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My text tone sound rings from in my pocket as I sit on my bed scribbling in my notebook. I figured it would be just another text from one of my dramatic friends about "who said what" or what they just "could not believe". I figured it would be just another conversation I was attempting to avoid. Ding ding. I slip my phone out into my hand and glance down at the screen. What I see looks unlike anything close to what I was expecting. The text that popped up on my screen shocked me, not to mention that it had nothing to do with me. This person had just messaged me insulting one of my fellow students and asked me to intervene in their problems. They had asked me to get involved with an argument they had noticed on social media. This may sound like a common situation; one in which would seem like another pointless, dramatic high school squabble; the one that I was trying to avoid. However, this time was different. If I didn't do what this person was asking me to, I would be in big trouble. It wasn't like the text I figured I would receive. So what made this situation so different? It was simple, really. The person messaging me was none other than my high school teacher. The situation in which a teacher gets involved in student affairs outside of school hours happens more often than you'd expect, especially with the booming appearance of new social media websites. Joshua Fechter, reporter from My SA San Antonio, states, "Over the past three school years, the number of investigations opened by the Texas Education Agency on allegations of inappropriate relationships has increased, from 141 during the 2009-10 academic year to 179 in 2013-14". This arises the question of whether or not a teacher should face suspension for negative interaction with students through communicative technology. If a teacher insults a student's character or steps in on student vs. student conflict occurring outside of school related activities, then that should qualify as grounds for suspension. A teacher's job exists within the school walls. Their job entitles teaching the students the material they are required to teach, and then returning home to their life outside of the school. The student is free from the authority of the teacher from the time of the dismissal bell until the following day. The student and teacher both experience the freedom of the First Amendment, however, unspoken limitations exist between a student- teacher relationship. These limitations ensure the privacy of both the teacher and student, and minimize the threat of a possible lawsuit regarding inappropriate relationships. As children grow older, their maturity level increases to that of many young teachers, and relationships with teachers become more of a friendship versus how we saw teachers when we were younger: as role models. We begin to realize negative qualities in our advisors that, at a young age, we never would have noticed. The complication we face in today's society depends on "how far is too far" when it comes to a relationship between a student and their teacher. Government officials find it difficult to decide on a particular ruling for such a general topic, because many cases have such different backgrounds. For example, a student may have a teacher's number saved in their phone because they went on an overnight school trip with their class, or because a journalism class requires constant outside of the classroom contact in order to acquire stories. The interaction when a teacher communicates with a student about a school related subject seems appropriate because, after all, the teacher's job consists of communication within their subject field. However, the lines become blurry when a teacher begins getting involved with students on social media, a place where students rarely mention schoolwork. Any interaction through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media deems highly inappropriate. If a teacher would like to contact their student, they should keep the conversation strictly professional by typing their message in either an e-mail or, if necessary, a text. Social media involvement creates stress on the shoulders of both student and teacher. The teacher must constantly be aware of posts they make public when they have students who view their page. ABC reporters, Ki Mae Heussner and Dalia Fahmy write, "Talvitie-Siple, a supervisor of the high school math and science program in Cohasset, Mass., was forced to resign this week after parents spotted Facebook comments she wrote describing students as "germ bags" and parents as "snotty" and "arrogant."" Consequences will become a reality when teachers are ignorant in what they post online, however, students may face the same issue. A teacher's responsibility for their students is relieved once the dismissal bell rings, although, not all teachers understand this concept. Many teachers involved on social media believe that they have a duty to look out for their students and intervene whenever a conflict arises. They believe that they have acquired authority through the school that gives them the power to enforce consequences when a student misbehaves on social media. In return, students become wary of their posts online in fear of an unfair grade, or worse, consequences. Teachers have no right to step into conflicts and situations on social media in which they have no involvement in. They have responsibility of their students strictly during school hours and, therefore, have no grounds or authority to step into a student's life outside of the school building; much less, get other students involved by instilling fear for their grades. Once a student graduates from a class, a teacher no longer has any authority over the student, and a teacher determines the level of involvement with graduates on social media. However, while a student still remains enrolled in a teacher's class, social media interaction should be strictly prohibited. Involvement on social media brings out the worst in people and can reveal true inner thoughts or intentions, which can sometimes be insulting to another person. Some may characterize the situation in which a teacher insults a student's character to another student as "a private affair". Although this gossip was spoken indirectly, the pain behind the words still hurts just as badly when discovered as it would have if the teacher had intentionally confronted the student. Indirect gossip, also known as verbal abuse, hurts, and a high school teacher, an adult, should know better than to participate in such childish drama. A teacher stands as a representation of the school they work for, so any inappropriate behavior should result in serious consequences for putting the school's reputation in jeopardy. The