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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