Digital Footprints for Teachers & Students

I think its important for teachers to have a digital footprint that shows their professional strengths. Having a class website or teaching blog can show an administrator that you care about communication and are passionate about what you do.  It also shows that you are comfortable with technology.  I have a Facebook account, but have very restricted settings.  Only friends, not friends of friends, can see my posts and photos.  No one can search for me or read any of my information.  I don’t want that picture of me holding a glass of wine at the staff Christmas party to be the reason I one day don’t get a job.  My second year teaching in North Carolina, a teacher was fired for things that were posted on Facebook.  Our district sent out a warning email to all teachers telling us that if we had a MySpace or Facebook page that we should make sure our privacy settings and content were appropriate.  Ever since then I have been cautious.  I love my job and don’t want to lose it over something as stupid as a Facebook post.  Our administrators have admitted to me that they will Google a candidate to see what comes up.  They have seen DUI photos of teachers and many other things.  All teachers should Google themselves to see what comes up, because possible bosses will be doing the same.
With students I feel they have to be able to see that something bad has actually happened before they will believe it can happen.  We have all heard parents or teachers say things to us like “Don’t jump out of that tree. My friend jumped out of a tree and broke her arm when she was little!”  For most of us, we thought “Whatever” and we jumped out of the tree. However one day when our friend jumped out of the tree and came to school with a cast we began to be more cautious.  The evidence of injury was right in front of us.  Showing students actual problems that have arisen from other students using Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites is a great way to show them exactly what can happen if they choose to share things that may be inappropriate.  The links below show teachers and students who have been fired for various reasons, all surrounding some type of information found on Twitter or Facebook.  Show students that everything they have been working for all these years can be taken away in a second because of not thinking and posting something online.
Teachers Fired Over Social Networking

Students Suspended or Expelled for Social Networking

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