Teachers and Facebook

My friends from Battlefield remember keenly my often-articulated feeling that teachers and students on Facebook don’t mix. Some may be surprised that I, as an instructional technology leader, would dissuade teachers from engaging students in their most authentic and oft-used communications domain.

In short, the risks outweigh the benefits. Teachers can’t be effective when they aren’t employed.

As TIME reports, Missouri has just passed a law banning teachers from communicating with students through social media, including Facebook. My message to my new Patriot colleagues is simple: there are viable substitutes. Don’t take this as a sign that we shouldn’t communicate effectively with our students, but rather as a wise admonition that the way we operate must be of the highest standard when it comes to professionalism, transparency, and accountability. We can do that.

If you’ve used Facebook for curricular or managerial causes in the past, and are concerned about this trend, please stop in and see me so we can identify your needs and wants, and develop an alternative system taking advantage of the tools at our disposal to ensure that the bridge between the living room and the classroom is robust and effective, but also transparent and safe. Our role as mentors in our community and public servants is well-served by including these high-ethical-standard aspects in any system we design.

I, for one, am unconcerned about this trend. For our schools, it simply means we must be more diligent and thoughtful when designing our learning, assessment, and information platforms. I have confidence that we at Yorktown have the team, the resources, and the vision to get it done.