occasion in which a teacher insults a student through communicative technology, however, classifies as even more inappropriate. After the incident in which a Longmont teacher lost her job for posting insults of one of her students, Bob Smith, the president of St. Vrain's school board, said, "We would take bullying from anyone absolutely seriously, and particularly from a teacher. Student wellbeing is our number one priority. Without a strong sense of wellbeing, students can't learn" (Burness). Teachers and peers have a responsibility for establishing a sense of wellbeing within those around them in order to ensure a safe learning environment. When a teacher interacts with students negatively on social media, this sense of well being creates an uncomfortable environment for the students within the classroom and online. When it comes down to it, teachers should respect the privacy and personal lives of those around them. The complications that arise through social media are completely unnecessary to the profession of a school teacher, and in order to maintain equality, state legislatures should be responsible for the determination of boundaries between students and teachers on social media sites. This would establish uniformity throughout the whole state which would clear the lines for court cases regarding the uncertainty of the matter. The decision for the states to make seems pretty clear and, to be honest, almost obvious. A teacher's job does not consist of punishing students for what they do outside of school. A teacher's job does not consist of intervening in student affairs outside of school. Above all, a teacher's job does not consist of insulting a student's character based off of what they saw online. Teachers and students should not be allowed to interact on social media until the student graduates. After all, how would that situation balance fairly in the end? I glance back down at my phone and my mind races with thousands of different things to say. I know I probably shouldn't say anything back, but I consider my options. I can either respond by standing up for my friends and risking a lower grade, doing nothing and hoping for no consequences for "direct disobedience", or intervening between my friends and risking losing their trust. If you ask me, none of the options sound all that great. No matter how I respond, I lose this battle. Then, the thought hits me. This isn't fair, and in no way could this ever be fair. Maybe teachers shouldn't interact with students online after all.
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Teachers Should Not Interact with Students on Social Media
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Teachers Should Not Interact With Students On Social Media

Words: 1544    Pages: 6    Paragraphs: 11    Sentences: 78    Read Time: 05:36
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              My text tone sound rings from in my pocket as I sit on my bed scribbling in my notebook. I figured it would be just another text from one of my dramatic friends about "who said what" or what they just "could not believe". I figured it would be just another conversation I was attempting to avoid.
              Ding ding.
              I slip my phone out into my hand and glance down at the screen. What I see looks unlike anything close to what I was expecting. The text that popped up on my screen shocked me, not to mention that it had nothing to do with me. This person had just messaged me insulting one of my fellow students and asked me to intervene in their problems. They had asked me to get involved with an argument they had noticed on social media. This may sound like a common situation; one in which would seem like another pointless, dramatic high school squabble; the one that I was trying to avoid. However, this time was different. If I didn't do what this person was asking me to, I would be in big trouble. It wasn't like the text I figured I would receive.
              So what made this situation so different? It was simple, really. The person messaging me was none other than my high school teacher.
              The situation in which a teacher gets involved in student affairs outside of school hours happens more often than you'd expect, especially with the booming appearance of new social media websites. Joshua Fechter, reporter from My SA San Antonio, states, "Over the past three school years, the number of investigations opened by the Texas Education Agency on allegations of inappropriate relationships has increased, from 141 during the 2009-10 academic year to 179 in 2013-14". This arises the question of whether or not a teacher should face suspension for negative interaction with students through communicative technology. If a teacher insults a student's character or steps in on student vs. student conflict occurring outside of school related activities, then that should qualify as grounds for suspension.
              A teacher's job exists within the school walls. Their job entitles teaching the students the material they are required to teach, and then returning home to their life outside of the school. The student is free from the authority of the teacher from the time of the dismissal bell until the following day. The student and teacher both experience the freedom of the First Amendment, however, unspoken limitations exist between a student- teacher relationship. These limitations ensure the privacy of both the teacher and student, and minimize the threat of a possible lawsuit regarding inappropriate relationships.
              As children grow older, their maturity level increases to that of many young teachers, and relationships with teachers become more of a friendship versus how we saw teachers when we were younger: as role models. We begin to realize negative qualities in our advisors that, at a young age, we never would have noticed. The complication we face in today's society depends on "how far is too far" when it comes to a relationship between a student and their teacher. Government officials find it difficult to decide on a particular ruling for such a general topic, because many cases have such different backgrounds. For example, a student may have a teacher's number saved in their phone because they went on an overnight school trip with their class, or because a journalism class requires constant outside of the classroom contact in order to acquire stories. The interaction when a teacher communicates with a student about a school related subject seems appropriate because, after all, the teacher's job consists of communication within their subject field. However, the lines become blurry when a teacher begins getting involved with students on social media, a place where students rarely mention schoolwork.
