Education is not a static thing that must change and adapt to society, technology, and the internet.
Some of the wiser people reading this may even recall a time when a teacher could use forms of corporal punishment. Thankfully for the younger generation going into education, they don’t have to worry about perfecting their jab to keep their English teacher honest.
Instead, they have to worry about the digital world and how it can bleed into their education.
While this may be an eye-opening revelation for some students, teachers have active social lives outside school. Social media is great for staying connected with long-distance friends and family, but it undoubtedly has removed quite a bit of privacy from the average person.
So for teachers who may want to keep their personal and professional life separate, this can prove incredibly difficult.
Thankfully for the more private teachers and students – the majority of schools have strict rules against teachers interacting with students on social media. Never before seen topics like this will keep coming up as technology advances at its breakneck pace.
To get a better idea of why this one is so controversial, let’s take a look at why it is not allowed in most schools.
How Do Teachers Avoid Social Media Interactions?
Educators have been trying to find an appropriate way to tap dance around the awkward topic of social media for a good few years now. While the age of the internet has undoubtedly made it easier for students to learn and teachers to more efficiently educate, it has also complicated schools considerably.
- Educators have to watch for phones in class now because students can easily look up the answer, even though they would rather send memes to the kid three seats behind him.
- Teachers have to come up with unique new ways to verify that someone has absorbed material due to the prevalence of new websites that allow for brief summaries of books. Why take the time to wade through a literary classic when you can look up the bullet points in under five minutes?
- This isn’t even considering the fact that social media has made it so students can very easily peek into the personal lives of their teachers and vice versa.
While some would argue that anything you want private should be kept off social media – others would say that certain parties have no right to pry into your social life. Regardless, if a student shoots a friend request to a teacher, in most cases it is the teacher’s job to reject the request.
It goes further than that however, you should refrain from any contact on social media of any form. This means that the teacher should not “like” a post, respond to a comment, direct message them, or do anything that could be considered communication.
Most schools will also ask that their teachers make their privacy settings so that only their friends can see new content from their social accounts.
Being a teacher means that you have to make some sacrifices as far as your social perception is concerned.
If you are an outspoken person who likes to express your opinions with colorful words and capital letters, you might have to dial it back when you become an educator. The same can be said for revealing images, discussions, or content surrounding the use of illegal substances, illegal actions, and the consumption of alcohol.
Teachers should remove any pictures with alcohol on their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter prior to employment.
If you are looking to reconnect with your favorite teacher from high school, you are going to have to wait a good chunk of time before they will be able to accept your request.
While it changes from district to district, typically a teacher must wait until the student has had a diploma before they can reach out. For more strict districts, the teacher has to wait for at least five years after they graduated before contacting a student.
How Do Teachers Communicate To Students?
While reading this, a few of you might have been wondering how a student or teacher could reach out to the other to ask a question or offer advice. Well, the answer is not through the comment section of their latest Instagram photo.
Typically, most schools have found alternative forms of social media with a strict focus on education to keep classes in touch.
They have also started making students get an e-mail specifically for school work and made classwide group chats through Gmail or even the school website.
These methods offer a lot more in the way of transparency than something like Facebook as it allows for conversations to be monitored more closely. It also allows for both the teacher and student to retain some amount of privacy in their personal life.
The amount of communication both parties should be allowed to have with one another outside of school is up for debate. It can be argued that with the heavy time commitment students and teachers already have to sacrifice to education – asking for more of their time outside of the scheduled hours feels a bit cruel.
Others would say it gives more of an opportunity to those that don’t fully understand the material or have a question that keeps them from progressing in their homework.
The Social Media Concern
For those sitting at your computer wondering what the big deal with teachers and students communicating is, let’s take a look at it. Statistics show that by the age of thirteen, every other kid is going to have a cell phone.
We also know that a good portion of students say they hide their cell phone activity from their parents. With kids having the ability to freely communicate with anyone at the young age of thirteen, we can start to see why concerned parents and educators do not want prolonged, private interactions.
Outside of the fears most parents have surrounding predatorial adults around their kids, there are other concerns as well.
We also need to factor in the theory that social media can establish favorites in students. Billy might get all the answers right but he is a bit of a know-it-all and not very likable. Meanwhile, Thomas might be wrong more than he is right but he likes all of Mr. Brown’s status updates and is actually very cool.
While it certainly feels silly to suggest that a teacher would offer a student more chances because he is more affable, it can happen. If a concerned parent sees that a teacher has certain students as friends it could be easy to make the case that the teacher also prefers those students to the others.
Whether this is true or not doesn’t defeat the fact that it looks terrible and can give other students, teachers, and parents the wrong impression.
There was a time when teachers were allowed to friend students. In fact, if you google it now there are several articles from the early 2010s arguing about whether or not we should allow external fraternization between students and teachers.
While it still may be permitted in some districts, the wind seems to be heading in a less permissible direction – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The world is heading in a direction that does not make personal privacy easy to hold onto. We should still allow our educators and children the opportunity to enjoy their lives without the concern of it bleeding into their careers or education.
While we can’t expect our teachers to be allowed to do keg stands on their profile pictures – they should be allowed some peace on their social media.
Understandably, social media is something that should probably stay confined to friends and family.
While many might think that educators are subjected to a long list of rules for their social media, this is a reality we are all going to face sooner or later. With the universal participation of social media, it has become a part of our lives and identity if we choose to use it.
It has now become commonplace for teachers and students to be more conscious of what they put on social media. Soon enough, all jobs will likely have requirements and guidelines to follow concerning social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter prior to employment.
You could always choose to not use social media, but where else would you be able to hear your aunt’s political opinions?