Careful what you post online

We’ve all had a moment when a student said, did or wrote something silly. Sometimes these things are intentional, other times they are genuine mistakes. They can make us laugh or bang our foreheads in frustration.

Don’t take a photo and post it online. Never.

There’s a trend at the moment on teaching association Facebook pages to share funny things students have written in responses. It’s understandable why teachers do this – it lets them release the tension through laughter, and find sympathy with colleagues who have been in similar situations.

Here’s why you shouldn’t do it: all social media is considered public. It’s very hard to ensure that Facebook groups don’t have parents or students in them. This means that people other than teachers might be reading your posts. And they might not get the joke.

Teachers are public figures, very open to public scrutiny, and you are accountable for what you post. Please consider very carefully before posting about students’ conduct or work. It is actually a breach of student confidentiality, and you may be breaking at least three descriptors from the Standards simultaneously:

5.5.2 – Report clearly, accurately and respectfully to students and parents/carers about student achievement [yes, posting on social media may be considered feedback to students and parents].

7.1.2 – Meet codes of ethics and conduct established by regulatory authorities, systems and schools. [Before you post, consider whether it is ethical? Is it good conduct?]

7.3.2 – Establish and maintain respectful collaborative relationships with parents/carers regarding their children’s learning and wellbeing. [When posting, consider whether it will undermine the relationship between the school and the parents, let alone you and the parents.]

If you need to let off steam and joke, keep it verbal, and keep it to people you know and trust (not the web). Don’t leave yourself open to accusations when all you needed was a laugh.

Amy Cotton
Professional Officer