exist. It's one thing for a current teacher to have something up and use it as a classroom tool, and even then they better be informing me that they are doing this. It's quite another to have someone temporarily in a classroom continue to keep my child's confidence. While I know you are doing it because you care about students, it doesn't necessarily look good. I wouldn't want your intentions to be open to misinterpretations. If you must, open one that clearly defines you as a teacher and use only that persona. Even then, I would be leary of doing so without the parent's permission. Even though these are teenagers, they are still minors and parents can still be upset by not being notified. I would be one of those parents.

    It is easy to believe that teenagers don't need permission from their parents and that you are operating in a different arena than I am as an elementary teacher but as a mother of a 14 year old, I can tell you that my child is still my baby and I still want to know these things and I expect the adults in his life to be professional and above board about things and realize that I have the right to accept or reject situations because he is still a minor in my care.
     
  25. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I am not at all active on my FB account, folks don't post to my wall and I don't post updates as to what I'm doing. It's more of a profile page and way to contac me page.

    I do let students friend me on FB and have found it to be a great way to get a message to them. Especially when they are out for an extended period.

    I also DO want to know what is going on in their lives and it has given me a lot better understanding of my students. A kid I thought I knew was an active gang member with a past record. We never would have known if he hadn't posted pictures on his FB and he was eventually busted for gang related activities.

    The list goes on and on. Kids who's parents are splitting up, kids fighting depression, kids wanting off drugs, etc.

    It is something that must be done carefully and professionally, but it has been helpful to me.

    P.S. - CutnGlue, I completely agree with you and have friended a couple of my parents on FB as well. THAT was quite eye opening with one. She's basically in the date of week club, sleeps around quite a bit, and smokes weed on occassion. Her teen daughter is well aware of it and she updates her activities on FB frequently.
     
  26. Sagette

    Sagette Companion

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    ITA! Personally, I wouldn't ever friend my students even after graduation just because facebook for me is a way to stay connected to my out of town family.
     
  27. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I never request anyone under 21, but I will accept them if they request me. However, I place them in a special "restricted" friend group. They cannot see my wall posts, look at most of my photos/videos, or view my personal information. I hide them from my feed, so I don't watch what they do online.
     
  28. active_mind

    active_mind New Member

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    Generally, I think there are more upsides in having former graduated students as Facebook friends than downsides. I think, in most cases, if a former student is requesting your friendship on Facebook, they're doing so because you had a positive impact in their life. From the perspective of the student, what's the appeal of adding a teacher you were indifferent to, or despised?

    This said, having former students as Facebook friends can be positive for both the teacher and the student. Positive for the teacher in that it opens up the door for an uncandid evaluation of their teaching from the people that matter most to them: their students. Positive for the student in that the student can solicit advice, encouragement, or help from an adult they saw as a positive force in their life.

    Obviously not every case will be smiles and Hallmark cards, but it shouldn't be too difficult to discern when a Facebook friendship with a former student needs to be severed.

    I just think, on average, a lot of good can come out of these friendships. Thoreau said it best! "Seek to go beyond the conventional dichotomy of teacher and student ... learn with and from the student."

    Allowing for a Facebook friendship goes well beyond the conventional dichotomy he speaks of, allowing you to learn with and from them. There are downsides, but they are outweighed tenfold by the upsides.
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I did my student teaching during the first half of the year and had a number of my students ask if I had an FB page. I told them I did, but would not tell them my first name. They eventually found it on their own, of course, and some of them asked if they could "Friend Request" me. I told them I was flattered, but I did not accept Requests from students for professional reasons.

    I've considered about creating a second FB page that was strictly school-related, but after giving it a lot of thought, I've decided the potential downsides just aren't worth the risk.

    I do wish I could stay in touch with my former students more easily, but I'm just not willing to risk any possible damage to my job search because somebody felt my FB contact was inappropriate.
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I would consider phone calls, voice mails, text messages or emails from a student to be even more inappropriate than FB, because those communications are private and cannot be monitored. At least on FB, the parents could see for themselves what is being posted between their children and the teaher/former teacher.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As can any potential employer.

    "So Mr C, been to any wild parties this weekend?? I hear you're quite the partier!!"

    Based in fact or not, it leaves an impression.
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Which is why my FB page is deliberately very bland and boring. :D
     
  33. active_mind

    active_mind New Member

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    So, the remedy for this is... delete the comment! Not to mention, how will the employer know that the comment being left is from a former student?

    They'd have to do quite a bit of jumpin' to get to that conclusion. The title of "Mr. C" is hardly incriminating.
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Well, if you're applying for a teaching job-- not too much of a jump considering that we're on A to Z-- I think it's a fairly logical conclusion.

