© 2012 Andi Stix
After receiving several requests, I prepared a professional set of guidelines to protect teachers who want to use social media to communicate with their students. Schools want to ensure that social media will not be abused by any teacher and that innocent students will not be harmed by the content posted. When mindfully and prudently used, social media is a great tool.
Teachers today may feel they are being subjected to the Orwellian world of “Big Brother,” where every post is the object of close scrutiny and surveillance. As social media is often public and can be viewed by local media, parents and students alike, I recommend that you abide by the following suggestions:
Separating Personal from Professional Use
1. Do not share your personal information with students.
2. Do not friend, follow, comment, or post on your students’ Facebook, Twitter, etc., pages.
3. Maintain two separate email accounts: one for your personal use and the other for your professional use.
Permissions and Usage
4. Request approval from your supervisor before using a social media platform with your students.
5. Before posting student pictures, be sure to receive parental consent.
6. Do not allow students to post other pictures of students. It is recommended that they send you the pictures and you post them to maintain proper control and etiquette.
7. Screen all comments before allowing them to be posted, and turn them on and off when appropriate to meet the objectives of the lesson.
8. Do not tag photos or videos with personal information of students.
Professionalism and Monitoring
9. Do not accept student’s invitations to join their social media platforms as they, not you, are in control of the content.
10. Apply the same level of professionalism to your posts on social media as if you were sending a letter to your principal. If your posts are public, school systems may have the right to monitor your social media sites, whether they are personal or professional. You don’t want to be surprised, so use good judgment!
Andi Stix is an educational consultant & coach who specializes in differentiation, interactive learning, writing across the curriculum, classroom coaching and gifted education. For further information on her specialties or social media, please email her on the Contact page.
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