Privacy and free speech rights permit you to maintain and submit information on the Internet, including postings on Facebook and Twitter, and other social websites. However, you must consider how the information you post may be interpreted and used by colleagues, parents, administrators, and, above all, students. When you decide to post personal and private information on the web, you run the risk of having that information be used publicly, and its use may not be to your benefit. Please consider that:
- Administrators, parents, and mentors browse postings on social networks, forming first impressions and judging the moral character of pre-service and practicing teachers.
- Although you cannot fully control how others judge you, you can control the information from which others make judgments.
- As adults, students will look to you to model appropriate behaviors and choices. Students may not be able to distinguish between adult choices and appropriate behaviors for children.
- Maintain separate sites for professional and personal use.
- Do not share your username or personal web-addresses or social network accounts with students.
- If you do have personal web-space, like Facebook, arrange for it to be password protected and readable only by friends or chosen members.
- Do not permit anyone to post on your site without your approval.
- Set your privacy settings for pictures so that you would have to approve them if you are tagged in them.
- If you know that a student has accessed your personal site, make it clear to the student that this is an inappropriate way to communicate with you.
Misuse of social media may result in your removal from a Field Experience, in which case you would receive a grade of Unsatisfactory and will have to retake the course. This will also prevent you from moving onto student teaching. In extreme cases of misuse of social media, you may be removed from the teacher education program.
Read more on the Pennsylvania State Education Association website.