Monday, December 12, 2011

Educators Running Away from Facebook

An interesting story on NPR last week regarding the growing number of teacher firings in the non-higher ed community based on inappropriate Facebook comments.

As we work to move toward the social media playing field for increased interaction that would enhance recruiting and relationships -- thus hoping to aid retention of students -- the New Jersey public teacher's union is advising the exact opposite.

Run like the wind away from your students on-line.

Steve Wollmer, a spokesperson for the union, in the NPR story:

"Don't ever friend or follow your students on Facebook or Twitter, never post during work hours or using work materials such as a school computer, and certainly never post anything about your job online, especially about students."

OK, one should NEVER violate FERPA by using Facebook for assignments. We encourage that faculty understand the power dynamic created by friending students, and they should have a stated policy in their syllabus. As for posting during work hours, when we are encouraging social, we can't call out its usage unless it is excessive or not for the institution (ie, if you are a manager of a page for Northwestern State).

The social media tips provided by the union aren't very helpful except to the most novice users, and themselves have a CYA tone. See, we have this list of do's and don'ts, so don't get mad at us if you violate them.

There was one line at the end that I found extremely illuminating:

As educators, we are held to higher standards than the rest of the working world. . . . never post anything you wouldn’t want read out loud at a school board meeting.

Welcome to the team, teachers. Those of us with sports backgrounds have lived with that for decades.

As a side note, I noticed with the NPR story was a back-track to a story I missed as Missouri repeals the law that banned contact with students via social media.

No comments: