<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d30878775\x26blogName\x3dWhy+Do+You+Ask?\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dLIGHT\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://ydouask.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://ydouask.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-3194811367467951108', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why Teachers Should NOT 'Friend' Students


I just wrote the most-read post I've ever had, called Why Teacher Should "Friend" Students Online.  I have had over 3000 readers, 17 comments, nearly 100 retweets, and one very sad direct message in Facebook from a spouse of a former middle school teacher who had an inappropriate relationship with a student that was propelled through an online opportunity.

That's a big deal for me.  Not that I'm looking for a big readership, but that the issue has some very passionate conversation, that apparently is ready to be discussed in practical ways instead of theoretical/philosophical terms.

I really appreciate Miguel Guhlin's RT and his follow-up post filled with data - Safety Trumps Citizenship.  It is something very much needed for the conversation.

So here's my response to all of this.

There are situations in which teachers should not friend students online:

  1. If you truly believe that your responsibility to your students ends when the buses pull away from the building, you should not friend students online.  You are correct, you are no longer obligated to your students, and since you do not get paid for your online interactions, you should not friend students online.
  2. If your "personal life" needs to remain secret you should not friend students online.  For those teachers who spend their nights and weekends in behavior that would not provide a good example to students please refrain from influencing impressionable students with your pictures of the beer-drinking gang at the sports bar or tailgating party. Just remember, your friends will have cameras and your picture will eventually find its way on their facebook page, and you will be searchable by your students anyway.
  3. If you have to even ponder the question of if you should consider friending students online, you are not ready to friend students online.  You still have doubts about yourself with students in a relaxed environment, and you need to protect yourself and your students from the situations that may arise during a give-and-take conversation.
  4. If you are afraid of losing your job, don't friend students online.  For nearly all of us, we have to have an income, and if your school has a policy of staying away from online networks, then stay away from them, until your school catches up or you find a different place of employment.
  5. If you know deep down that you might be tempted to have an inapproriate relationship with a student online, then do not friend students online.  You will only hurt yourself, your students, your family, and the profession of teachers.  As a matter of fact, please leave the education sector immediately.
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, et. al. are not the problem.  People are the problem. To blame pedophilia and abuse on teachers may be politically correct right now, but we are not all looking to harm children.  The overwhelming majority of us do care about the children, and not for some political, economic, or other kind of gain or fame.

The online communities provide an opportunity for interaction for people. I have heard parents and teachers say they keep their kids in the house today because it is too unsafe outside for them to play.  Isolating our children saddens me, but I fully understand.

All I know is that the students I teach are "crying out" for adult attention, supervision, and care. If I can provide that, if you can provide that, then I will.

To paraphrase MLK, Jr.'s quote - "You have not begun to live until you have found something worth dying for" - I say "Until you are willing to do something that seems so wrong, to so many, perhaps you haven't done anything right.

Posted via email from Murry's World


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home