    Besides, my point isn't about decoding that it came from a former student; one would hope that adult friends wouldn't sabotage you that way.

    Do what you want with your careers. I act as though anything and everything posted online will turn up in a search, and prefer that it be complimentary. I don't post pictures of myself or my kids, I don't say anything negative about my school, our kids, or their parents. If I need to vent, I do it via email to close friends.
     
  35. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The key is do the parents know your child has contacted you via any of these modalities? As a parent, I expect to be notified that you will be using ANY modality and for what purpose.

    As for emails, all of my children's emails are monitored. We have all accounts on our iTouch. They are aware that their accounts are there and are periodically monitored. That's how I found out my son opened up internet accounts without asking and that's how I found out my middle child was "dating" at 10 years old. (That was from the reason why he needs to sign up for facebook).

    Most of the time I don't monitor their actual email content, though I reserve the right to do so. I mostly monitor types of emails. What are they using the internet for? Is there inappropriate things coming to their boxes? Are they signing up for stuff they shouldn't?

    Most of the time, I use it to teach about internet safety. Recently we had a discussion about chain mail (don't believe what you read, annoys people, people often forget to blind-copy so their email is floating out there, spyware/adware).

    My boys are not chatters so I don't usually have to think in terms of relational privacy here but they do need internet monitoring and to be taught about cyber rules/safety.
     
  36. active_mind

    active_mind New Member

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    I just fail to see all the downsides you said there was to Facebook friending a former graduated student.

    It seems the only downside you're proposing is an unlikely scenario. You're assuming that a student will post something on your Facebook that a potential employer will use against you. Do you realize all that has to come together for such a circumstance to even come about?

    The comment would have to be posted at precisely the same time a potential employer is looking at your Facebook. So, in theory, if 1 out of 100 comments on a teacher's Facebook is incriminating, and the chances of a potential employer looking at your Facebook at that exact moment are even higher (we'll say 1 in 10000), you're looking at a 1 in 1,000,000 chance such a situation ever really comes up. Obviously my numbers are subjective, but you can assume the numbers are high.

    You see what I'm saying?
     
  37. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    As I said before, my FB page is very boring. I don't post updates (or anything else, for that matter). I mainly use it to find old friends. So any comment posted by someone else on my Wall would likely stay visible for 2-4 weeks (if not more).

    The main potential downside (IMO) is a teacher or former teacher having social contact with a student outside of the classroom. Unless that former student is over the age of 21, the teacher is putting themselves in a position for their "relationship" with the student to be seriously questioned. Even if it is perfectly innocent, the perception of the relationship will have a larger impact.

    We live in an age when an employer can fire an employee for anything "unbecoming" on their FB page, or can even fire an employee because somebody ELSE posted a pic on THEIR FB page that happened to include the employee. Because of this, there is simply no good reason (again, in my own opinion) to put yourself in any position that could possibly damage your career.
     
  38. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    I use my fb to keep in touch with family and friends. I do not have any coworkers or former students on it. I like to keep my professional life separate from my personal life. My fb page is definitely part of my personal life.
     
  39. active_mind

    active_mind New Member

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    can you explain a bit more the "over the age of 21" part of your statement, please? i don't quite understand it. why can't the former student be 18+? 18 is the age recognized by the U.S. as the age one becomes a legal adult. is the 21+ thing simply because most people graduate college by that point?

    now, i understand that we live in an age when an employer can fire an employee for pretty much anything they dislike on someone's facebook page. which leads me to ask: is this moral?

    i think the question of whether or not employers should be able to use your social networking accounts in decision making processes needs to be addressed. i don't want to redirect this topic, so if people think we could have a good discussion about this, i will make a new topic about it.

    i think this question is so significant because if you think employers have the moral imperative to peruse your social networking accounts in order to make decisions, then you'll obviously be of the opinion that you should not befriend former graduated students. however, if you don't think they do, you will most likely be of the opinion that teachers have nothing to worry about befriending former students on facebook.
     
  40. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    on myspace I have two accounts. One I set up specifically because I expected students to look for me there. Its squeaky clean and I hope prevents them from looking me up elsewhere to impersonate someone I should know to add a friends request (thats far easier to do with me than most people since I'm the only person with my name on google)
     
  41. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Let's just say there have been enough articles and situations posted on this forum alone that shows that the "unlikely" event does happen. People do get fired over seemingly innocous stuff on FB. Moral or not, it happens. That's enough for me to err on the side of caution. We've had threads about the ethic components but the fact is employers and potential employers are watching whether we agree with it or not. Don't be fooled into thinking it is unlikely to happen. It does happen. Granted there are certain measures you can take to decrease the chances but that doesn't preclude the idea of it happening because based on articles and posts on here, it is something worthy of considering from all angles.
     

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