Important Tips for Teachers Who Use Facebook

In light of  the latest teacher Facebook scandal, where music teacher Lauren Orban referred to a student on Facebook as possibly being the “evolutionary link between orangutans and humans”, I thought it would be helpful to relate some important tips for teachers using social media.

I found these helpful hints for both teachers and non-teachers at aaeteachers.org:

Ten Tips for Teachers for Staying Smart on Social Networking Websites:

GENERAL TIPS

  1. Google yourself. Your employer, coworkers, supervisors, kids, relatives, and friends have probably all done it already. You should know what is out there with your name on it.
  2. Report concerns you may have to the hosting website. Most social networking sites have reporting mechanisms so you can easily report problems, misinformation, hacked accounts, scams, phishing, or other concerns. You can also request that your information be removed from sites that may have it posted.
  3. Post only what you want the world (including your mother, your mother-in-law, your students, your spouse, your kids, your boss, your next door neighbor, everyone) to see.
  4. Set your privacy settings so that “only friends” can view your information. Other settings allow unknown individuals to view your information and may compromise the privacy of you and your family.
  5. Do not post things that may bring shame or embarrassment to you or your employer. Those photos of rush week, your best friend’s bachelor party, or even that weekend family reunion two years ago might be better left un-posted.
  6. Choose passwords that cannot be easily guessed so that your accounts are secure. Your kid’s names, your pet’s names, your birthday, and your address are common offenders that make your account easy to hack.

TEACHER-SPECIFIC TIPS

  1. Honor your school’s policy. If your school does not allow employees to use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc, follow the policy–your job may depend on it. If your school does not allow the use of social networking sites, be extremely careful to keep your professional and personal interactions separated. Do not friend colleagues or interact with students via these sites.
  2. Use approved sites or sites provided by your school district for social networking when possible. These are great venues for educational and collaboration purposes.
  3. Do not post messages criticizing or airing your frustrations about your job, boss, coworkers, students, administrators, faculty, staff, or even school policies.
  4. Post only those things you would be comfortable sharing in front of a classroom. Before you post it, imagine one of your students bringing it up in class. If that thought makes you uncomfortable, don’t post it.

 

Click here to read my post, ‘Teachers Who Rely on Free Speech Shouldn’t be Teachers’.

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