My Quest To Teach

September 10, 2018

Caution for Teachers That Blog In The Digital Age

Blogging for teaches

Blogging for Teachers

 

 

 

 

Caution for Teachers That Blog In The Digital Age
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
#MyQuestToTeach

Many teachers believe they have the absolute First
Amendment right to post anything they want on social
networking sites, including party pix and diatribes about
the boss. After all, they’re on their own time and using
their own resources.
“Social Networking Nightmares” By Mike Simpson
http://www.nea.org/home/38324.htm

Words of caution for teachers that participate in Social Media.
There should be serious consideration on how words are perceived
and interpreted as a professional educator. The ability to communicate
in the heat of frustration has created avenues for educators to be
cautious about what they post and how they are interpreted as
professionals.
Social Media has opened doors that allow communication on digital
platforms that are instant and expansive.
Teachers need to be cautious that the words they use, memes they
post and replies they provide put them into a light of potential
criticism and public scrutiny.

Many variables come into play during the school day when
engaging with students. The elevation of emotions that teachers
display from the joys of students being successful, students struggling
to learn, the growth of social influences that are displaying in classrooms.
Teachers are under stresses, but they must be able to manage their
Social Media posts.

The potential use of technology with inappropriate and unprofessional
comments from teachers using electronic messaging throws great
strains in a career that demand professional behaviors and accountability.
Teachers have implemented the use of online social resources that
allow for connections during the traditional school hours. One resource
Facebook is a social network for connecting with multiple people and
instant communication.

The danger is in the height of emotions instead of teachers using their
training in classroom management, they are using their phones to lash
out and make posts that can cause them to be administratively
disciplined, put on unpaid leave and even loose their teaching certificates.
Teachers should never discuss personal information about their students,
other teachers and even administrators. Teachers should never criticize
educational peers or share political, religious and cultural views that
could hurt their career even when not in school. The perceptions have
the potential to have a career effect and ripple effect across the
educational career.

Professional behavior should be exhibited at all times, teachers are
“called to a higher sense of responsibility” stated by a North Carolina
teacher where several teachers have been fired because of their
Facebook entries about students, parents and even educational peers.
The “content’ of writing causes pause in reflecting about the right to free
speech and the right to post content on social sites. The challenge comes
in question when there is reference to the student’s ability to perform in the
classroom, color of the student, cultural background and academic ability.
Teachers need to understand there is a First Amendment Right addressing
freedom of speech, but how is this presented in the responsibility to be
professional, compassionate and sensitive to the feelings of students and
parents.

Common sense issues are interconnected, teachers should not post things
that are private and confidential about a student. Even if blowing off
steam a wrong wording or TMI (to much information) can lead to privacy
issues of students and families.

Over 25 years of public education as I have experienced , there is an increase
of teachers that express their opinions, emotions, and ideas on digital platforms
that do not think before they post.  What a teacher may think as funny and
harmless can be hurtful and damaging in the present and the future. Words
of wisdom when posting about the classroom; if you feel comfortable saying
it to parents and in public then you should be able to say it in a Blog or on FB.
Technology can break down walls and allow for collaboration, particularly
with parents, the community and with educational peers. Teachers should always
be cautious about their online content especially if it relates to their work with
students.

As I have learned from other’s experiences and mistakes, things in your
personal life can and do relate to your professional life and vice versa.
If you have certain opinions about students and parents it is best not to post
them online. When teachers were fired for their Facebook comments in North
Carolina, Tom Hutton an attorney for the National School Boards Association
stated, “this is a new frontier in education, where technological and social norms
are outpacing law and policy.” Teachers should not be their student’s nor parents
Facebook friends, share Twitter tweets nor should students be mentioned in
personal blogs that may embarrass or demean.

The potential is just too dangerous professionally and personally. School districts
now have policies on digital engagement to protect the district from legal actions,
but not he individual educator or administrator.
All teachers, teacher assistants, administrators, cafeteria workers, custodians and
event school volunteers must be smart, be professional, and be compassionate
of the feelings of others.
Teachers carry power, our words can educate, inspire or they can damage/destroy
hopes, dreams and feelings. It is up to individual teachers to choose how they
want to be remembered or forgotten.

Resources:

Six Ways to Avoid Those Social Media Landmines by Gwyneth Jones
http://neatoday.org/2017/01/23/social-media-tips-for-teachers/

 

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March 15, 2012

“My Bad” Emails, Think Before You Click

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 20:47
Tags: , , ,
Check Emails

Email Safety

“My Bad” Emails, Think Before You Click
 

 

 

 

This blog stems from the result of the events from
an incident in DCPS concerning the questionable
use of email. Teachers, administrators and support
personnel of any school, should understand that
the resources provided are NOT intended for per-
sonal use, but the use for educational
purposes in communication and transferring
of data.

