Teachers Gone Wild (Online Edition)

With all the stories in the media about kids posting inappropriate information online – and all the warnings about the consequences down the line – you might think they would have learned something by now.

Or maybe that their teachers would at least be paying attention by this time.

Maybe not.

The Post seems to have found an epidemic* of local teachers who are posting “overtly sarcastic or unintentionally unprofessional” and “risque” material on social networking sites.

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?

Good questions. But I’m not sure this teacher is particularly bright with her answers.

“I know that employers will look at that page, and I need to be more careful,” said Webster, adding that other Prince William teachers have warned her about her page. “At the same time, my work and social lives are completely separate. I just feel they shouldn’t take it seriously. I am young. I just turned 22.”

Considering how many lawyers we have in this area (along with a corresponding number of paranoid school administrators), it’s pretty much a matter of time before this person gets fired.

However, I’m not sure it really matters (and not because she may have lousy judgement).

Many beginning teachers don’t really see their time in the classroom as a career, more as simply a job to hold for a while until they decide to do something else.

Studies regularly show that more than 30% of new teachers will bail out before their fifth year, so likely they’re leaving anyway.

And that probably also says something about the way our society views the teaching profession in the first place.

[*Of course, an epidemic to the Post could be as little as the four or five examples they located for the article.]

8 Comments Teachers Gone Wild (Online Edition)

  1. Benjamin Baxter

    The Post is usually pretty good about that — I can’t believe they don’t cite a survey or something.

    And what is risque? I doubt it’s like she’s showing cleavage or anything. Would Charlie the Unicorn be risque? I certainly hope not. That thing ain’t ever leavin’ my profile.

  2. Pingback: » Just What We Need: More Negative Publicity In Another Place: thinking about education

  3. KarenR

    I actually talked to the reporter last week and I think he was a little disappointed that I didn’t have any gory stories of my WM students and their facebook pages. I told him I was actually trying to encourage social networking among teachers! Here’s my response: http://tinyurl.com/4x3ujo

  4. PLCweb

    If they start demanding we be all virgins, like in the old days, I’m leaving the teaching profession. I’m just saying …

    The one person (in addition to parents of disabled children) who should have the right to use the word retard and drink heavily, are the teachers who are willing to work with ED kids all day. God bless her. She’s as much of a hero as any Veteran of war.

    OK, so she should take her workplace off, other than that, leave her and other teachers alone!

  5. Dave

    I think professionals have a 100% right to a personal life and that their employer has no right to dictate what happens there as long as they show up prepared, awake, sober, and ready to work hard.

    That said, once you publicly identify yourself in your personal life (read: on your Facebook profile) as an employee of an organization, you yourself have blurred that line and made the situation more difficult for everyone. Friends-only has always been a good idea for people who want to keep their jobs.

  6. Speakum

    Maybe some of the reasons you mentioned here leads the professors of the University of Maastricht to not use the University of Maastricht Blog.

    Yet I am asking: What are they afraid of?

    That someone will twist the words and change the meaning? To my mind the same can happen when you publish a paper.

    Besides some teachers may express themselves on facebook, for instance, to merely get attention.

  7. Jim Gates

    This amazes me, too. I saw some SHOCKING pages that teachers have made. Not only were the pictures TOTALLY inappropriate (for most non-adult sites) but the descriptions they wrote about their.. night life.. were unbelievable. One was a third grade teacher! How they can POSSIBLY believe that their publicly displayed private life is unrelated to their ability to be effective in the classroom is beyond me. These pages were in the yahoo 360 blogs, not facebook, but the result is the same. Just amazing.

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