Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teachers - Beware of Your Digital Footprint


My middle school is only a few miles down the road from Niagara University, so it makes sense that we work closely with their school of education. Most of the student teachers in our building come from NU and we also participate in their Learn & Serve program. This is basically a pre-service mentoring and observation field experience opportunity that all education majors must fulfill. It's not as rigorous or time-consuming as student teaching, but the need for cooperating teachers is just as essential.

Yesterday, I received an email from an NU student who wrote to inform me that she had been assigned to my room as her Fall Learn and Serve placement. She went on to explain that even though her placement was supposed to be for a full day on a routine basis, she wanted to come for half a day on an irregular schedule because she had a full time job.

Sensing trouble, I copied and pasted this girl’s email address into Facebook and quickly discovered her account. Her wall was blocked, but this was of little use because the profile picture of her drinking with her friends was more than enough to confirm my suspicions. This was not the kind of pre-service teacher I wanted in my room.

This is not a unique story. Increasingly each year, professionals find themselves in difficult spots as a result of poor decisions with regard to their digital footprint.

So to all you pre-service teachers (all teachers, really) – be safe. And don’t take pictures of the stupid things that you do.

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3 Responses:

Tonya Pruitt said...

Wow, I can't believe that she would even request to "only stay half a day".

What is it with today's young adults? They all seem to think a free ride is what they'll get for everything.

I'm sorry but if you're looking to be a "good example" for someone then it's not wise to post pictures on Face Book that aren't showing a very good example.

I commend you for not allowing this behavior to enter your classroom!!

John said...

@Tonya,
Thank you for the comments. I was hoping this post wouldn't come across as too harsh. After all, this girl was a pre-service teacher so she can't be more than 22 or so. She still needs to learn that this type of behavior is not acceptable. She was made aware of my concerns, and hopefully she learns from her mistakes!

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

@Tonya, I'm 21 yrs old and I've worked hard for everything I've ever had in my whole life. From a socio-economic nightmare, I'm pulling myself up out of the gutter one day at a time. So before you go saying things like "today's young adults" come to my neighbourhood and you'll see people I grew up with whose parents could barely feed them, trying to move out of public housing. Most of us work nights and go to school during the day.

As a pre-service teacher and social advocate, I know that everything I put online is there forever. That's why not only do I not have a Facebook but also I act responsibly at every moment of the day.

By not drinking and living a fairly straightedge lifestyle. That's also why I will post this anonymously.