Teacher’s a Social Media Warning
Having attended the Central Florida Blogging Conference
many areas were discussed: content creation, consistent
posting, monitorizing, Branding, Marketing, and plug-ins.
Another issue that is just as important, but sometimes
overlooked is the content of educational professionals.
I’m an educator of over 20 years in public
education, working in the past with the Florida Department
of Education, NASA, and higher education.
Speaking and presenting at conferences, workshops,
seminars, and other venues sharing my knowledge
about Blogging, Social Media Safety, Bullying/Cyberbullying,
and technology. The summer program Mayor Alvin Brown’s
Learn2Earn Experience allowed me to talk about Social
Media to over 100 high school teens for a week. They shared
their ideas about Social Media good and bad. Educators rarely
have this opportunity and sometimes are placed in difficult
Teacher’s be REAL about your Social Media content.
In the short time since the introduction of Social Media sites like
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other online Social sites, increasing
number of educators; classroom teachers, teacher assistants and even
administrators that have lost their jobs and damaged their
professional reputations because of their Social Media postings
Don’t allow frustration in the classroom, working conditions, location
of your school, and interaction with peers prompt posting inappropriate
content. Remember to focus minds to that of professional educators,
role models, extensions of your school and your school district.
Educators are responsible and accountability for the growth and development
of young minds of diverse cultures, nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds
and genders. Teaching is not a career that a person can jump into; it takes
educational training, professional development refinement, seasoning and
dedication. Because educators influence the direction of youth their expectations
of professional behavior does not stop at the end of the school day.
Educators are held at a higher standard of value and morals so words must be
chosen carefully when engaging in Social Media postings.
Online content of educators has caused unforeseen professional issues from
investigations, suspensions, fines, and termination. The debate for educators
having privacy as individuals; we lose our privacy when working in the public
spotlight in a profession that has tremendous pubic exposure. Educator’s
content is scrutinized even more whether teachers like it or not.
As an educator, blogger, public speaker on Social Media Safety, Bullying/Cyberbullying
and other areas, I have to be careful about my content, making sure it is accurate, validated
by current statistical data from reliable sources and not directed at students, parents
or any specific group harmfully.
The Drum, a Social Media site stated, ”teachers (should) keep their private and
professional lives separate,” and “social media content posted today may be
scrutinized 5 to10 years later.” Teachers remember that anything posted online
will never go away, it will always be located some place, even if Smart Phones are
used to post information.
Simplistically do not share or post any information about any students, families,
and neighborhood in a social media environment even if you think your security or
personal settings will protect you. THEY WILL NOT!!!
The issue of teachers and Social Media has received attention from NPR National
PublicRadio, “Friendly Advice for Teachers, Beware of Facebook.” Comments from
teachers have caused a firestorm from parents, the ACLU on freedom of speech and
Friendly Advice for Teachers
Teachers use school equipment; laptops, tablets, email, etc to post/transmit information,
forgetting that those resources are owned by the school district. The content created is
owned by the school district since it was created and distributed by school board equipment.
Social media is not the place to vent no matter how carefully you word your frustrations.
You never know who could be reading your entries, looking at your photos and videos,
importantly who could be telling others what you said. In the digital age information is never
discarded, it is archived, stored and housed some place.
That information can be obtained through legal means if necessary and used against you in
legal actions. Those in professional positions; education, medicine, law enforcement, etc
must be mindful of what they say in exchanging information. It could be used against you
in the future and has happened in recent court cases against educators.
Posted “Teachers and the Dangers of Social Networking” (2011) , “teaching is a public
profession and it’s a public image issue.” An educator’s private information through social
media is made public for the world to see and potentially share.
Teachers have been given verbal warnings for Facebook comments about students. In the
AP July 12, 2012 a Bradenton, Fla. teacher was issued a verbal warning that could change
because of comments made describing a student as the “evolutionary link between orangutans
and humans” on their Facebook page. The comment was made about the student using the
student’s initials and the teachers Principal was notified. Not only was the teacher verbally
disciplined, but the other teachers involved in the discussion. The parent of the student was
also notified and the parent hired an attorney requesting tougher action against the teachers.
Theses issues escalate when the state Department of Education and the NAACP get involved.
These event and others should be avoided; even if the teacher is cleared their reputation is
compromised which could affect advancement in the educational career. Security settings
on SM sites are secure, but it does not stop someone from copying text, downloading pictures
and video to use as evidence in these cases. Teachers, a Social Media Warning, your content is
not as secure as you think. Be professional at all times your career and reputation depend on it,
what affects you will affect your classroom climate, school environment, and school district
policies and procedures.
More information to support teachers and social media can be found at:
Blogging Content for Teachers
Blogging Content for Teachers
Teachers Watch Your Online Content
Teachers Watch Your Content
Caution for Teachers that Blog and Facebook
Caution for Teachers That Blog
Teacher Fired Over Facebook
Fired Over Facebook
Comparing A Student to an Orangutan
Teachers Under Fire