Social media has become a mainstay in American society over the past decade, and an estimated 70-90% of adults use some form of social networking. Whether you are super savvy or stick to the basics, there are a few guidelines teachers should follow when it comes to tweeting, posting or snapping.
These tips will help you avoid any awkward interactions and create healthy boundaries.
Know your state/city/school’s policy on social media guidelines for employees
Some schools have strict policies in place banning teachers from friending or contacting students on social media. Brush up on the rules so there are no surprises.
Use professional judgement
This is an obvious point — avoid posting, tweeting, or commenting anything you would be uncomfortable with a student, parent or coworker seeing and keep your photos and profile image clean. The fact is that what happens on the internet does not stay on the internet, and there are plenty of unfortunate news stories regarding inappropriate posts made by teachers that back this up. If you aren’t sure if something is appropriate, just don’t post.
Don’t follow students and don’t allow them to follow you
Teachers often form bonds with their students and both parties want to be able to keep up after the school year is over, but it may be wise to only allow students to be your “friend” once they graduate to maintain proper boundaries. Setting your social profiles to private will help you control who is able to see your posts.
If you utilize social media for assignments or class work, have separate professional and personal accounts to safeguard yourself and your students.
Never post photos of your students
This is a big no-no. Some parents are fine with their children making Instagram appearances, but others may have a problem with their student’s image being shared with strangers — especially if there happen to be geotags giving away your location. This could be especially problematic if there are custodial issues going on at home. Maintain your student’s privacy and ensure their safety by avoiding this altogether.
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