students as fb friends

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by HeatherY, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    I'm a substitute and a coach. I received friend requests from my students on the team. I usually don't feel it's appropriate to add students as fb friends, though I know others who do. What do you think? Am I over-thinking this?
     
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  3. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Everyone is going to tell you "absolutely not."

    I won't.

    However, there are several things you need to consider.

    First is the appearance of playing favorites. If you approve one friend request from any student, then you are pretty much obligated to approve all friend requests from any student.

    Next is the exposure of YOU to information that you may be obligated to report. This is probably the most compelling reason to not accept a friend request from a minor. If they post something that you are legally obligated to report, and you miss it, you could get into trouble.

    A way around this is to only accept friend requests from students with whom you are also friends with their parents or guardians and those parents or guardians are Facebook friends with the kid who has sent you the friend request. It that's confusing it means if Suzie from third period history sends you a FB request, you will only accept it if you get a friend request from Suzie's parents and only if Suzie's parents are Facebook friends with Suzie. I have this policy for any and all minors on Facebook, even relatives and neighbors.

    But, in keeping with my first point, that means you must have the same policy for all the kids who send you friend requests. That means you could eventually end of with a lot of Facebook friends who could make your life difficult based on what you post on Facebook. Which brings me to my third point.

    Finally is how you, yourself, use Facebook. If you use it as a forum for personal drama, workplace venting, and/or ranting about politics or religion, then it's generally a bad idea to be Facebook friends with anyone on the "customer" side of work - parents or students The same is true if you like to post stories about drunken escapades from the past, present, or future. Also, keep in mind the behavior of your other FB friends. Nobody will see what they post on their walls, but they can see the comments those people make to your posts.

    My own policy is that I don't accept friend requests from current students (I generally don't get any because I teach first grade.) I will accept a request from a parent, and a former student if at least one of their parents are friends with both me and the former student. And I'm generally careful what I post and most of my FB friends are well behaved.
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I would never do it. Students are not my friends, they are my students.
     
  5. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I have former students and parents of former students on my fb only if they have graduated from the school, and in the case of students, graduated high school. No parents or students that are still currently in my school.
     
  6. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    My policy is that I'll accept friend requests from students once they move on from my school. Unfortunately for my kids I ended up moving from their middle school to the high school so now I won't accept until they graduate. I have friend requests from kids that have been sitting unanswered for three years :lol:
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I never friend my students. First of all, there may be some things you post or some views you hold that you don't want them knowing.

    Other than that, it's mostly because I made the mistake of friending them in the past, and now I have a bunch of 14-15 year olds posting up really stupid teeny type images and posts (swag this, Justin Bieber that, etc.), sending me billions of game requests, etc. It's quite annoying.

    I would wait until they graduate from High School.
     
  8. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Good policy! But correct me if I'm wrong: if somebody sends you a friend request, I understand that if you don't decline it, they can view your page until you do.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I always tell my students that they can friend me when they graduate.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Not me!

    I've been on Facebook for a long time. (I'm too old to have joined when it was just for college students, but I joined as soon as it was public.)

    With all of the privacy settings that FB has, you can really control what people see.

    I will not request students as friends. I will accept their request if they initiate contact. They immediately go into a "special" group that does not see my status updates or most of my pictures. I don't talk to them through messages. Basically I play some games with them, and I'll post a status they can view sometimes. Things like "Let's have a great first day of school" or "Enjoy your snow day!"

    I never post anything that I wouldn't be willing to say in front of anyone anyway, but I just don't want to let them in on every aspect of my life. I also hide them from my news feed because I don't want to know everything they do. If I do happen to see a status (they slip through on my iPod a lot) that they post and it's inappropriate--cursing, threats, etc.--I immediately delete them from my friends list.

    "Friends" is not a really good way to refer to them anyway. Most of the people on my friends list are not people I would consider friends. I've got people I know from high school, elementary school, middle school, college, grad school, workshops, church, my neighborhood . . . all kinds of people. I have former students in their late 30's. One person who is on my friends list used to be one of my middle school students. Later we became co-workers, and now we really are friends.

    As long as I know the person sending me the request, I accept it. I have maybe 4 different friend groups, so I immediately put that person in a category, depending on what I want the person to see on my profile.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Don't do it!
     
  12. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    I would say it's not a good idea. I personally tell students that once they've graduated, I will happily accept their friend requests. Until then it's just a disaster waiting to happen. I don't want to see that much of their personal lives, and I certainly do not want them to see mine!
     
  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I have lots of former students who have tracked me down, but no current students or kids who are still in high school.
     
  14. Hobnobkitkat

    Hobnobkitkat New Member

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    My basic rule is that I only friend students after they are no longer my students (which basically means after they have graduated). The exception is that I do some of my teaching part-time at a very small home-schooling academy. I have accepted friend requests from some of those students because I am also friends with their parents, spend time in their homes etc.
     
  15. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I've friended a large number of students and their parents. I hadn't planned on it but I was of course friends with my niece and her bff because her bff is practically my niece. But then the issue of favoritism came up (as a previous poster noted).

