There has been a debate over teachers having social media accounts on web sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media has impacted every aspect of our lives and is something that can have both positive and negative outcomes. When it comes to being a teacher, there are many reasons both for and against using social media like Twitter or Facebook.
1. One advantage of using social media if you are a teacher is that you can offer help to a student outside of the classroom. Sometimes you might have a student that does not understand what is going on during the time you have in class and it can be hard to find time during the school day to tutor them. Having a Twitter account or Facebook account allows you to be accessible to any student who has a question about a homework assignment or other assignment you have given them. You can post a questions and answers section on your social media account which could address common misconceptions about that particular assignment. It would benefit the students who have trouble understanding assignments if the teacher was able to answer questions outside of school using social media.
2. You would be able to give out homework assignments to your students during a snow day or while on a holiday vacation. Students miss a lot of possible assignments during holidays or snow days, so having a social media account could give the teacher an opportunity to assign homework. The teacher could post an assignment for the students even if they are not in school and then the students could pass the message to others in the class. Assigning work even when not in school can help the students prepare for upcoming tests and make them more responsible.
3. The teacher could also post extra credit assignments through their social media account such as Facebook or Twitter. For the students who have access to the Internet, it would be a great way to earn extra credit while they are surfing around on their computer. The teacher could post one extra credit assignment per week and then the students who bring in the correct answer could receive bonus points in the classroom. A teacher could also post a question on Twitter and then the first person to answer it using Twitter could get a bonus on the next test. Using the social media tools can help the student earn extra credit by doing various small trivia questions outside of the classroom.
4. Having a teacher use social media can also help the communication between the teacher and students in the classroom. Sometimes a student will have a problem either in the classroom or outside of the classroom and feel uncomfortable talking about it around other students. If the teacher has a social media account such as Facebook, a student in need will be able to talk to the teacher in a comfortable setting where no other children can see or hear what is going on. For example, if a student is being bullied in the class then they can use Facebook to tell the teacher what is going on. Being able to talk to the teacher about the issue outside of school is better for the student because they do not feel like a snitch and it can be easier to talk over the Internet than in person. If there is a problem at home and the student does not feel comfortable talking about it in person, the student can use Facebook to alert the teacher to any issues that need attention. Allowing the teacher to have a social media account will better the trust and relationship between the student and teacher.
5. A teacher who has a social media account such as Twitter or Facebook can also make it easier for a parent to contact them. A lot of parents have social networking accounts as well so it would be an easy way for a parent to keep an eye on their child. The parent could talk to the teacher using Facebook and can get a better understanding of how their child is doing in class and if there is anything the child needs to improve on. Instead of going to a parent-teacher conference, the parent could utilize social media for updates on their child. Letting a parent have easier access to the teacher using social media will ultimately increase the success of the child.
1. Social media has increased the inappropriate relationships between a teacher and student over the last few years. With easier access to the students, some teachers have begun acting inappropriately while using websites like Twitter or Facebook. Teacher and student relationships are frowned upon usually and social media has allowed an easier way for the people involved to have an out-of-school relationship. We all have heard stories of a teacher and student getting romantically involved and social media just makes this a bigger possibility. The teacher would be able to message a particular student and meet with them at a location that might be unknown to anyone else. There definitely is a line between appropriate talk with your student online and the sometimes unacceptable advances by a teacher.
2. Social media has also been to blame for people getting fired, usually by posting something negative about the employer involved. A teacher having a social media account is just one more way that a teacher can get fired for saying something bad about the school district. Teachers sometimes forget that other people can see what they post online, either posting inappropriate pictures or talking about the employer. People have been fired for calling in sick and then posting party pictures from that day on their social media account. You also have to be careful because you can get fired if you say something negative about the employer, another employee or the company. Social media has pretty much made it easier for someone to fire you, which is something teachers need to think about before clicking the signup button.
3. There is always a student a teacher has to deal with who does not like them, which might become a problem if the teacher has a social media account like Facebook. Having a social media account could make the teacher more susceptible for a student to harass them or send them degrading messages. There are always immature children who use social media to bully other people or send horrible pictures and this could be sent to a teacher. If a student does not like a particular teacher, then that teacher could be cyber bullied or harassed by that student using Facebook or Twitter. When a teacher uses Facebook, they need to keep in mind that nasty comments could be made on their account or horrible pictures could be sent to them. Being harassed or bullied by a student is something that most teachers do not think about when they have a social media account, but it can happen.
4. Teachers who have social media accounts also could be more vulnerable to losing the interest of their class. If a teacher has a social media account then it might make the students think they do not have to listen in class because they can just ask the teacher online about the assignment. Social media is great for a student who has a question but it could be abused if the students think they all can just ask the teacher online about their homework. Some students might think that they can just ignore the teacher during class because they will repeat the assignment on their social media account later. Having easier access to the teacher might make the students become lazy and it could cause a headache for the teacher.
5. Teachers would also have to be careful about what they post on their social media account or else it could lead to problems in the classroom. As a teacher, you should not post very personal information online through Facebook such as the location where you live or if you are home by yourself. Posting personal information that your students could see might lead to either a student harassing you personally or it could have professional consequences. You do not want your students to see you in a compromising position such as in a semi-nude photograph or breastfeeding your child. It is also a good idea to stay away from personal information because you do not want the students to know if you went out drinking on a Sunday night before school on Monday. There are certain things you should not post online for people to see if you are a teacher, which sometimes people forget about. If you post that you are home alone or out drinking, the students might lose respect for you or harass you both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. A student could also find out where you live if you post things such as your phone number or other personal information and it can lead to harassment as well. If you want to make personal posts online then you should get a second account with an altered name so that the students can not contact you.
As you can tell, social media has both negative and positive possibilities for the student and teacher relationship. Social media can be a great thing for a teacher but guidelines should always be in place to protect the integrity of the school and privacy of the teacher. By setting policies on social media use for teachers, you can enhance the learning experience of the students and help them succeed. Social media is like anything else, there are always going to be people who abuse or misuse the concept but it is a great learning tool.