Sunday, September 9, 2007

Is it appropriate for teachers to have Facebooks or personal websites?

Recently, a friend and I found some Facebook pages and personal blogs of professors on campus. There were some very personal comments and pictures of these people. I know that college professors have different standards and regulations in terms of their relationships with students. But I wonder if I could find any personal pages for teachers from high school or middle school. Class websites and blogs can be very useful tools for students, but do teachers have certain responsibilities when it comes to posting personal information online? Should I get rid of my Facebook when I am a teacher? Is it enough just to remove any very personal information? Where do you draw the line? Should students be able to "friend" me and see what other people have written on my wall? What rules are there in regard to this? Would having appropriate online relationships actually help to foster relationships with students in person? Would they feel more connected to the teacher and see the teacher as a mentor? And again, is that even ethical?

5 comments:

Tim Boylan said...

There is no way that a teacher should "friend" or tell students that they are on facebook. If they do have an account, then it should be locked and not visible to anyone besides friends. Having an account visible to or accessible to students violates the professionalism of the classroom and ruins the relationship between student(s) and teacher. I know that I have pictures, wall posts, and even clubs/events that I would not want my students to see. It is an incredibly unnecessary distraction. Facebook is a nice thing to have in college and apparently high school, but as soon as a person becomes apart of the professional world, a person should behave like a professional--not like a college or high school student.

BasSoc320 said...

I think that this is a very touchy subject. On the one hand, we do not want our students having an eye into our personal lives. We are the teachers and they are the students, and having the students know too much about our personal lives is definitely not professional. On the other hand, however, if we do not post any personal information, would it be okay then? Another thing to consider is whether or not a teacher is friends with all of his or her students. If one or more students feels that he or she is the only one not friends with a particular teacher, I think that the student would probably feel left out. There are even more things to consider, but I'll leave it at that for now. As I said before, I think that this is a very touchy subject.

Leah Nillas said...

Every time you post anything online you are someone agreeing that those you posted are open for public viewing. That is why it is important to think carefully about the nature and the content of any thing you post online. More and more schools and employment agencies are checking social networking websites to do background check on their prospective students or employees. The rule is think carefully before posting any online messages, pictures, videos, etc that you don't normally share with other people. There is less protection of your privacy in the Internet world.

LP619 said...

I defnitely agree with Tim. I don't believe that one must delete his/her facebook after leaving college, but one needs to be mindful of who may be viewing the site. I do not think it is a good idea for teachers to friend their students on facebook because it really serves no purpose. A teacher can simply talk to his/her students and interact with them to give them an insight to his/her life. A blog or message board is also a good way to interact with students. Two summers ago I was teaching at a high school in the city and ALL my students asked me if I had myspace and tried searching for me. Even though I have my myspace severely blocked, it made me nervous to think about students and/or future employers finding me online. Like Tim said, we need to be professional at all times.

sbptchr said...

Personally I dont think it is ok for a teacher to be "friends" with a student because it crosses a line. I think while you are still in classes and in the professor and student role, it can get real touchy on how much interaction there should be. Especially going into a field with children, you do need to be professional at all times and make sure the lines dont get crossed. I think those things are for our personal use and really not for the professors to have access into our personal lives outside the classroom. Now, once we are the professionals, I dont think you have to get rid of your facebook totally, but you have to be very careful to what you are saying and others are reading about you and how they are seeing you as a person.