I love using social media both personally and professionally. I'm not addicted to facebook like some people I know but I definitely love checking in with old friends and browsing their pictures and conversing.
I had lunch recently with my sister-in-law, a teacher for the Utica Community Schools District, and I had noticed that she had dropped her facebook account. I asked her why she left and she explained that she was told that being a teacher on facebook "isn't a good idea." She added that students and especially parents like to "friend" teachers and teachers have to worry about their profiles and who is posting what on their page. She said that every post on her wall could be analyzed by students and parents and if one of her buddies posted something even PG-rated on her wall, she could face unwelcomed scrutiny.
I then tripped over this article recently that goes into detail about how much trouble teachers can get into by getting involved personally with students and parents on facebook. If students or parents are making derogatory statements about a teacher (or anyone else), it doesn't take a master sleuth if someone wanted to put the puzzle pieces together to figure out who and what they're talking about.
I know a few of my friends post things about their child's teacher on their profiles. They're mostly harmless blurbs about their son or daughter's teacher but some are critical about teacher performance. It made me reevaluate why I use facebook. It's great to be able voice your opinion about what's going on in life, but at what cost? I could easily be openly critical to all of my friends on facebook (or followers on Twitter) about every fault I could find with my children’s' teachers but what message would that send?
We often teach our children the value of "going direct" whenever they have a problem; that kids should take their personal problems directly to the person that is causing them concern and notify a parent. We owe it to our children’s' teachers to take any problems we may have with them directly to them instead of hiding behind a keyboard and criticizing them to our friends for our own amusement. If we want to teach our kids not to act like gossiping reality show contestants, we've got to stop acting like them.
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