Tuesday, January 25, 2011

professionalism and the internet

(pre-view of things to come)

Today discussion topic: Professional behavior and the internet.
As a teacher reading this post on the internet I bet you have pondered aspects of professional behavior and Internet use.

We are good about keeping students faces and last names off our blogs.
Some people keep their locations vague, some invited their student's to read their blogs.
Some people do not discusses their classrooms beyond the lessons they teach.
I have chosen to discuss aspects of my teaching life beyond the lessons I present. As more people read my blog sometimes I hesitant to discuss my teaching life. I want to carefully protect the privacy of my co-workers and the identity of my school. Yet, I think it is important for teachers to be able to speak openly about the joys AND frustrations of teaching so that we can support each other and problem solve.

So with that in mind I am curious about several things:
Do you have facebook or other social network account?
If so do you share that with your co-workers (are you online "friends" with them)
Do you allow your students access to your facebook page?
Have you ever searched for videos of your school on youtube?
Do you allow students to have electronics out in your classroom

And now the story that goes with this post.
At lunch today I am asked if I have seen, "the video," on facebook. "No, what video?" I ask. (Note: while I have facebook I refuse to friend anyone from my school; staff or student)
I am informed that last week, while a middle school teacher was out and had a sub, that a video was made. A student took out their cell phone and videotaped themselves running around the classroom, taping some other students messing around, wrestling on the floor, other students sitting in their chairs looking baffled and the sub leaning against the counter not reacting.

I feel the student was disrespectful to the sub and should not have made the video.
I have no clue what the situation with the sub was so I have no comment on that.
I'm surprised the student put the video on facebook, isn't it obvious that that is a great way to get into trouble.
BUT wait... Another teacher at school is "friends" with some students and had seen the video on the student's pages. THEN that teacher re-posted the video to her OWN facebook page with a note saying that the video showed how hard it was to work at our school. That teacher is facebook friends with a bunch of other teachers at the school who of course saw the video and now it is the talk of the school
It was a bad choice for the 13 year old to make and post the video. But I am shocked that an adult would re-post that video on the Internet, especially as the video shows student faces and lists our school name with the video.

To me that was not a professional choice regarding use of the Internet. How the student will be disciplined and if anything will be said to the teacher remains to be seen.

What do you think? Was it ok for the teacher to re post that video? What are the rules of being a teacher on the Internet in this modern age? Did I overstep a line by even discussing this incident on the Internet?...


  1. Hmmm. Interesting. And Wow.
    Hopefully the student will be disciplined, a very big something will be said to the teacher, and the video will be immediately be taken down.
    Sounds like some serious underlying problems are going on here. Sad to say, but perhaps the incident will be sufficiently embarrassing to your school administrators to shock them out of the dark ages and get them up and into the classrooms on a regular basis. Our principals walk through all rooms several times a day. They are interested in what we are doing and it keeps everyone on track.
    I think it's okay to discuss these things as long as the identity of individuals involved is not revealed or readily discerned. Posting images of other peoples minor children without written permission is another thing entirely. Sounds like a law suit in the making.
    It sounds like many problems lead to this level of frustration on the teacher's part. Hopefully the incident will lead to a conversation and some resolution.

  2. Wow, incredible. I can't believe the teacher reposted the video, very poor judgement. I do not share any of my facebook or other internet accounts with co-workers and definetley not students. It is not allowed. I also do not post faces or names of students.
    Our principals have no interest in the fine arts (other than band)and so I never see them. It would take something like this to get their attention.

  3. A new teacher in our district posted something on a social networking site, with a slightly derogatory comment about his students. It wasn't long before he ended up defending himself to the school board, and there's a good possibility he'll be looking for a job next year. So sad.
    We need to be VERY CAREFUL. I am on facebook, but only joined last summer to see my son's photos he was posting from South Africa. I think the format is basically pretty dopey, and I rarely look at it except to keep up with my son. I'm amazed at the teachers who "friend" students in the school, and post personal stuff that shouldn't be out there for the world to see.

  4. I have not and will not "friend" a student on facebook. I am friends with co-workers. I have to admit that I joke every once in awhile about something funny that happened at school. I would never put a student's name to any comment. I am proud to say that all the co-workers I am "friends" with on the facebook never mention kids names or talk about students in a negative way. I could believe that a student did that. Some students are immature and don't see that there could be repercussions. I know that administrators have a hard time navigating what can be handled at school if bullying happened on the internet. Some parents think that the schools are responsible for that. I am also shocked that the teacher posted it to her page. She must hate her job...

  5. I once worked at a school where a fifth grader made a video in his/her (I can't remember which) classroom and then posted it to youtube. Once the school found out (because kids are SO great at keeping these sorts of things quiet), the student was suspended for violating school policy regarding videos, privacy and the internet. Seems to me, if this video had students in it, and the teacher shared it as well, he/she is probably still lucky to have a job. Assuming the school has policies on this sort of thing.

  6. So far there have been zero concequences for either the teacher or for the student who made the video. I am told they are too busy to deal with it right now. I am very afraid for the next time I need to have a sub....:/
    I worry the lack of admin respons tells the kids that it is ok to do this type of stuff when subs are around!

  7. Pretty much all the teachers at my school are on facebook. We love looking at pics of each others kids and such. I will only friend a student if they are middle/high school(I teach k-4). I don't post anything on facebook that isn't ok for the world to see...just how I live my life.

  8. Our education department in Western Australia prohibits teachers "friending" students on Facebook which I think is a good thing.
    I don't post the identity of my students or the names of the schools I work at on my blogs either. I was also told a few years ago I wasn't allowed to send or receive cards and letters from ex-students - which sadly means I haven't been able to keep in touch with any of my ex-students, but I guess you can't be too careful.

  9. The no cards or letters with ex-students part is pretty strict. We are allowed to communicate with ex-students although they always come by and visit and none write. I think we can give our current students our district email address.

  10. Wow. All I have to say is wow! So they won't let you communicate with a congratulation card or whatever but nobody batted an eyelash when that video was posted? That is really poor judgement. As for myself, I try to be as real and positive as I can all the time. So what I post on facebook and my blog is how I really feel. If I had something really bad to say I would probably change my situation before expressing it on social networks.

  11. "Friending" students (and former students) is against district policy here. I do "friend" my co-workers and even my principal. There are those who strongly recommend against social networking with your boss, but I keep tight control over my internet etiquette and simply don't post anything that I wouldn't say in front of my minister, boss, and mother. That is a communication lesson many need to learn. As for that student and the teacher with serious lack of judgement, they both should be disciplined.

  12. I only "friend" students at our school when they initiate the request and then I only allow them to see what acquaintances see. I a also left up to deciding on my own how much is too much to share. Our school is a Christian school and I think that sharing a certain amount of personal life information helps in building relationships with the students, but these always need to remain on a teacher/student level. Sometimes once a student comes back as an adult they can become friends but this has not happened that much in my 8 years of teaching.