              Any interaction through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media deems highly inappropriate. If a teacher would like to contact their student, they should keep the conversation strictly professional by typing their message in either an e-mail or, if necessary, a text. Social media involvement creates stress on the shoulders of both student and teacher. The teacher must constantly be aware of posts they make public when they have students who view their page. ABC reporters, Ki Mae Heussner and Dalia Fahmy write, "Talvitie-Siple, a supervisor of the high school math and science program in Cohasset, Mass. , was forced to resign this week after parents spotted Facebook comments she wrote describing students as "germ bags" and parents as "snotty" and "arrogant. "" Consequences will become a reality when teachers are ignorant in what they post online, however, students may face the same issue. A teacher's responsibility for their students is relieved once the dismissal bell rings, although, not all teachers understand this concept. Many teachers involved on social media believe that they have a duty to look out for their students and intervene whenever a conflict arises. They believe that they have acquired authority through the school that gives them the power to enforce consequences when a student misbehaves on social media. In return, students become wary of their posts online in fear of an unfair grade, or worse, consequences.
              Teachers have no right to step into conflicts and situations on social media in which they have no involvement in. They have responsibility of their students strictly during school hours and, therefore, have no grounds or authority to step into a student's life outside of the school building; much less, get other students involved by instilling fear for their grades. Once a student graduates from a class, a teacher no longer has any authority over the student, and a teacher determines the level of involvement with graduates on social media. However, while a student still remains enrolled in a teacher's class, social media interaction should be strictly prohibited.
              Involvement on social media brings out the worst in people and can reveal true inner thoughts or intentions, which can sometimes be insulting to another person. Some may characterize the situation in which a teacher insults a student's character to another student as "a private affair". Although this gossip was spoken indirectly, the pain behind the words still hurts just as badly when discovered as it would have if the teacher had intentionally confronted the student. Indirect gossip, also known as verbal abuse, hurts, and a high school teacher, an adult, should know better than to participate in such childish drama. A teacher stands as a representation of the school they work for, so any inappropriate behavior should result in serious consequences for putting the school's reputation in jeopardy. The occasion in which a teacher insults a student through communicative technology, however, classifies as even more inappropriate. After the incident in which a Longmont teacher lost her job for posting insults of one of her students, Bob Smith, the president of St. Vrain's school board, said, "We would take bullying from anyone absolutely seriously, and particularly from a teacher. Student wellbeing is our number one priority. Without a strong sense of wellbeing, students can't learn" (Burness). Teachers and peers have a responsibility for establishing a sense of wellbeing within those around them in order to ensure a safe learning environment. When a teacher interacts with students negatively on social media, this sense of well being creates an uncomfortable environment for the students within the classroom and online.
              When it comes down to it, teachers should respect the privacy and personal lives of those around them. The complications that arise through social media are completely unnecessary to the profession of a school teacher, and in order to maintain equality, state legislatures should be responsible for the determination of boundaries between students and teachers on social media sites. This would establish uniformity throughout the whole state which would clear the lines for court cases regarding the uncertainty of the matter. The decision for the states to make seems pretty clear and, to be honest, almost obvious. A teacher's job does not consist of punishing students for what they do outside of school. A teacher's job does not consist of intervening in student affairs outside of school. Above all, a teacher's job does not consist of insulting a student's character based off of what they saw online. Teachers and students should not be allowed to interact on social media until the student graduates. After all, how would that situation balance fairly in the end?
              I glance back down at my phone and my mind races with thousands of different things to say. I know I probably shouldn't say anything back, but I consider my options. I can either respond by standing up for my friends and risking a lower grade, doing nothing and hoping for no consequences for "direct disobedience", or intervening between my friends and risking losing their trust. If you ask me, none of the options sound all that great. No matter how I respond, I lose this battle. Then, the thought hits me. This isn't fair, and in no way could this ever be fair. Maybe teachers shouldn't interact with students online after all.
Teacher Essay 
+1
Works Cited
Burness, Alex. "Longmont Teacher out of a Job after Instagram Post Insulting Student." -
Boulder Daily Camera. N.p., 6 Mar. 2015. Web.
Fechter, Joshua. "27% Increase of Inappropriate Student-teacher Relationship Investigations in
Texas." MySA San Antonio's Home Page. Express-News, 29 Oct. 2014. Web.
Heussner, Ki Mae, and Dalia Fahmy. "Teacher Loses Job After Commenting About Students,
Parents on Facebook." ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 Aug. 2010. Web.
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