Just a quick thought today…
An article arrived in my inbox this morning from the Los Angeles Daily News about teachers and students using social media to communicate with each other. Most of the article is pretty generic, not offering anything new to the issue (of course their audience isn’t educators, but the general public). However, one quote jumped out at me:
An L.A. school district spokesman suggested, a teacher can have two Facebook pages — one for academics and another for personal information. Students would have access to the academic page and not be “friended” on the personal one.
I completely agree with that. Along with most of my colleagues, I only meet with students in my office, not in my home. I don’t give students my home phone number, only my office number. I have a special e-mail account for communicating with students; I don’t use my personal one. So it makes perfect sense to do the same with social media, but I’m often shocked at how many of my colleagues don’t apply this same thinking. I’m surprised at how many of my colleagues ‘friend’ their students on Facebook.
I’m happy to engage my students via social media, but not with my personal accounts. And while I believe in humanizing education and engaging my students on a “person to person” level, at the end of the day, I am their teacher, not their friend.