Today’s public announcement by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) warned that there would be consequences in having a Facebook account accessible to pupils. This has caused a somewhat mixed response; some say teachers’ should have the same liberties as you or I, and others expect them to keep their personal lives hidden.
I think to impose a ban on Facebook would be almost impossible to regulate and would merely add to this ‘nanny state’ the Daily Mail loves to rave about. Schools should advise new teachers of the repercussions, so they are made very aware that their images and wall posts are in public view. It is then the teacher’s decision whether or not to have a social networking website, to change their privacy settings or to use a pseudonym. If the contents of their website are misused by pupils, then they are culpable. To have images manipulated or comments made in class, ultimately loses the teacher’s respectability. If a teacher does not have the respect from their pupils, they will not succeed; thus, giving a school a valid reason to remove a teacher from their post.
I find it odd how perceptions have changed; once teachers were the pillars of society, but now they are seen to be ‘one of us’. As a parent, I want teachers to be smarter than me, well-educated and have a high standing in the community. They should be reserved and informed, happy they have chosen a vocation where they have such an influence in our children’s lives; not living for the weekend, where they intend to sit pint in hand in the local Wetherspoons. They have an obligation to uphold this demure exterior and ensuring their reputation stays intact.
I do not agree with schools imposing rules, but I do think teachers should want to be perceived as professional, in and out of school. If politicians and celebrities can live their lives without writing on each others’ walls and tagging photos, I am sure teachers can. Your memories are your own.