Social Networks: Should Teachers be on it? By Jamie Kalicharan and Rose Calles

Social Networks: Should Teachers be on it? By Jamie Kalicharan and Rose Calles

In today’s society, almost everyone is on a social network. Some people use social networks like Facebook and MySpace to connect with friends, family, and to make new friends. The big question is, should teachers be on these networks? We admit it, we have both been on MySpace and Facebook. We were able to reconnect with friends from high school that we literally haven’t seen or spoken to in more than a decade. We were able to share pictures with those who we have not seen in years. After starting the education program , we were strongly advised to not be on social networks. At first, we did not understand why. Yes, some teachers have used the technology inappropriately.  Teachers have used poor judgment, some have acted irresponsibly, some immorally, and some even illegally. What we should do as teachers is to keep our information and photos private. We have to also be careful, a friend of a friend could see you information.

Then there are those that keep information private like a high school English teacher.  This teacher used the “b-word” on her private Facebook page and is now out of a job thanks to an anonymous letter sent to school administration.   According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution blog,  Ashley Payne left a status that said “Ashley Payne is at B**** Bingo with her b****.” (Crazy B**** Bingo is an actual event held in Atlanta.)

The AJC got hold of an e-mail sent anonymously (via an e-mail address that does not exist) to the district, supposedly from a parent  complaining that one of Payne’s students read the status and then proceeded to refer to her friends as “b****.”

Payne keeps her Facebook locked up, it’s private. This means that it can’t be seen by random web browsers.  She also does not accept friend requests from students. There’s no way a child could have read it, she says.

Although, she did have other teachers on her friend list.  The AJC deconstructed the letter from the anonymous tipper, coming up with “evidence” that it was written by another teacher. Even though she kept it private, she still got burned.

These social networks could be harmful to the teacher and also the students. We never think about what we’re doing sometimes, but it’s very important to think about what we are writing. After reading an article called, a Teacher Suspended for Having Opinion on Face book, where a teacher who complained about one of her students without using the kid’s name, has been suspended from her job in North Carolina. First of all, why would a teacher write about a student on Face book? We are all human and we do make mistakes, but as teachers, we really need to think about what we are doing. We are role models for our students, and it’s ok to have a life outside of school, but we really need to think about the risk. So ask yourself is it ok to be on a social network ?



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41 responses to “Social Networks: Should Teachers be on it? By Jamie Kalicharan and Rose Calles

  1. I’m a firm believer that teachers should have the freedom to live their lives as they wish and therefore should have the right to use social networking sites such as Facebook. However, they must understand that they do so at their own risk. It is their responsibility to make sure that all of the security measures are in place to prevent students from seeing inappropriate pictures or reading inappropriate comments, it is their responsibility to ensure they only accept friend requests from appropriate people, and it’s their responsibility to consciously review what they write whilst writing it. If the teacher accepts all of this then they should be allowed to act as they please. It is the same with any job really, if you are friends with your boss or colleagues on Facebook then it is probably best not to have a Facebook status abusing your boss or saying how much you hate your workmates!

    Teachers are adults and should be treated as such, but if they cannot accept the responsibilities of being an adult in power then they will have to face the consequences.

  2. I am concerned with teachers being on Facebook for the exact reasons that are explained in the article. Photos are uploaded so fast these days it is actually scary. Friends of friends can and do see your information and photos, so nothing on the internet is actually private, as much as you want it to be. As I always tell my own kids, once you put something (either an e-mail or Facebook posting) up there (on the internet) it is out there forever, and you can’t take it back. A teacher’s innocent photos and comments can look compromising to parents and students, and therefore I think it would be wise for teachers to avoid social networking sites.

  3. I strongly believe that teachers should be able to have social networks such as Facebook or Myspace. Teachers should be treated the same way as everyone else and have the opportunity to do what they want when they are outside the schools. Facebook gives people the opportunity to reconnect with thousands of people, friends and family members. Teachers must watch what they are writing on their pages as well as others. They should never refer to students or anything else that happened in the schools. Besides that teachers should have the same opportunities as everyone else.

  4. I believe teachers should have the freedom to be on facebook or any other social networks. I have many teachers friends that are on facebook and act responsible. I think people of all professions and students should think before they post things for everybody to view. There are many companies that will google and look up social networks to check what employees are writing about. People should be aware that the things that they post can be held against them.

  5. Because I am currently student teaching and have heard the rumors that kids create regarding teachers, I do believe that teachers should have the freedom to use social networks but with extreme caution.

