A difficult balancing act

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"But the crudeness of some Facebook or MySpace teacher profiles, which are far, far away from sanitized Web sites ending in ".edu," prompts questions emblematic of our times: Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don't see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials? " -- When Young Teachers go Wild on the Web

 

After reading this article I am still unsure of what my answers to these questions should be. My gut reaction tempts me to say that Myspace and Facebook, as part of a teacher’s private life, should be kept as such and shouldn't affect their professional lives.  I also think of this situation arising in a time before computers: as far as I know, employers didn't ask teachers to bring in personal photo albums and browse through their less-than-acceptable moments.

However, the world today is one of computers and the internet and that fact can't simply be pushed to the wayside.  So even though in theory personal and private should be kept separate, the world in which we live has inevitably blurred the line between these two areas forever.  I also think that this is a fairly common assumption, and with that in mind I think some of teachers mentioned in this article should have used a little more common sense in their Myspace/Facebook choices, especially those that displayed naked pictures or pictures of themselves in a drunken stupor.  On the other hand, I think administrators and parents alike should use an appropriate amount of sense in judging these pages.  For example, I don't think pages that use slang terms should be judged in the same category as those mentioned above.  Administrators should try put themselves in the position of young teachers.  Even though they are young professionals they are young people as well, struggling, learning and sometimes making mistakes.

So this issue demands a certain amount of moderation from both teachers and administrators and parents, and in that I see the image of a balancing act.  Both parties must walk the line between what is acceptable and what is not, what is excusable and what is not.

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL236/2008/09/what_happens_online_stays_onli/ 

 

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2 Comments

Christina Celona said:

We can't ask teachers to stop being people and we can't ask administrators to stop worrying about what their employees are doing. We have to find some middle ground, I guess.

Common sense would make the world a much less complicated place...

I agree, and you brought up some things I didn't actually consider before. But like I said in my post, I was asked about my Facebook in my summer camp counselor interview and I felt like it was totally inline.

Granted, it's a Christian camp so we should be examples of good character, but I only see these kids for one week in the whole summer, then I get new kids for the next week...etc.

Teachers see kids for nine months out of the year and most likely they see them around while they are still in that school. How much of an influence are they being for nine months? Esp. young teachers, the ones that the kids want to be like the most, the ones that are "cool."

There needs to be that line drawn when it comes to kids futures. There's a big difference in being cool and being responsible. With common sense, you can do both.

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