Students Tweeting About Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Moogeeg, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Oct 6, 2015

    One of my coworkers from last year searched her name on Twitter and found a number of very rude tweets about her from students. She has a pretty unique name and it was very easy for her to find them. She ended up getting quite paranoid and couldn't stop searching the site to see what kids had posted about her (good or bad). I have since encountered several other teachers who have discovered that it is very easy to search the site to see what is being said and occasionally check.

    I personally avoid the site altogether and do not even let myself fall into the trap of checking, but have done so before.

    What do you all think about this? At what point should students be disciplined for what they post? What is and is not appropriate? Are any of you "guilty" of searching social media for comments about you/your classes as well?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 6, 2015

    If this was between students, it would be considered cyberbullying by the school, even if it took place off school grounds. It could be worth mentioning to administration.
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    My first reaction was- eh, let them blow off steam. I certainly don't always speak nicely about my students.

    But after I read cat's response I can definitely see this going "cyber bullying".
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    It sort of depends on what they are saying, too. Some things don't matter. Others are more serious.

    Kid on their own page saying that they don't like my class or I'm mean . . . eh, no biggie. They're kids. And we are all people. Not all of us are going to hit it off.

    Years ago we had a student make a fake MySpace page using a teacher's information. The page was horrible. They said all kinds of things about the teacher working with kids because he liked having sex with little boys. That's a whole other thing.
     
  6. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Yes- it is tough to know the difference between harmless teenage complaining and when it crosses the line. So far, what I have seen just teeters on that line.
     
  7. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    I never really thought too much of it either until I heard stories of more serious situations. Some people can be vicious!

    You make a great point in mentioning that not all kids are going to like us/our classes. Your second point about the fake profile is more what concerns me. False allegations/rumors that could destroy a teacher's career. I always wonder if it is worth mentioning to kids on a broad level that they need to watch what they say about teachers as well.
     
  8. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Oct 7, 2015

    It should be brought to admin's attention. If the statements are directed at that teacher as a person, it could certainly be considered cyberbullying.

    Last year a student went on a tirade on Facebook about me -- personal attacks, lots of swearing and name-calling (she was angry about something so trivial that I can't even remember what it was:confused:). The principal showed me a screenshot which he had taken after hearing about the post from a student. The school (appropriately, in my opinion) suspended the student for a few days. HOWEVER, the parents went to the superintendent and threatened to sue the school if the suspension wasn't lifted -- and the superintendent agreed! (This was after the superintendent had spoken about her support for me. :huh:) So the student was allowed back in school and soon after dropped my class, although I made a sincere effort not to treat her any differently. As icing on the cake, she made a follow-up post about how she was "right" and the school couldn't control her.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 7, 2015

    It may or may not be considered cyberbullying, depending upon the OP's district Internet usage policies as well as the state law.

    As suggested by others, alert admin...
     
  10. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    We recently had a student suspended for wanting a teacher dead in a tweet. In the child's defense, the teacher berated her in class and bad mouthed another teacher over something that the child did not control. The child was posting out of frustration. The parents were understanding on the school's stance and when the child returned to school, they had her apologize to her other teachers for missing class.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My last name's semi-common, so I couldn't find anything about myself on Twitter (it was all about an athlete that has my last name).

    I agree that if it's just blowing off steam, let it go. If it's making false accusations, that's defamation and illegal. I'm sorry to hear about your situation Myrisophilist. That's crazy that the superintendent would just let her out of suspension and cave to the parents.
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    My students are on Twitter constantly. I encourage the discussion. Sometimes we'll hashtag it if there's a particular topic. I get criticism and praise both. We live in the 21st century. Our students are talking about us a lot, just as we talk about them. Maybe we're not as public about it, but social media is here to stay and it will get more public before it gets less. If my students are blowing off steam in conversation with each other, that's none of my business unless I detect a specific threat. I use TwitterWalls in my classroom and I encourage questions and conversations on there, even from students who are absent but who can access the conversation from home. Do any of us really think our students love everything we say or do? I welcome the technology that gives me insight so I can deal, or ignore, the way my name is bandied about. Defamation is another thing, if that's what it honestly is. But my students appreciate the venues and seldom misuse them. Personally, I love Twitter. It's a wonderful forum for posting class information, extra credit, etc. Our official school website is down more than it's up, and Twitter is perfect for open communication.
     
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  13. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I don't like or use social media (OK, I'm old). To me, it is similar to graffiti....anything that can't or won't be said face to face is inappropriate, juvenile or cowardly.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Lol. Okay I finally found a post referencing me, from a student I taught my first year. He was complaining about having an F in my class. Amusing.
     
