Students as friends on facebook

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by MathGuy31, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    Nov 13, 2013

    Just curious to what you all think about having friends as students on facebook. I am completely against it while they are still in my class. I think it should only be after they graduate high school and over the age of 18. Even then, it might be a little sketchy to choose. Which I have not yet. I used to work with MIDDLE SCHOOL teachers that would allow students to be their friend. I think that is pushing the line.. Why? If other students are not friends with the teacher, the student who is not friends is left out. Also, I wouldn't want every student knowing everything about me. Also, I think it causes division, students being friends with this teacher and other teachers are not friends. So I can see why some schools completely ban it from teachers using it. :2cents:
     
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  3. BookReader813

    BookReader813 Companion

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    Nov 13, 2013

    I do not agree with teachers and current students being friends on Facebook. To me, that is pushing the boundaries of professionalism. However, two years after I finished my student teaching assignment, one of my former students requested me on Facebook. I added him because I felt the amount of time had passed where it would be appropriate to add him.

    We don't even converse with each other on Facebook. Shows what friends we are! :lol:
     
  4. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    BookReader, I agree and I would do the same as you!! Glad we are on the same page.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I am, but they do not have privileges to view everything I post. Very few people see everything. Students only see classroom photos, school-related posts (snow day, have a good vacation), or gaming posts.

    I know most of their parents, and I know most of them outside of school to some extent. It's a small town.
     
  6. live

    live Companion

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    I would never add a student as a Facebook friend. Not because I share anything inappropriate on Facebook, but because I'm just not comfortable blurring those lines.

    My students--past, current, or future--do or will know of other ways to communicate with me (e-mail, Edmodo, etc.)

    I've heard of teachers getting "teacher Facebooks" meant for keeping in touch with students. I think that's okay, though I wouldn't want the responsibility I feel that comes with (whether real or imagined).
     
  7. MathGuy31

    MathGuy31 Rookie

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    I couldn't agree more with you as well. I thought about doing a "student facebook" site as well but I have worried if things would get out of hand when I'm not looking at the page. So I don't do that either.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I taught HS the past three years and would have students to friend them on Facebook. I always told them that they had to wait until after they graduated HS before I would friend them. I've only had a few actually ask.
     
  9. bison

    bison Habitué

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    There are many thread discussing this at length. I would never do it, even if my students were old enough.
     
  10. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I do not friend current or former students. I always have an email that we can communicate with.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I will accept friend requests after they graduate. I never send friend requests. I get very few because you can't search for me on Facebook. They can only find me through others.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not on facebook.

    But what would be the upside to accepting current students as friends?

    I see nothing but downsides. So for me, the choice would be an easy one.
     
  13. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    It's basically illegal in Louisiana, so I do not. I have created a group for drama club, unrelated to My personal account, but most kids don't use Facebook anymore anyway, so I probably won't use it this year.
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    When students graduate, they can befriend me. I still have connections with some of my original students. Any current student, I maintain a professional distance.
     
  15. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    I have 2 of my former English teachers, 1 of my former guidance counselors and 2 of my former 6th grade teachers on FB. I think we've been friends on FB for 3 years (or somewhere around there), so I had already been out of HS for 7 years at that point.
     
  16. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I teach first grade so it's totally different.

    If I get a friend request from a parent, I accept it.

    If one of those parent's children sends me a request, I generally accept it once I know that the parents are aware their child sent me a request and they've assured me that they monitor their child's online activity.

    I don't post anything on Facebook that I don't want the whole world to see. Nor do I "hide" anything from any person or group. I'm Facebook friends with my school administrators and the mayor of the town where I teach.

    Facebook is not a private journal, it's a public roadside bulletin board. If you treat it as such, you can accept friend requests from anyone you wish.
     
  17. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    I have several former students as friends. They are all in their mid to late 30s, and are truly adults. Several are teachers.
    I would NEVER friend a minor or current student. I don't think I would friend one that wasn't out of college and a working adult.
     
  18. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I teach juniors and seniors.

    My rule has always been to not accept a friend request from a student until the student has graduated.

    I broke my rule a couple of weeks ago. One of my senior students received a terrifying diagnosis. He remains hospitalized, and he will be hospitalized for a long time. I friended him (and his mom) so I could read updates about his illness. It has also allowed me to remain in contact with him and provide support.
     
  19. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I don't friend students or their parents. Once they graduate high school I would but that hasn't happened yet. I do keep in contact with some former students through other social networking sites.
     
