Eating the Paste on Facebook

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

MySpace is NOT YourSpace!

Ok I readily admit that I'm a FaceBook junkie. I love looking at photos of my friends doing stupid things. I love sharing my favorite books online with friends who live in other states. I get a kick out of being able to communicate with my friends who live in other countries like say, Canada. The only thing I don't like is the shift in boundaries that these sites sometimes create.

The other day Nick managed to find my MySpace page. Now, I'm extremely careful with what I post on my public pages because I do value my job and I prefer to keep my private life still semi private. I share my photography, I talk about what movies I've seen or I comment on a news item so I feel I have little to worry about in that regard. My students would never learn anything about me that they didn't already know from having spent time in my classroom. I also know that a kid like Nick is in desperate need of a positive connection with an adult and as he's a former student, I don't mind trading messages with him now and then. In the course of considering all this, I also found that another of my former students also has a MySpace page. This time I made the first move and sent him a message to ask him how he was doing in school, how his mother was, and how it felt to be 16 and back in public schools. I wonder though, would I do the same if one of my current students tried to add me?

Truthfully I don't think I would allow any of my public school students, current or even former, to add me on MySpace or FaceBook. I see a pretty vast distinction between the types of students I have worked with. The kids in the residential really don't know how to form friendships or relationships with anyone, especially adults. I find myself developing bonds with those students that I don't feel the public school kids need. I also believe that the public school kids don't need a window into my life. It's a very professional environment in public school with a very clear boundary between teacher and student, a facet of my current job that I actually enjoy. These kids have homes, they have parents, they have friends. I don't need to be their "friend" in any way.

That being said, you out there who are also teachers, what do you think? I've read countless articles arguing both sides of the coin. Some articles have even suggested that FaceBook, with it's ability to post video and chat live, may be the classroom of the future. FaceBook may become the central meeting place for student and teacher to conduct class, a concept I'm not sure I'm really looking forward to. Either way, I'm glad to have gotten in touch with a couple of my DarkSide kids and am equally grateful that most of my current students are too lazy to search for me online!


  1. I think it is fine to communicate with anyone. We are human, we socialize. Teachers are huge in any child's life, and making a connection with a teacher can only be good (unless the connection includes, you know, bodily fluids, precious as they are and all).

    It's like hugging. As a man (?), when I hug a kid, or allow them to hug me, I am confident some people think that is perverted or something; I've heard it! Well, we know it's actually good. Humans hug, dammit!

    As long as your facebook or myspace pages don't have dangerous (risque, foul, naked, liberal) stuff, who frickin' cares? All the concern is just silly season.

    Have you always been hilarious? Just curious.

  2. My mother tells me that, yes I have always been hilarious. But she can't be trusted. She finds humor in some very strange places...

  3. It's easy to forget that when you type stuff into the computer you're also potentially communicating with an infinite number of people. As long as you, or anybody else regardless of their profession, remember that there's absolutely nothing inappropriate about it. IMO. Not as a teacher. Just an interloper.

  4. Great minds think alike... I just posted about the same topic this week, sparking a discussion about the same issues: Psychology Today Talks Social Networking Issues.

    Besides what I wrote about, I notice that I tend to post as little as possible on social networking sites, even about completely innocuous things I'm interested in. That coupled with the privacy controls I use mean that it's very hard to connect with people with similar interests unless you meet them offline or in some other capacity. Thus the only people I socialize with are people I already know, which is great, but leaves me wanting. Such is the curse of the teacher.