ECPM 355 – Tech Task #2: Writing Prompts (Questions)
Should teachers be friends with their students on Facebook? Are there certain circumstances when this is acceptable, or circumstances when it is not?
First of all, yes I have Facebook and no I am not friends with any of my students that I taught during internship. To be honest, I go on Facebook maybe a couple times a day, scroll through my homepage, read some status updates, maybe check out an album or two if a picture catches my eye – and that’s it – spending approximately two minutes on it each time (pretty boring I know). I am not the type of person who is constantly updating my status (Vanesss Hipkins… ugh this weather sucks!… WE KNOW, WE CAN GO OUTSIDE!), adding “random” albums, or checking my crops on FarmVille. I am not criticizing anyone who does these things, all I am saying is that I don’t and that is just a personal choice of mine (and my opinion).
But, going back to the “heated” question of whether or not teachers should be friends with their students on Facebook – in my opinion, no. Personally, I have no desire to be Facebook friends with any student in elementary school – and in my opinion kids at that age shouldn’t even have Facebook. I believe that if a teacher is Facebook friends with any of their students, they are just asking for trouble. With a Facebook account you can control “your page” and your privacy settings (and all that junk), but what you can’t control is what other people (“your friends”) may put on your page or “tag” you in – pictures, comments, videos, stories, etc. I know that you can delete and “un-tag” yourself in any of these things, but only after it has already been put Facebook, and out there for others to see. I am not saying that what teachers, or students for that matter, have on Facebook is bad, but what if something is unacceptable and the wrong person sees it (student or teacher). So to be safe, teachers don’t be friends with your students on Facebook, and students, don’t be friends with your teacher on Facebook – problem solved!
I do understand that Facebook is a great way to stay connected with, or to reconnect with friends, family member, collegues, and yes even former students (students who are NOT in school anymore). I am not saying that you can’t be friends with the students you teach, but I just think that it is more appropriate and professional to be friends (and Facebook friends) with students after you have taught them – not while you are teaching them. This way, you can be safer from the possibility of a “student-teacher” issue arising.
So all in all, if you are not friends with your students on Facebook then you have nothing to worry about! Now whether or not teachers should even have Facebook accounts, I believe is a whole other issue – and one that I am not getting into!
Being friends on Facebook with students is definitely a “heated” issue with schools and teachers everywhere. Here is a link to a great website I found where teachers from all over the world talk about this “issue” and give their personal opinion on it – both good and bad. Check it out!