    Social networking is a great tool to reconnect with people from the past, but there is a line and teachers should know not to cross that line. We are role models, and there should not be any inappropriate information or visuals of teachers on these websites.

    Facebook is extremely popular these days and it went from only being a college website to allowing anyone to connect. It is important as a teacher, as well as any professional, to highly consider their actions and behaviors on these types of networks. Reconnecting with others is fine, but displaying inappropriate behavior and language should not be allowed.

    Unfortunately, these types of networks are working against people, but if we are responsible and keep our network at a professional level, there should be nothing to worry about.

  6. I believe that if used responsibly and discreetly, having a Facebook or Myspace page is absolutely fine. There are so many privacy settings these days that enable a teacher (or anyone for that matter) to keep his or her information as concealed as possible. As many drawbacks there are to having a teacher partaking in social networking, I think they are completely outweighed by the benefits that many enjoy being able to reconnect with friends and classmates. However, no teacher should befriend a student or student’s parent – it’s important to keep social life as private as possible. Social networking is just that, and requires responsible usage.

  7. I believe that teachers should have the freedom to use social networks like Facebook. It is up to them to decide how they are going to use it. The teacher caught saying the “B” word on her Facebook should have known and thought about her consequences. As teachers we are going to have hundreds of parents and students throughout our careers, so we need to ensure that we do not say anything inappropriately or offending. Talking about students on social networks is a dangerous and very unprofessional thing to do, and I believe that if the teacher was willing to put that up, then they were willing to risk their job. If a teacher is afraid of encountering any of these problems, they should just stay away from Facebook all together. Social networks can be very useful tools, one that I have recently used myself. In a project I completed last week, my group and I used Facebook to send out a mass survey to high school students. Their replies are easy to obtain, and the students are comfortable using Facebook to do so.

  8. I believe that teachers should have the right to be on any social network that they want! We must rememeber that teachers are people also with lives outside of the classroom. Once whatever the teacher does outside the classroom does not enter the classroom we should not have any say on what they do!

    • I also agree with a majority of the posts. Teachers have lives outside of the classroom as well. And as Aishei123 said, ‘whatever the teacher does outside the classroom does not enter the classroom…’ If you restrict the teachers from participating in this social setting, what is next? As a teacher you should know enough not to bad mouth a student, administrator, or other colleagues on facebook or myspace. I don’t even accept friend requests from my little cousins because I don’t think its appropriate for a 10 year old to be my ‘friend’ on facebook and ‘see’ all of my information.

  9. As a future teacher i am in agreement with the majority of the responses posted above. i believe that we have the right to be on any social networking site we choose, but with this caveat i say that we most be responsible and selective about what we post on the internet. We have our own lives and should be allowed to do what we please. As long as what we are doing outside the classroom does not affect our classroom performance i see no reason to disconnect ones self from any social networking site. Just be an adult and be responsible.

  10. Teachers should be allowed to participate in social networking. The next level would be holding a teacher responsible for her conversations she has outside of the school.

  11. teachers should have the freedom to use Facebook. They should make sure that the necessary precautions are taken so that students don’t see or read inappropriate messages from their facebook.

  12. laureenconnell

    I think it should be more acceptable for teachers to use social networking sites as long as they take the appropriate steps to be sure the line between teachers and students lives outside the school isn’t crossed. Teachers should keep in mind that they are professionals however, and remember that posting private information in cyberspace can be risky.

  13. I personally feel that teachers should have the freedom to be on any social network site they want to be on. Although, teachers should keep in mind that their students are problem searching for them on-line to find out who their teacher “really” is. I do not think it is acceptable for teachers to friend their students on facebook if their facebook is inappropriate in anyway. Social networking sites could actually be extremely beneficial for student-teacher relationships. For example, it would be a great idea for a teacher to create a facebook page for students in his or her class to join. The teacher can post notes, study guides, homework assignments, or important announcements.

  14. Similar to any other type of professional, a teacher who chooses to maintain a page on a social networking site should remain wary of what they post and who they “friend.” Stories of teachers who accept “friend requests” on their personal page from students or formal students, clearly indicates a lack of professional integrity. There are inappropriate and appropriate ways of integrating Web 2.0 into the classroom.

  15. I agree that teachers should be allowed to maintain online social networks. However, we need to make our profiles as private as possible. This includes keeping our information private from “friends of friends” – which is an option available. Also, I think its imperative that we don’t post any comments or pictures that we would not feel comfortable circulating for our colleagues or boss to see. We must remember that nothing is ever completely private once its online.

  16. I believe that teachers have the right to be on Facebook or Myspace. Teachers are people too, and if they choose to belong to one of the social networking sites then it is their choice. Most people have used it to reconnect with old friends and family.
    I think with everyone including teachers, people however need to use discretion, and be responsible. I would caution anyone to be careful of what information they put on the internet. When you put stuff on the internet it has the chance of being accessed by anyone.

  17. This is a tough one but I am going to say that teachers like any professional should have the right to use social networking sights. However, these sights which were mean for good have turned into being used for evil. It is about responsibilty in my opinion. These sights unless you make them private are open to the world. So what one would not want to be public knowledge should not be posted for everyone to see.
    Teachers are people too and one would hope they are responsible with their behaviors just as another other adult professional. You cannot stop living that is for sure.

  18. I firmly believe that teachers should be able to be on Facebook to communicate with their friends. A way that most of my friends that are teachers keep themselves hidden, other than using the privacy blocker, is by changing their display name. A lot of teacher friends of mine use their first and middle name and leave off their last name. This is one way to prevent students from being able to find you when searching. I believe that teachers should have a seperate Facebook account for uses for the classroom as a way to have a page dedicated to your students like posting homework and things like that, and then have your seperate page that no students or fellow teachers look at.

  19. I definitely believe a teacher should be allowed to have a profile on a social networking site if they choose to. These sites are great ways to keep in contact with your friends and family. However, I also believe that a teacher must be responsible with their profile and never post anything related to his/her students or the school. And a teacher should never request to be friends with nor accept friend requests of his/her students. A teacher should be able to make up his or her own mind whether they want to maintain a facebook or myspace profile but they must maintain responsibility and integrity within their profession by not including anything on their site related to their job.

  20. jensavestheday

    First off, the punishment should fit the crime. In the example above, I don’t think firing the teacher was the appropriate response. At the very least, the teacher should have been given a warning. It would have been a different story if the b-word was used in reference to a coworker or a student or if students had access to her profile. Then yes, fire the woman. But to get fired over the use of the b-word in jest about her personal activities in a forum that is supposed to be private and among adults seems overboard to me. Secondly, I understand that teachers are role models and have to be held to a certain level of standards, but it is still disheartening to me that teachers have to sacrifice certain freedoms in their private lives to be part of the profession. The tricky part of this discussion is that putting things social networks makes it public domain. When social networking, teachers should take care to maximizing their privacy and whether or not what they’re post is something for the world to see.

  21. Social networking is a tricky thing when you are essentially a public employee. There will always be unspoken boundaries, even though no specific crime was committed the public can easily create one. Perhaps I am old, but this brings to mind the movie “The Children’s Hour” by Lillian Hellman, where a tragedy was based on heresay. Although social networking should be a basic right, it should be used very carefully by teachers.

  22. I just recently had a conference day and my boss had done a seminar on “Social Networking”. She admitted that she is on facebook herself but she had mentioned that it would be a good idea to monitor who you accept as a friend and to go through your list of friends to weed out co-workers, parents and other”friends” who might be connected to your workplace. She also mentioned that changing your name to just your first name and middle name and to leave the last name out so that parents can’t search for you. Lastly, she mentioned we should have our privacy settings on as high as they can go and to delete pictures that may portray you in a bad light. I think that as a teacher we shouldn’t be limited on what we do on our own time but we also need to remember that we have children’s lives in our hands and if anyone got ahold of a scandelous picture they could have a reason for you to get fired from your job. Use facebook and myspace as means to connect with lost friends, current friends, family members… etc but don’t use it as a way to let the world know what exactly you do during your personal time. :) Keep it classy ;)

  23. I believe that teachers should be able to use facebook, they are regular people with regual lifes also. Facebook and other social networking sites allow communication between friends and family near and far. However when using facebook teachers and everyone need to realize that they are in the eye of the public and should not say anything regarding a student and or their job.
    i also feel that anything said on a social networking site is something that is done outside of the work place there for it should be seprate and not get that person in trouble for what they say about thier personal life on the site.

  24. It is with a firm belief that I say, “teachers are humans and we all experience lapses in judgement…duh!” Having said that, there are few professions in this world that require the individual to be held to a superior moral, ethical and social standards as that of a teacher.

    From reading the summary of the Atlanta article, it seems that the teacher did all correct things. She kept her personal page locked from public view and limited her comment viewership only to the accepted “friends.” However, being a teacher, there is no such thing as being too careful on the world wide web. Privacy is a gray area when it comes to Facebook it seems these days. Furthermore, the use of profanity regardless of content places one in a negative light.

