Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Beth2004, Oct 24, 2010.
Oct 24, 2010
I'm not on facebook. And I'm not "friends" with my students, regardless of which context you choose to give the word.
But I do have 2 serious issues with the article:
1. "■That teachers be prohibited from giving out their cell phone number to students..."
When I was coaching forensics, all my kids had my home phone number. If someone woke up on a Saturday morning unable to compete, they called. Otherwise I would have had to hold up the entire team-- or risk leaving a slightly late student behind-- without the information.
■That administrators “periodically conduct Internet searches to see if teachers have posted inappropriate materials online.”
The phrase "inappropriate" is troublesome. I don't like having my picture taken if I'm holding a glass-- of anything. But that's not to say that there's never been such a picture. What's appropriate for me is totally different from what's appropriate for my 14 year old students. As long as what I'm doing is legal, I'm not sure it's up to my boss to deem it inappropriate.
That said, I think too many teachers take WAY too many liberties with the internet. I've seen too many student pictures posted, too many school names spoken or alluded to... many teachers are a lot more willing to risk their careers than I am.
I have the two issues with the cell phone ban -
*one - like Alice, my academic super bowl and chess teams have my cell phone number for the very same reason.
*two - my youngest daughter is presently a junior. I have given out my cell number to her friends, now my students, since their junior high "mall" days to keep track of them in the mall as well as having their numbers for the same reasons. I also require the cell numbers of BF and all the people she rides with. So, I probably have the cell numbers of at least 2/3 of the junior class and many other students cells. They in turn also have mine for the same reasons.
Our district lawyer gave a pd session on one of the first days of school which all teachers attended. We were informed of our new district 'technology guidelines'. We are strongly encouraged to use school phones to contact parents, to keep email messages with parents limited, and to not engage in social networking where our actions could be considered unprofessional. Yeah, it's a gray zone what unprofessional is, but there is case law to back up the firing of teachers whose vacation and 'off duty' photos are on FB and other sites. Even with privacy features engaged, NOTHING on the internet is ever truly private...this has been discussed here many times in terms of sharing student photos, personal info, venting about colleagues/admin/districts/parents...there are teachers who lose jobs over such things. Be fairly warned and guided accordingly. :unsure:
Well, I guess I should add that even though I have never "friended" students on facebook, I still keep everything on my profile completely appropriate. Yes, I have privacy settings so that supposedly only my "friends" can see my pictures, etc, but even if someone is able to see everything, there's nothing I could get into trouble over.
I realize I'm in the minority, but the whole FB thing just doesn't seem worth it to me. People I want to keep in touch with, I keep in touch with via phone or email or snail mail.
I lead a fairly conservative life, but simply don't need the hassle of what could be posted on FB.
The thing is, the problem isn't your average teacher who uses FB to chat with friends and share updates. The problem is the teachers who do "friend" students and those who post seriously inappropriate pictures/status updates. I work with a few who might fall into either (or both) of those categories and those are the people who really need a wake up call.
My own policy is that I do not "friend" current students on facebook. That being said, I do not think it is right for anyone to tell me what I can and cannot have online because I am a teacher. I will be the first to tell you I live a much more boring life than many of my students, nothing on my facebook I would consider the least bit inappropriate, and I have privacy settings very high. I just dont care for the "big brother" idea. That being said, I know several teachers who are facebook friends with their students and I do think that is wrong but its their choice.
As a parent, I would be very concerned about why an adult would choose to share part of his or her personal life with my child to that extent.
That's the way I see it too. Even if the person's page was completely appropriate, I'd wonder why they were friends with students.
I dont' understand why any teacher would cross that line with students. You are their teacher, not their friend. Facebook is for SOCIAL networking. I have a teacher friend who made a SEPARATE fb profile that says Mrs. _____. She ONLY has FORMER students on there and no personal pictures. She isn't very active on that one just on occasion but that still doesn't sit right with me but that's her choice to do that.
I had a hard time going to a student's birthday party last year even though I was reassured it's very casual and laxed down here when it comes to that. Back home that would be a HUGE "no-no".
I actually have a few pending friend requests from former students - all but one I'm fb friends with their parents.
As soon as I got the request, I told the parents about it. They all said it would be fine if I accepted.
I never friend any minor (even family) unless I'm on Fb with their parents as well.
OK, I just had another thought.
If they really wanted to protect children, they left out one very important element: How about requiring teachers to notify parents any time their child attempted to contact them electronically.
I think that would go a long way in actually accomplishing something. I can guarantee you that if a student ever emailed me, the first thing I'm doing is forwarding that email to their parents - even if it's just like "Look at the cute email your son sent me."
