Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Teacher safety in Social Media

“Teachers are connected with other teachers and the community.”
That’s what the Department of Public Instruction standards say. When these standards came into practice, I don’t think our DPI was thinking of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. Technology has changed a lot in the time period I like to call Decade 2.0.

When our country expanded toward the west and communities built one-room schoolhouses, teachers often had to chop firewood, stoke the stove, and clean the room before the students could arrive to learn. Many contracts put restrictions on teachers’ social lives and behavior outside of school, prohibiting dancing, dating, and drinking of alcohol.
While we no longer have to stoke the fires, we still have to live up to a high standard of behavior at school and outside of school. Today’s teachers have to guard not only their professional reputations, but their personal reputations as well.

According to a recent presentation, teachers can play it safer by using common sense and following these Do/ Don’t tips.
• Do limit access to Facebook pages by using a restrictive private setting.
• Do check employer policies – then follow them.
• Do monitor your sites and remove comments that might be inappropriate or reflect poorly on you.
• Do not post photographs of you, yourself, or your friends engaging in illegal or potentially inappropriate behavior. Okay, bunnies, behave in front of the camera.
• Do not presume that an anonymous post provides protection. Anonymous posts can be traced.
• Do not blog about job duties, colleagues, supervisors, or students.
In the spirit of teaching, I end with a top three style summary:

Top Three Ways to Protect Your Reputation in an Online World
3. Minimize Risk
2. Know and follow employer policies.
1. Use common sense.
Gee, maybe I could use this post as the required essay to get staff development credit. What do you think?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Liberty Rose said...

Daisy,
While I believe all you say to be true and wise, the rebellious part of me resents that teachers are so vulnerable to "cause for dismissal" just for being human. I don't mean any of the illegal stuff you mentioned, but by how "confidential" all things school are supposed to be. I think these standards are good and necessary when it comes to our students, but I believe when the districts expect us to hold that rule to any conflict (with another teacher, an administrator, or with the methodologies and standards we are supposed to practice) it borders on Big Brother territory. We are public servants, and as such need to be allowed to professionally and candidly inform the public we serve.
A real ponderance, no?

2/25/2010 8:40 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, but more importantly, our STUDENTS need to learn these lessons! Somehow I don't see our generation being as stupid and shameless.

2/25/2010 9:10 AM  

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