    There is that perception by children and perhaps even many parents that the teacher is the ultimate role model in the community. That carries into personal life. We can certainly ask, “is this fair?” Do we lose a part of our private life once we become teachers? I would unequivocally argue yes. Nevertheless, that’s the price of admission. The unfortunate-consequence story featured in the blog is a lesson re-learned.

  25. I believe that teachers should be allowed to do whatever they please with their lives outside of school. Yes, teachers are role models, and with that being said teachers should just put their facebook page on private. Yes, people know people and it can get to the district, but that’s when you have to be careful what you say and the pictures you put up there.

  26. Participating in social networks should be employed as a personal activity. Although one may feel the need to express his or her opinions, it is necessary to refrain for the safety of your career! In reality, the posts and pictures you generate may be viewed by individuals who they were not intended for. The truth is, the World Wide Web is not exactly the safest location to post ones personal life. As standards in schools begin to become demanding and austere, teachers must change to meet the demands. It is surprising to read that teachers are l discharged because of social networking. Unfortunately these cases are used as examples for prospective teachers. It is our responsibility now to make smart and careful decisions on how we use social networking websites such as Facebook.

  27. As an educator you must work hard to not only be a role model within the classroom, but also as a citizen within our community and the world. Does this mean that you can’t be a human being, enjoying in modern technologies, indulging in the pleasures of life? Absolutely Not! It does, however mean that when you do so you must treat yourself as anyone who is in the public eye should. You must exercise caution, and discretion. You must perform as an individual with class and poise, someone a child should be proud to look up to. Having a Facebook page does not make you less of a role model, just as going out for a few drinks on the weekend does not. It is how you conduct yourselves within these mediums which “make or break you”. So go ahead, have a drink- make sure you don’t overindulge, or act in an inappropriate manner. Have a Facebook page, just be cautious as to what you post. Remember… Someone is ALWAYS watching.

  28. I have had my facebook account for the past five years. I will be student teaching next semester, and I already removed my last name, and made all of my information private. While I do not put up any offensive photos or use offensive language on my page, there is no stopping any of my friends from tagging me in a picture, or using inappropriate language on my wall. As a teacher, you have a responsibility to make sure the information can not be accessed. I do not want to give up my account because I have family that live in another country, and I want to be able to see pictures of my baby nephew, etc. I think the teacher needs to be responsible and take precautions to make sure their page is private if they are going to keep their facebook, or other social networking site. Teachers can have a life outside of the classroom, they just need to make sure it is not able to be accessed by students or their parents.

  29. I believe that teachers should have the right and the opportunity to be on any social network site they choose. Outside the classroom(s) teachers are still human beings living regular lives just as anyone else is. When any teacher decides to use any social networking sites, they should use discretion and caution and should remember that they are role models to children. Anyone that uses these social networking sites should remember that it is possible for anyone to see the information they put on the world wide web. Teachers should always maximize their privacy settings on these social mediums as well as conduct themselves appropriately.

  30. I also agree that anyone and everyone, including teachers, should be able to use social networking sites, but at their own discretion. I think that when becoming a teacher one should monitor their friends, pictures and posts and know that parents and coworkers could be looking you up. Social networking sites have become so popular and it’s becoming easier and easier for people to see your personal information and use it against you. I think pages should be kept classy, just in case it gets into the wrong hands.

  31. I agree I think that teachers, and everyone else, should be allowed to use social networks. However, teachers and educators need to be aware of the consequences that can come from it. I do not think it is appropriate for teachers or any professional figure to be sharing pictures or memories from their crazy weekend and having pictures of them drinking online. If a parent, or board of ed member were to see this, I think that it would hurt the teacher. Teachers should be seen as professionals. Everyone needs to be careful of what they put on the internet and who they are “friends”with on the site. I do not think that it is appropriate for teachers to be friends with their students at any time while they are in the school system.

  32. While I do not think anyone should have the right to expressly forbid teachers from using social networking sites, as teachers most certainly have the right to their own private lives, I think it is extremely important for teachers to always be aware that anyone might be able to see what they post. Privacy settings on Facebook are difficult to work with and are notoriously unreliable. As the article references, we have all heard stories of teachers who have been fired because of things they have posted on their Facebook pages. I personally do not think the benefits of a Facebook page are worth the risk, and will likely not have one when I am teaching. If I do decide to have one, I will certainly post a bare minimum of information to avoid creating any job endangering situations.

