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It's not you, it's me.


I shared the last post "Can we be friends?" with the student in question. I was curious for his reaction. Even more curiously, he didn't really have one. He said it was no big deal and went on to say that it was a strange thing to write about.

Because I over-analyze just about everything when it comes to education, I've been mulling over his reaction, or lack thereof. I have to say, I imagined a lot of responses, but apathy? What's up with that?

When spotting me at Walmart my students positively freak out or run in the other direction. I'm either a movie star or a walking plague. So, it's not my bruised ego playing into this interaction, I'm wondering how the modern friendship is viewed to children that have grown up online.

It's a strange dichotomy to react so strongly when seeing me face-to-face anywhere other than the classroom, but not to consider seriously the access to my personal life that Facebook affords. Is the online friendship purely virtual?

Social networking provides a technology interface that could be enormously advantageous in keeping in touch with your students. That is, concerning their progress, upcoming assessments, missing assignments, and all that other "teacher" stuff. It's a medium as comfortable to many teenagers as the telephone is to me. And in that way, I wouldn't call a student to "talk", but I might call them to conference on their success.


Our school district warns (does not prohibit) AGAINST creating accounts on such social networking sites.

Reason: Any written communication (even electronic) in which a teacher engages for ANY professional purpose is, by law, a matter of public record. The press in South Florida have been using the Freedom of Information Act to investigate what teachers are putting into written form to, or about, students AND parents.

I highly suspect it is an attempt to catch/make some headlines about some possibly unscrupulous interactions. However, any communications about a child's academic or behavioral issues - since it falls under the umbrella of professional acts, also become "fair game."

I have most email addresses for parents (if they have one)... but the ONLY message I send electronically is "Mr. or Mrs....... I need to speak to you directly about..........."

At the first school I taught, a majority of parents had emails, and I sent out a short general note on what we did, topics they could ask about at home, and homework (if any). Think of it more as a mini-newsletter than focused, specific communication about individuals. I'm sure many parents just deleted them, since I never heard from them - but some of them would respond occasionally, so it was worth it to me to send out those notes.

As far as social networking sites go... You'd have to be extremely careful what you put up. Liability, out-of-context clips, and more are fairly easily made. Personally, I don't engage in sites like FB and MS. I DO have an LJ, but I am careful to lock those posts and responses from/ to people who refer to my real name rather than my screen name. Why? Because I don't need trouble to come looking for me - I have plenty enough on my plate already.

However, depending on how you use FB (personal or professional) would be whether I would have accepted that friending. On LJ, *IF* a student could find me and requested a friend, I have no problem accepting it. Simply because I can categorize them into a group, and decide whether I cared if they saw a particular post or not.

As far as the freak out or plague thing goes: in my personal experience, students tend to *want* to be recognized, if they call attention to themselves. Sometimes its a need to feel that someone they consider important interacts with them, sometimes it's a 'show off' gesture to someone around them, and sometimes... its just because they like you. LOL! The plague could mean they don't want to have you speaking with their parent who's around, or they're having a bad day, or they are just not in the mood to speak with you. MOST of the time though, students who try to get my attention in such situations usually will say hi, maybe give me a hug, maybe chat for about 1 minute, and then go on their way. I haven't had anyone turn it into a huge production either way. Heh.

Maybe I haven't been in the classroom long enough. :P

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Recent Comments

  • Fyreseer: At the first school I taught, a majority of parents read more
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