I think parents should know whenever their kids are attempting to contact adults.
I was SHOCKED when a few teachers at my school friended some former students (who are now in middle school) and current students who are in the sixth grade. I didn't say anything to these teachers, but I found it very inappropriate and shocking.
We were discussing this at my school last week (pretty much everyone is on facebook and a lot of us are friends with each other).
While a lot of us would be upset if our boss told us we aren't allowed to have a facebook account, it is interesting to learn that there ARE professions out there that do not allow facebook accounts. Police officers are one of them. I guess I never really thought of other professions that didn't like their employees having a facebook account. So far, my school district doesn't seem to mind. Still, I'm just waiting for these few teachers to ruin it for the rest of us.
And Alice, I know you why you see no point in a facebook account. I ONLY got it years and years and years ago when I was still in college. It used to be a university/college thing ONLY. It was MUCH nicer back then. It was owned by someone else and it was just a nice way to talk about classes, stay in touch with classmates, etc. Now, it's become pretty ridiculous. Yet, I still keep it because I love sharing/and seeing pictures of my friends/family from around the world. It also makes it easy to talk to my mom and step- grandmother (who are deaf).
Okay....nobody hurt me...but I totally accepted friend requests from two of my former students. However, I immediately blocked them on everything in my Facebook. I no longer teach at their school or even in their district. In fact, I'm three states away. Is this still wildly inappropriate? Should I delete them entirely? I didn't mean anything weird by it, but now you guys are freaking me out. :unsure:
EXCELLENT! You are right...could be VERY powerful AND as teachers, would be less likely to be looked at as doing something inappropriately (even if as teachers we weren't doing anything wrong) as there would be documentation as to who started what first.
While I see the reasoning behind it, I also do not. If police officers are not allowed then why can't military be banned as well as their families? You would not BELIEVE the dumbest things soldiers AND/OR their wives/girlfriends or even MOTHERS post on there. Example: Deployed to _____, _____ until ________. OR COUNTDOWNS to when they are deployed. MAJOR OPSEC violations.
Not allowing something such as this in a profession borders on violation of personal rights in my opinion. I and everyone else should be able to share pictures with family that is far away. Not everyone has time to email, write letters and phone every single member of their family which includes extended family. Facebook is a nice, streamlined, easy way to keep up with people in your life.
I have several police officer friends on facebook....
Yeah, I guess not all are required to get rid of theirs. I'm sure, with just like some school districts, some don't want their teachers to have them, while others don't care. I guess it just depends. My friend's husband had to get rid of his when we was hired to be a police officer. None of his coworkers are allowed to have one.
I'm in agreement with the wisdom here, but take a different approach.
I do allow my students to friend me on Face Book, but my Face Book is more of a business card account. I rarely post anything on it. When I do post, I keep in mind that I am saying this to my students and to their parents.
It does give me a lot of insight into my student's lives and thoughts as they post everything. I check it daily just to understand what is going on in their lives and I feel it gives me a better understanding of their behavior in my classroom.
Our SRO does the same and busted a gang banger a couple of years ago. He as under court order to stay away from weapons and gang activity, but posted photos of both on his wall after friending our SRO.
How old do you have to be in order to create an account on Facebook?
Old enough to count to whatever the minimum age is. I think it's 13
From Facebooks's statements of rights and responsibilities page:
I think they need to up the age but I guess that's a different topic for a different day.
Nonetheless, my teacher friend whom I mentioned on an earlier post used to teach upper elementary and several students had accounts!!! Those kids's accounts should have been reported.....
All the teachers I know only accept facebook requests from former students in college.
I have a problem with the don't give out your cell phone number to students part on the article. I give my number to my students' parents and if they give it to their children, then it isn't a big deal. I had a student call me for homework help. I don't mind at all.I never had any issues.
I miss being in the classroom.
Once again, I think the whole problem could be solved with one very simple rule:
Teachers report all phone or electronic contact with students to the student's parents.
For example, I'm FB friends with the mom of a girl who was in my class about 6 years ago. The girl no longer goes to our school.
However, if the girl sent me a friend request, the very first thing I would do is PM the mom and tell her.
I would do this for two very important reasons. First of all, to cover myself. But more importantly I would feel it imperative that the mom know that her daughter had attempted online contact with an adult.
I think this is far, far more important than whether or not I ultimately accepted the friend request. Maybe the mom was standing there watching her when she sent it. Hopefully she was.
The thing is that anytime a student contacts a teacher, it should send up a red flag as to who else that student is contacting and the fact that the student has no problem contacting adults.