  15. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 10, 2015

    It is the 21st century, my colleagues. Put away your stick and patch of mud and embrace it.
     
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  16. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Oct 11, 2015

    I twatch all the time. :p I even warn my students because they like to advertise their twitter and instagram handles on my board. I warn them that if they write it, I'm going to go look. Most of the time, they very quickly erase it.

    I search my name occasionally, just for a laugh. I think that if you're thin-skinned, it's best to avoid it. I do NOT think students should get in trouble for what they write unless it crosses the line into threatening. A couple years ago, a student wrote "I guess Ms. HistoryVA doesn't know snitches get stitches" because I had called home on her. I did pull her into the hallway and have a discussion about the lack of privacy online, but that was it. Now, if a student posts a selfie that they sneakily took in my classroom, I'll put it in my next PowerPoint, just to call them out. The kids think its hilarious.

    Overall, I agree with Mamacita, though. It's pretty weak to go running to tattle because a kid said something mean about you in a forum that they didn't expect you to see. Threats are one thing, "Ms. HistoryVA needs to stop giving this annoying hw with her Dumbo-earred, no-neck-having a#@" (true tweet :p) is another.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Kind of taking a side-line here. I've been noticing this kind of attitude about 'snitching' a lot more recently lately. Students expect me to be sympathetic when they complain about somebody being a 'snitch'.

    Is this something that has always been around in teaching, because I find it kind of troublesome. I understand that constant snitching for tiny things when they should learn to work out their own problems is a problem, but snitching when something is truly an issue or when a rule is broken is sometimes key to stopping an issue before it develops, or maintaining a good classroom.

    How would you deal with it, if a kid complains to you that someone is a 'such a snitch'?
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2015

    Ha! There's another Mr. (insert not-so-common last name) that's mentioned quite a bit on Twitter. Apparently, he gives far too much homework. Other than that, though, there's nothing questionable written about him.
     
  19. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Well, since I teach high school, I'm pretty tough on stupid statements like that. I tell them it's a stupid attitude to have and to get over it. When they complain that I'M a snitch, I just remind them that it's my JOB to keep people informed. Most of them get that, even if they don't like it.

    Unfortunately, I teach in a rough area where "i don't snitch" covers everything from "Mike cheated" to "I know who shot that girl last night... but I ain't no snitch." I try to ask them how they would feel if it was THEIR iphone that had been stolen, but they just say "it's my own fault for letting it get jacked." There's a real lack of empathy sometimes.
     
  20. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Oct 12, 2015

    Luckily, this isn't a situation that is currently happening to me- however, unfortunately, it is happening occasionally to a friend in another district. I wouldn't say that anything she has found so far is worth reporting, but is probably worth a serious discussion with kids about what they're putting out there on the internet.
    I have a common name as well. I like it- keeps me from looking:)
    I have seen quite a few teachers at my school take advantage of students' use of Twitter in the classroom. It will be interesting to see how social media continues to evolve in the next few years and how our students will use the sites/apps. It seems like Twitter has been one of the few platforms that has lasted quite awhile and will probably be here to stay.
    Too funny!No news is good news:)
    True!
    :)
     
  21. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    That is really the point that I think students don't understand (or just don't care). People cannot fathom the idea of not sharing every thought they have in a day, good or bad. Absolutely everything in life seems to deserve a play-by-play on Twitter. I have to say, I am only a couple of years older than my students (early 20's) and notice a huge change in cell phone culture in just the six or so years I have been out of high school. Twitter came out midway through my high school career and was used by classmates, but it wasn't a central forum. Now, it seems that all thoughts MUST be shared, regardless of any collateral damage along the way. To be fair, of course there are also people my age who use technology in exactly the same fashion.
     
  22. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Oct 12, 2015

    Seems to me that one can choose to "embrace" the good things about the 21st century, not the things that one feels is inappropriate. And those "old" people helped to develop that technology that you seem to be lost without, using that stick and patch of mud...
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    That's a bummer. I haven't had anyone complain of me being a snitch, because as you said, that's my job, but I'm disheartened when I see that lack of empathy for other students who call out actions and behavior that are rightfully called out.
     
  24. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

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    Oct 12, 2015

    Have to agree with you here. I couldn't find a way to respond to this properly. There is definitely a point when we should stop and reflect on all of the progress we have made and if we are using it properly or for the best intended purpose. Sometimes I feel like we just have technology just for the sake of technology and don't truly think about why we do what we do.

    Technology is definitely a beautiful thing, but we need to be able to function without it and look at it critically as well.

    Quite frankly, it is a little scary to me to think about how this may continue to progress in our society and schools.
     

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