Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:40 pm
Social media is everywhere in our lives, whether it’s connecting with friends and family or communicating with colleagues about important work issues. Regardless, there are a few social media guidelines for teachers to consider that can help protect against a dreaded faux pas:
Connecting with Students
If you have a Facebook, Instagram or even a SnapChat account, you will inevitably get a “friend request” from one of your students. A good rule of thumb is not to accept any of these requests. Wait until they’ve graduated high school or have turned 18. Additionally, check your school district’s policy regarding social media guidelines for teachers to make sure you are not in violation.
Using Social Media as a Communication Tool with Parents
You may want to have a quick and easy way to communicate with parents — social media can provide the ability to get information out flash. Many teachers use a communication tool through Remind.com, which provides teachers with the ability to text parents quickly about upcoming classroom or school events. However, it’s important to remember to have permission from your building principal or supervisor to communicate with parents in that forum. Use only your school district email and contact information to keep everything on a professional level and again, consult your district’s social media policy to make sure you are complying with it.
Commenting on School-Related Issues or Administrative Decisions
Throughout the course of the school year, there will be issues or incidents that happen along with administrative decisions with which you may or may not agree. It’s important to remember that it’s unprofessional to take to social media to voice your opinion on those matters. For example, if you have a difficult class or if you find that the daily rigors of teaching are becoming overwhelming, refrain from posting status updates such as:
- “My students are out of control.”
- “I can’t stand my students; they are so bad before the holidays.”
- “I’m so sick of spending all day working on my lesson plans.”
You may just be voicing your frustration. However, a comment that may seem benign can come back to bite you when or if it’s interpreted in another way.
While social media has become such a huge part of our lives, accentuate the positives in your life and share them on social media so that you don’t find yourself regretting a post that could get you in hot water with your school district administrators or board of education. Remember, if you have to think about whether the post is appropriate or not, it’s better to err on the side of caution and hit “cancel” instead of “post” as the repercussions could be career ending.