If you use social media and your students do, too, things can get tricky unless you have clearly defined boundaries. Follow these tips to avoid social media faux pas.
You might be an amazing teacher who both students and colleagues admire, but inappropriate social media behavior has the power to damage your reputation almost instantly. Everything you post online, from shared links to pictures and memes is a direct reflection on you.
Below are some cardinal rules educators must know before using social media both in and out of the classroom.
1. Get to know your school’s, county’s, and state’s social media guidelines for employees. If you are unsure where to find this information, ask a superior to direct you. There may already be rules set in place by your district regarding what employees can and cannot post on social media.
2. Under no circumstance should you ever “friend” or “follow” your students on your personal social media accounts. If they request to follow you, always decline. This rule goes for students of all ages.
3. If you have a public Twitter, TikTok, or Instagram account, you may have to block any students who start following you. Keep on top of this and regularly check your new followers. You can verbally let your students know that it is not okay for them to be following you on social media until after they graduate.
4. Don’t use any photos that you wouldn’t want your boss to see as your profile picture. This means no tiny bikini photos, no pictures from your partying days, and nothing that shows usage of alcohol or drugs.
5. Be aware of your privacy settings. Even when you restrict viewing capabilities from certain people, many times they are still accessible to people outside your inner circle. Many social media apps also change their settings quite frequently, so make sure your profile is up to date on the latest privacy settings.
6. Never post a photo of your students to your personal social media account. It is not your place to post photos of other people’s children online, even if the student says it’s okay.
7. There are hilarious videos on TikTok and Instagram about how grueling teaching a bunch of 6-year-old’s can be – and for the most part they are harmless and entertaining – but there is a fine line between being funny and offensive. Before you go posting your own take on #teacherlife, make sure you are staying within respectful limits.