  33. I believe it’s okay for teachers to be involved in the social network however, we do need to be careful. We shouldn’t be deprived of the #1 way to communicate with people these days. It wouldn’t be fair for us to not be allowed to be a part of the social network. It’s the easiest way to keep in touch with friends and also very fun. That’s why Facebook gives us countless privacy options. Teachers should be aware of who they are accepting as a friend. If they are skeptical about the person, then ignore the request. Unfortunately, being a teacher has its consequences and one of them is that you can’t be public about what you do in life. But I feel that’s okay because not everyone needs to know my business anyway. Some people want the world to know what they are doing. I don’t think it’s worth the risk. I certainly will keep my facebook with the highest privacy settings because I wouldn’t want to lose my job over it. It’s just not worth it.

  34. I feel that it is very dangerous for teachers to take part in these social networks that have swept the nation. It seems that nearly everyone of all ages is part of at least one of these networks. While they are fun and can be harmless, they are also very personal and can be extremely invasive if the wrong person (or one of your students) sees something that wasn’t meant for them. While there are privacy settings it still seems very risky. In my opinion the best way to avoid issues and problems is to avoid the entire situation. A social network definitely isn’t worth a job or a law suit, so I would have to say that teachers should not be allowed to participate in social networks.

  35. I feel that if teachers use social networks in an appropriate way there should be no problem with them being a member of one. I think these social networks are beneficial when trying to talk with family members that live far away or even friends that you haven’t seen in a while. Teachers do need to be aware that others have access to their pages and should never act in an unprofessional manner. Since our society is becoming more technologically advanced I believe that social networks may present more problems inthe future.

  36. I myself use Facebook. It is a great way to reconnect with people I haven’t seen/spoken to in a long time. Everyone needs to be careful about what they say on networks like this. People can see your photos, posts from friends, and what you write on your status. I have had friends that applied for a job, and did not get it because of something that was seen on Facebook. People can maneuver around privacy/personal settings. I don’t want to say that teachers shouldn’t use Facebook, but they should definitely be cautious if they are going to use it. You never know who might see what.

  37. I don’t have a problem with teacher using social network they just need to keep in mind that others are viewing what you write. If you have an issue with someone that may be a friend they can turn on you and get you burned for something that was not meant for harm, just you blowing off some stream. So I think everyone need to understand that using these site you are at your own risk. I like the social network like facebook, people are able to reconnect with friends from high school that they literally haven’t seen or spoken to in more than a decade. many people use it to share pictures with those who they have not seen in years. I believe teacher have a right to live their lives as they wish and should use social networking sites like Facebook or myspace. It is the teachers responsibility as stated on a comment before to make sure that all of the security measures are in place to prevent students from seeing inappropriate pictures or reading inappropriate comments.

  38. I believe students and teachers both have a right to use social networks and have lives outside of the classroom. A student should not be punished in school for something that goes on outside of school and a teacher should not be punished for their acitvities outside of school. With the exception of illegal activity, there should be no concern of how a teacher or student acts off of school property. That being said, teachers should make every effort to separate their out of school lives from the students when possible; using the most secure privacy settings on a social network, avoiding pictures or public posts with lewd remarks or images etc.

  39. I think that teachers shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to have a Facebook when every other professional still has that freedom. That being said, I think that teachers need to use discretion when writing on Facebook. As role models for students, and professional adults, teachers shouldn’t be writing inappropriate information on their Facebooks. I know that I personally do not write anything on Facebook that I wouldn’t want certain people to see, like my mom, family, etc. but it is ultimately each teacher’s choice to decide how much information they want to disclose on Facebook. My recommendation would be to weed out friends who you’ve only met once or twice, delete friends who may be associated with your workplace, only use your first and middle name (so that parents can’t search for you) and exert caution when writing anything on your Facebook or others. Teachers should be allowed to have a Facebook, but they should do this while still remaining professional, because as shown in this article, you never really know who’s watching you. Facebook and other social networking sites are definitely great ways to connect with old friends and keep in touch, but are they worth losing your job? I think that’s a decision everyone must make for themselves.

  40. teacherexpress37

    Although I do not Face book myself, I donot think it should be off limits to educators. We should be respectful and proactive in all we do and know that Facebook is media that all see. So be causious of what you make available to the world. There are ways to make your facebook private but also know there are savy ways around that also.

    With this said you should as an educator weigh your options if your employer doesn’t agree with these practices.



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