Saturday, December 27, 2008

Should Teachers Become Virtual "Friends" With Their Students?

Interesting question from a story in the Houston Chronicle. This is real uncharted territory. The story does mention an inappropriate Facebook exchange between a 42-year-old former high school aid and a 16-year-old former student. The story depicts such stories as "rare" - but I don't really know if that's the case or not. I'm not sure anyone knows for sure. I am in facebook and I am "friends" with current and past students. I am very careful with what I post on facebook - my students, not so much. I have made it a policy not to seek out students, but instead let them request me as a facebook friend. Students have told me that it can be "creepy" to have a parent, teacher or other adult in facebook.

I'm not using facebook in an official school capacity, instead I use it to interact with colleagues, friends and family, and current and past students. There's a lot of value in these interactions, but like any technology, we have to be aware of the potential misuse.
Can teachers be students' Facebook friends?
What seems like an easy question — Will you be my friend? — is not necessarily so for teachers who have joined the Facebook phenomenon.

The social-networking Web site, whose popularity has grown from the college crowd down to teens and up to boomers, poses a prickly question for teachers who want to connect with their tech-savvy students yet maintain professional boundaries.

Should teachers become virtual "friends" with their students?

1 comment:

annb said...

Yes, I'm with you Mike. I also use facebook only in an unofficial capacity, do not request students and/or minors to be my friends (although I will accept their requests) and I am aware that anything I post is very public no matter how many filters or blocks I put up. I would like to know how others are navigating these waters....


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