Since becoming a teacher, any headline about the profession catches my attention and it seems like every week I read another article about a teacher getting fired or put on probation for an inappropriate tweet, blog, or facebook posting. Out of curiosity I searched “teacher fired facebook” and got 3,490,000 hits. “HS teacher loses job over Facebook posting” “Teacher Fired After Candid Facebook Comments” “Teacher Sues after being fired for Facebook Pics” It goes on and on. One teacher took a picture of a student’s hair, posted it on facebook and added a comment making fun of the girl’s hairstyle. Ultimately the girl’s mother saw the photo and the teacher’s comment.
Even if I accept the fact that American culture seems to no longer have any problem with adults insulting and tearing down kids (see: the entire Internet v. Rebecca Black), I can’t accept any educated adult expecting tweets and blogs to be private. The whole point of twitter is to communicate with many people instantaneously. This is not the place to discuss hiring a hitman to take care of your students.
I’ve only been teaching for four months but that is more than enough time to understand every teacher has days when she needs to vent. Venting is healthy. Venting fosters sanity. Venting should NEVER be done on the Internet. Unless you are Bill Maher and people follow you on Twitter specifically for the insults you hurl in 140 characters, do not post rants about your students, their parents or your administration online. Talk to your partner over dinner. Talk to your friends over drinks. Write it in a diary and save it for the bestselling memoir you’ll write when you’ve retired. Don’t update your Facebook status.
I agree with commenters who think teachers are held to unfairly high standard. The Georgia teacher fired because of a picture of her drinking Guinness at the Guinness factory is an example. Teachers are human and should not be fired for being such. I’m just waiting for the moment my pregnant and gassy body lets one rip in front of an entire class of teenagers. I hope it doesn’t get me fired. The experience will be scarring enough as it is.
However, typing and uploading your darkest thoughts in a fit of frustration or getting a few laughs from buddies at the expense of a child is unprofessional at best. Exerting some self control is a defining characteristic of an adult. And don’t argue an expectation of privacy because honestly, if you think something defined by the term “network” is an intimate forum, you should not be teaching.
So I just realized I followed up a post on not judging other parents with one judging other teachers. Hmmm. Oh well. No one’s perfect. Gosh, it really is hard to keep opinions to yourself.