    I don't post a lot on facebook. Most of the stuff I do post is silly little things (that's stuff that's available to all). I don't put up a lot of pictures.

    I do have a ton of lists: stu-co, academic team, the class I sponsor and each class that I have this year. I include parents on the class I sponsor and the individual classes.

    So if a book report is due in English I, I post to that list that book report is due next week and just the English I kids and their parents can see it.

    Most of the stuff I post is school or activity related and goes out to specific lists. I posted at a ball game about stu co needing money for t-shirts and 10 minutes later a mom walked over and gave me the money because she saw it on facebook.

    And like a previous poster, I never request, I only accept.
     
  16. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS 7th grade ELA SDI in Texas

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    With all the privacy mishaps (user-error as well as FB-error), I wouldn't chance it. It is just not worth the risk (losing my job!).
     
  17. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS 7th grade ELA SDI in Texas

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    Facebook Friend Request

    I do not understand this to be true. No one should be able to see a page unless they have your permission. If you haven't accepted them, you haven't granted permission. And, if you haven't declined them, then you haven't given them permission, either.
     
  18. Cicero

    Cicero Companion

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    :yeahthat:

    Also, I have a few facebook friends who are former students from last year during my student teaching. They sent me the requests after I was done at the school, and I was selective in accepting them. Now I have my privacy settings so that you cannot even find me -- even if we have mutual friends. I figure... if I want to be friends with someone I will seek them out.

    With those former students, I have them on the "acquaintance" setting so that they cannot see everything I post if I choose it to be hidden from acquaintances. However, I'm not really a scandelous type so there isn't much to hide on my facebook.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I think it's the other way around.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Last year when I was teaching middle school, one of my students was able to find me on FB (despite my privacy settings). They looked up another teacher at my site and found me through her FB page. However, no one can send me a friend request unless you're a friend of one of my existing friends. Therefore, the student couldn't send me a friend request.

    I make it very clear to students that I will not (under any circumstances) add them as a friend on FB. Yes--they are my students and I love them very much, but they're not my friends.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I have issues with students wanting me to add them on their Steam accounts (computer games), or join their Minecraft servers (again video games).

    I do play all of the same games as them, but I agreed to join a student's MC server after he graduated, and when I did, it was quite awkward.

    I regard myself as a pretty good roleplayer, and my students are around the beginning stages, and they're at that age when they were starting to notice each other, so while I'd come on to play the game, I frequently dropped in on conversations that I'd prefer not to hear, or really poor roleplaying.
     
  22. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I've never added students. I've gotten plenty of requests because my daughter attended my school and some of her friends would send them. I still won't add them now that they're older and in middle school, because the only children I have as friends are my relatives.
     
  23. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    I've had the same issue since they found out I play games. Most of my students seem to prefer Xbox so I just telling them I'm a Sony girl and they get so annoyed they change topics.

    I did have one kid buy a 3 months of XBox live credit that he tried to give me so I could play with him. I had to politely decline.
     
  24. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I don't accept friend requests from current students. If a student has graduated, and sends me one, I will normally accept it. I have never initiated a friend request to a current or former student, though.
     
  25. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    My opinion is no way! Better safe than sorry.
     
  26. Kate N

    Kate N Rookie

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    No Friends til Graduation

    Our school system has a no friend policy for active students. I am a theater director and have lots of graduates that give me friend requests. I will accept some of them after graduation

    Do you really want to see all of the high school drama that they put online? If you are their teacher you become responsible!
     
  27. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Being friends with students goes against everything I believe in and against our school policy. However there is one student who is getting released tomorrow. (from our lock up). I'm very worried about him, I think something is going to happen to him, he's in a gang. (he's been worried himself, and actually wanted to stay in longer, but changed his mind. He was going to get into a fight yesterday just so he can get in trouble and stay for 30 more days, but then didn't do it).

    Would it be ok if I created a completely new FB name just so I know he's ok (we'd be friends on FB, but no one else would know - I don't think he'd tell anyone, but I would also do it where it couldn't be traced back to me). I'm not trying to do anything inappropriate, or even talk on the phone or see him, I just want to know he's ok. Would that be ok? (he would no longer be a student here)
     
  28. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I would say not to take the risk. Nothing's ever truly anonymous online, and what if he ends up coming back to lock-up?
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I wouldn't. Keeping a relationship (even an online one) with a student 'that no one else would know' invites trouble.
     
  30. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    I work at a cyber school where it's encouraged to have a FB account. So you can form a separate FB account for professional purposes only. That's what I do. Makes it much easier to separate what is professional and what is only okay for a more personal, social account.

    If you're not sure or don't know a student AND their family that well, never add them to your personal FB account, at least not until after the student graduates.
     
  31. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Yes, you guys are right. I guess it's not worth the risk. Even though when intentions are good, things can go bad or they can look bad, so it's not worth it.
     
  32. Mdsilva

    Mdsilva New Member

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    I will say that I have 3 facebook pages. One that is for lifelong friends and family, one for a group of stepmom friends and then one that I am friends with co-workers and students. I rarely if ever go on my "teacher" one. The students get to feel cool that they are friends with a teacher and I don't have to worry that they will see something from my end I don't want them to. They are fully aware of this too. I work for a small private school and relationship wise it is a different environment. My other two fb pages are fully private and one you can't even find through the search engine. I check often just to make sure since I do not link any of them together.
     