  20. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Nov 16, 2013

    It is against our contract to be friends with students not matter if they graduate and are now 30. I was also thinking of Alice's question... I supposed to stay in touch? But then why not email to stay in touch? I think I'll reserve fb to friends and family
     
  21. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I just don't understand the paranoia that teachers have about using social networks with students and parents.

    You think that if you don't interact on social networks with students, parents, and co-workers, that you are safe? Well, I know a guy who posts all kinds of lewd comments on his Facebook page. I'm sure he isn't friends with anyone from work. However, if I wanted to be a real SOB, I could easily show what I see to his co-workers or even parents at his school.

    You don't have to be Facebook friends with someone for them to eventually see your stuff.

    As I said, I don't put anything on Facebook I don't want the whole world to see. That includes parents, students, administrators, and my own grandmother.

    Even if you don't have a Facebook, it doesn't stop you from being tagged in a photo or having some malicious student make a fake profile of you. So you might as well get on Facebook so you can see what people are saying about you.

    Does not being on Facebook or not accepting friend requests from students protect you from being accused of improper behavior? Of course not. Teachers were getting accused of stuff long before Facebook, email, or computers.

    Does accepting a friend request from a student make you more vulnerable to accusations? Unless those accusations are true and you actually deserve to lose your job and do time, I doubt it. You see, on the internet, everybody leaves an electronic fingerprint. An investigator can easily find out exactly what you posted, where you posted it, and when you posted it. They can also find out exactly where you were when you posted it. And the record is complete. Which means that if it's not there, then you didn't post it. It's about as close to being able to prove a negative as you can get.

    In other words, if some student goes to the principal and says you were flirting with her on Facebook, it doesn't matter whether you were Facebook friends or not. All that matters is what you actually posted. And there is complete electronic record of that.

    Social networks are probably the most transparent form of communication invented. What you post is out there for everyone to see. And yet, people on this thread have said that email is more proper than Facebook when communicating with students. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure that every time I communicated with a former student on Facebook, what I wrote showed up on that child's parents page as well. They knew exactly what I wrote, word for word. Had we been using email, that would not have been the case.

    Are there advantages to being Facebook friends with former students? Whenever they post accomplishments in sports, academics, etc., I can "like" those posts. Once, a fifth grader who had struggled a lot in my first grade class posted that she was really nervous about the STAR test. I immediately commented that as long as she did her best, everyone would be proud of her. Within five minutes, her mom and her grandmother "liked" my comment.

    I just don't see the problem with it as long as the teacher used common sense.
     
  22. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I'm friend with several of my old teachers on Facebook.

    I tell my students they can be my Facebook friend when the graduate from HS. Most of them have forgotten about 7th grade by then :lol:
     
  23. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I'm friends with a lot of my students and parents on facebook.

    I don't post anything I wouldn't tell my students in the classroom. I also have lists for the two activities and the class I sponsor so I use it a lot to get out info to the kids and parents.

    I have a twitter. I follow mostly comedians and education stuff as well as a few kids. Tons of kids follow me though but I rarely tweet anything.

    I do have a separate Twitter for one of the activities I sponsor (as well as an Instagram for that activity although I don't have a personal Instagram).

    I agree with pretty much everything Sarge said upthread.

    Plus, I consistently tell my students that if they wouldn't say it in front of their parents or principal or boss, then it shouldn't be on social media. And that's the rules I follow when posting.
     
  24. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Sarge, I don't want the liability. If one of my students posts about smoking pot, I'd be required to turn him in. Even if I never saw that post, I could still be held liable. It happened to a good friend of mine.

    Plus I post a lot about what I'm doing. I don't care if my P sees that I went to a wine tasting event, but I'd rather not have my students know. It will distract them, and they'll want to talk about it.

    This is a VERY different situation for those of us who teach high school.
     
  25. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Wouldn't you face the same liability if you walked by the park and he was smoking pot, and you didn't notice and failed to turn him in? That's the main reason I only accept requests from student's who I'm Facebook friends with one of their parents as well. (I teach first grade, but many of the former students I get friend requests from are in high school.)

    That's true. If my first graders found out I drink wine, all they'd say is "Ooooo Gross. My mom drinks that stuff all the time."
     
  26. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    The park example is different to me. First, it's not likely to happen as I teach in a very small town and the kids know someone is watching. We have one park in our town. Our kids who have been caught are usually caught by our random drug testing. Also, I live 45 minutes so it's unlikely I'll see them lol. I've been there two years and I've seen one student outside of school. It's much more likely I'd see things on Facebook.
     

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