As to the minimum facebook age, my two cats have facebook pages. They are 3 and 4 respectively. But they both lied about their ages and said they were 13.
Old enough to type or to have a friend type something for you.
Booger lied too. He's 6, but he said he was 15.
Wait......Are those Cat Years or Human Years we're talking?
....or should that be Dog Years????
Let's do dog years, who know's how old a critter with 9 lives is going to be.
Booger's a cat, but he's already been through at least 4-5 lives.
I can see where a lot are coming from with that. On one hand it could cause issues on the other hand, I see where a lot of you are coming from in regards to reaching outside of school to help students.
Instead of someone saying you "can't", I wish they would just say "it's highly suggested that you don't" and then discuss why.
What's interesting is that none of the rules I've seen districts put forth regarding Facebook actually do anything to protect students. If a teacher or anyone else is going to have an inappropriate relationship with students, a "no Facebook" rule for teachers isn't going to stop them.
I think that the only real reason for these rules is cover the districts butt in case of a lawsuit.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons a teacher would choose to be "friends" with a student or former student on FB.
First and foremost is the fact the teacher might actually care about the student (in a non-sexual way) as more than child in the classroom. After finishing my ST last year, I considered creating a teacher FB page so I could accept friend-requests from my former students that I missed after my ST ended. I went to their ball games and other school events and considered them to be more than just a name, face and body filling one of the desks in the room. There are a number of teachers and admins in our district with students on their FB page for this reason.
Secondly, the students might be friends with the teachers kids. Again, several of our teachers have kids that are friends with their students. There is also a good chance the parents went to school together, so they have each other and their kids on their respective FB pages.
Third option is that the teacher may have created an FB page specifically for school contact.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of non-sinister reasons a teacher, admin, volunteer, parent or other adult might consider accepting friend requests from teenagers. While it is prudent to be cautious, it is only fair to realize most adults who accept or send out Friend Requests do not have an ulterior motive.
I have done this for the past 15/16 years without Facebook. I send my kids postcards for birthdays, congrats for their accomplishments in the classroom and outside the classroom, attend functions of all kinds all without Facebook. True story, I sent a former student a congrats postcard for making the Purdue Marching Band (quite a feat since the band try outs are known as Hell Week). When his parents went to visit, guess what was posted on his dorm door? My post card - much more meaningful in my opinion than a post on Facebook. I have students send me thank you cards for sending them birthday post cards. Again, to me more meaningful and I think to them more meaningful.
I don't have a Facebook acct so I don't know everything there is to know about the way Facebook works. But I have been on my daughter's enough to know that I don't want to see the pictures that students post on facebook.
When my daughter gets older and if she ever states that a teacher wants to be "friends" with her on whatever popular social networking site is "it" then, I will tell her NO WAY. I just feel it's not appropriate to be crossing that line. If my daughter was the one requesting friends to one of her teachers AFTER I told her it is not appropriate, she would be grounded!
Oct 25, 2010
I have a facebook.
Only people who can find my profile are people who are friends with me, and people in any network I am in.
However, once I go out into the field again, I will make it 100% private.
First of all, I would never, and no teacher should ever, send an unsolicited friend request to any minor regardless of the circumstances.
But I have a question. What if your daughter wanted to friend a teacher who you knew very well and was on your friends list already - suppose she just wanted to participate in the dialogue between you and that teacher?
That's the dilemma I'm in. I'm friends with a few parents of former students (one works at the school). Their kids have sent me friend requests I've been sitting on for quite some time. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but I really don't want to have an unrelated minor on my facebook list either.
My rule-no one under 21, with 3 exceptions. My nephew, who will be 21 in February, his (now ex) girlfriend who babysits for us (and who lives out of state-and will be 21 in December), and my former interpreting student, because he is deaf and it is a very easy way to communicate since he is going to college several hundred miles away (but he turned 21 last year, so I guess he doesn't count in my exceptions anymore).
I'm gonna be honest, I get kinda irritated when people dog Facebook. It's not the evil entity some people think it is. It's a great way to communicate, stay in touch with people, and frankly, have fun. Yep, I can write a letter or call friends, and I do, but FB is just another way to keep up. It doesn't have to be bad, when managed correctly.
I guess I always feel like I'm doing something bad just because I have a FB and I use it extensively.
My mom teaches middle school and has a few of her students on her FB...but my mom is about as inappropriate as a kitten. She removes people who use profanity, etc., and her posts are rare but kid safe.
Not everyone who friends students on FB are creeps.
Edited to add: She has never friend requested students.