  33. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Some of my high school teachers said that they would friend students after graduation, but many of my classmates didn't like the idea of friending teachers anyway.
     
  34. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    Why bother going through Facebook? As long as it's not against school policy, just give him your school e-mail address so he can check in with you and stay in contact. He'll know you care and you can keep in touch with him while also protecting yourself since (at least in my district) school e-mail is public record. Should any questions or concerns about your contact with him arise, there's record of what was said and your willingness to use that means of contact shows you had good intentions and nothing to hide.
     
  35. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    That's sounds right; I could do that, because I'd have nothing to hide. But I already decided earlier this week that I won't have any contact with him.

    Yesterday was the last day I saw him; he's going home Wed, and I'll be at a different school next week. I told him that I care about him deeply, not just me, but other teachers as well. And that I will be worried about him, and hope that he'll stay safe. And that's all that he needs to keep in mind, we don't need to talk. Yes, it'd be better if I knew for sure he was ok, but that can't happen. He understood, and it was actually a very nice good-bye. I finally told him, that he knows I don't want him to do anything bad, anything that would harm others or himself, or that would get him in trouble. So whenever he's thinking about it, I want him to remember our conversation, and hear my voice saying 'don't do it'.
     
  36. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    Adding students to a FB account can be good, because in some cases, it's easier to learn more about students and they will reveal things online that they may have not otherwise. As a teacher, we have to be careful not to reveal those kind of things outright to students though.

    I think if it's acceptable to be FB friends with a student at your school/district, it is okay to use this mechanism as one "tool" to learn more about your students to help them succeed academically and maybe even socially. It is definitely a fine line, and you could be asking for a lot more work if you discover a situation that you must handle in some manner. These days, people will sue for the dumbest things, and even if you can get out of these situations easily, sometimes the hassle is not worth the trouble.

    I think someone who really wants to be a good quality teacher though, if you refuse to have FB friends only because of the potential work you could get and not because you are not good socially, technologically, or are afraid of the repercussions of certain actions, then shame on you! Only you truly would know the answer to this about yourself of course.

    In the long run, it is a way to form relationship building, especially at an online school.
     
  37. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I say no.

    I tell my current students they can friend me after HS graduation.

    I am friends with a former teacher of mine of FB... I had her for 6 years in school, and I love her dearly. But I'm in my 30s. I think we can handle FB at this point in our lives :)
     
  38. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    I have one student who actually asked me to consider adding her with my personal account once she graduated. I just told her that I would consider it.

    This student had helped completely quell a situation where a student was badly behaving and even trying to influence other students to complain about me and not do their work.

    A few months later, I had a situation arise as a "real test" where I had a talk with the grandmother about the student's progress from a C or D student to an A+ in the course. The grandmother told me she wanted to have her granddaughter write a very positive letter about me as a result of the confidence I built in her. She even wanted to become an elementary teacher because of me!


    A few months later, I requested the student to scan me a copy if she could and mentioned that her grandmother had mentioned such a letter. She showed interest in composing one, but to this day, she has not indicated or scanned in such a letter. For her to make that kind of letter and be graduated could have been a turning point for me to add her to a personal FB account, but this unreliability has really built that wall up for me.

    Do you think a situation like this would've warranted this kind of add had it not been for the lackadaisicalness of the recommendation letter? Or should this kind of add be more based on creating in-person relationships with the families (or when the students are more established and have been keep in contact diligently)?

    To play it safe, I know there should be years and changes in my life and the other person's life that would deem it okay. I guess if you have any sense of uncertainty or uncomfortableness, don't do it.
     
  39. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    Sorry to want to post so many in one thread, but it seemed related enough and I really wanted to know.

    I have a student who "adores" me so much he wanted to add my FB account right away. However, when I look at his profile, there is so little information it's almost as if it doesn't really matter that much that he added me to begin with.

    It is his first year in a cyber school, and his last year of school, and "against" his family's and "friends' " wishes, felt that he could get more out of a cyber school at this point in his life. His family is concerned that he is ruining a good thing that he had going on at his previous brick & mortar school. Some of his friends are concerned that colleges won't take his cyber experience seriously. I told him that I did feel that colleges might question him about what he got out of the experience and that it might be more about how he learned from the opportunities given to him rather than about the school he came from. (For instance, a student who says that they got by by getting as many retakes as they could and another student who says that cyber worked great for them because my advanced learning needs could be met better would make a huge difference.)

    We already connected because we both love competitive chess. He is not a competitive player, probably does not have a lot of money despite living in a nice district. Yet, he beat me with skill despite my 13+ years of experience. He is taking 5 AP classes, wrestles, and helps run a chess club through a community center. I believe he said he also works part time somewhere too.

    I do sense a good sense of trust building, and I feel lucky to even be in contact with such a person who is so motivated and so capable to do so many things like that. However, I've only known the student for a month so far. Any other suggestions to help continue such a relationship but to keep it professional would be helpful. Thank you.
     

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