This blog in NO WAY blames, nor accuses anyone
of any actions, just highlights the events from
news stories and Internet links as a teaching
opportunity for others in the field of education.
When using electronic communication any pro-
fessional no matter what field of profession
should be careful, cautions and vigilant in the
use of equipment and resources for commun-
ication in any online environment.

Link to online story….
http://www.scribd.com/doc/83391370/Whitehouse-Elementary-teacher-email

Educational professionals as professionals in
other careers at times do speak before they
think and in some recent cases click before they
think. Teachers have been disciplined to various
degrees because of lack of fore thought in sending
and forwarding emails that seem inappropriate,
insensitive and potentially racially/culturally charged.
As a School Technology Contact  and teacher of
Educational Technology in higher education I
|remind and reinforce for by educational peers and
students the importance of being cautious with
electronic communication.

There has been an incident of a teacher’s possible
suspension for a potentially controversial email.
Any situation that puts an educator, administrator
or other school employee at risk for disciplinary
action, suspension, reprimand or firing is a learning
opportunity for everyone. Students learn from their
mistakes in the classroom so educators must learn
from the mistakes of their professional peers.

A recent story by Topher Sanders; that a teacher
in DCPS maybe suspended for bad judgement and
inappropriate actions in replying/forwarding
an email.The incident relates to a forwarded email
in January (yes January) ridiculing a supposed
Louisiana mother and child for the child having an
unusual name. In the email, the original author
says the mother was upset because her child’s
name is often mispronounced. The email’s contents
have been circulating on the web since at least
2008 (yes 2008). Information on the web never
goes away.

This shows that as in other blogs I’ve written
about the permanency of digital content that
information on the Internet does not go away.
It is always there backed up or housed on a
server or someone body’s computer some place.
Emails, photos, videos, movies, tweets, texts
and so on are stored some place. Words, phrases,
and comments can be misunderstood, misinterpreted
and misquoted when the content is text and audio
in an online environment.

Educators must be careful when posting, for-
warding and replying because THEIR original
intent in the message or their reply may be
misunderstood. Once the Send button is clicked
it is more than “My Bad” it can lead to legal and
professional challenges.  Just as students are
asked during discussions in classroom learning
“is that really what you want to say” or something
similar, can be applied to teachers and electronic
communication.

In the email in question, the email ends with the
phrase “they live among us, they vote, and they
breed.” Worse things have been potentially stated
about groups, but the statement may imply a part-
icular rationality and ideology. Teachers must be
careful that they as professional educators, leaders
of children and community influencers, educator’s
actions just as police, attorneys, doctors and other
professionals in the public eye are scrutinized harder
and closer.

The statement by the DCPS employee as it was
forwarded was “Sounds like some of ours?” The
only person that truly knows the intention of the text
comment was the teacher, but the interpretation
was taken.

There is always room for caution when replying to
or forwarding any electronic communication. In a
personal note I have selected Reply All
instead of Reply only to be told later of my error.
When the Send button is clicked it is too late. That
message cannot be recalled, so teachers,
administrators and others in education be careful,
think before you click.

As a result there is much discussion about the intent
of the forward message. Even when realizing a
mistake it takes more than an apology as can be seen
by this case. When something is interpreted as
inappropriate by others no amount of apology, asking
for leniency, forgiveness and mercy sometimes
will not help.

Teachers as in this case must remember that
email accounts and equipment
are not for personal use, so in the minds of all;
any information can be pulled from a person’s
account when needed. So all digital content can
be found out; logs about web sites visited, when,
how often, and either from work or if a educator or
administrator takes their computer home these can
be identified as well. Computers have web histories,
cookies, cache, favorites, history and other digital
reminders built into web browsers and software.

The potential for reprimands, firing, suspension, and
disciplinary letters in professional folders should be
on the minds of those in education.  Is yourcareer
worth that joke, quick remark or sly comment? Do
you need  your face and your family’s name on the
news because of an online comment about a
student, a student’s family or another teacher?

A teacher needs to make sure of how their actions
are interpreted. If the situation permits advice from
other professionals should be asked that any
communication is not considered intended to ridicule
and denigrate a cultural minority, person, or group.
We live in a time where people especially parents
are very sensitive about their children’s name. Any
type of criticism can be met with legal actions.

Respect should always be shown to parents and
children. Familiarization with a child’s background,
name, parental legalities and more should be
understood, if not ask first..

Techer’s work together to make sure children are
successful, so teachers, administrators,  and other
school personnel be mindful of the responsibility
as a role model and mentor. We do not have the
leasurly to let our guards down in our high profile
careers. Technology can be a vital tool, but is can
also be a curse and bring back past mistakes. Be
cautious, be educated and be aware.

Teachers and Blogging
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/400553/william-jackson/2011-04-19/teachers-and-blogging

Caution for your Digital Content
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/400553/william-jackson/2012-01-03/teachers-and-social-media-2012

Read more at Jacksonville.com:
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-03-14/story/duval-teachers-suspension-racist-email-back-play#ixzz1p7MS689T
topher.sanders@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4169

 

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