Friends with your Teachers

Posted: April 18, 2012 in Unbounded Learning

I was reading this article on MSNBC about teachers and students being friends on Facebook. Most of the issue is coming from the younger folks (high school kids and younger). That makes sense since there’s a bunch of minors in that level so Facebook stuff can be dangerous especially because some teachers can be so creepy.

Asian Teacher Meme

Think about how different the issue would be if they discussed professors and college kids being friends on Facebook. I’m pretty sure us kids would be volunteering to NOT be friends with our professors. I mean, I’ve had crushes on some of my professors and I cannot trust myself to not be creepy to them should I have befriended them on Facebook.

Also because us college kids understand (theoretically) that whatever we post on Facebook can possibly bite us in the ass. How are you going to get that extension on your paper when your prof could clearly see on your timeline that you were too busy drinking to write your paper?

According to the article:

Am I the only one who thinks this is bad practice? When these high school kids get to college, their professors won’t care if they don’t read their emails. These professors have better things to do with their time than come after their students for whatever. Instead, using this reason just makes it sound like these teachers are just letting “youngsters” run amok with laziness. I mean, how hard can it be to open your email?

Personally, I’d never friend a professor on Facebook. Too much of my personal life on there that I’m uncomfortable to share with someone responsible for giving me grades that could potentially make it easier for me to find a job or someone who may write me a recommendation letter later on. I probably would friend them if they were one of the more casual instructors I’ve had who swore in class and was totally fine with me swearing on my papers. And if I had absolutely no chance of being in their class again.

Would you add a professor to your Facebook?

  1. Yeeeesh. Well your creepiness aside Alex, I think there is enough creep around this issue to scare a bus full of 3rd graders. After reading the article, I think the issue should be centered around the roles that educators play instead of a 1st amendment issue, and at the end of the day the student/educator relationship should be a professional one. An argument can be made for all the different roles teachers find themselves in on any given day: psychologists, spiritual advisors, abuse watchdogs, parent etc., and that same argument can also apply to the lawsuits many teachers would face if they did not extend these professional courtesies to their ‘clients’. I think students may find this confusing, and the students who are craving attention might be confused by this hot/cold reception from their mentors.
    “So are we friends or what?”
    We cannot simultaneously expect the charactersitics of teachers to resemble those of endlessly patient, caring friends, while also putting the brakes on when the student feels that he/she has made a friend. We need to redefine our expectations for these educators (in my opinion private schools operating locally, not more magnets is the answer) and that expectation should be one that’s echoed in the home and in the classroom.
    Sorry for the rambling. I think a separate facebook page made specifically for the class (like Rousch did in the article) so that teachers can bridge the gap in communication without further confusing the social developments of their students. And basically that’s why Pepsi sucks.

  2. Alex says:

    We do need to define that. Again, back in Philippines we never had a problem with this. It was the parents’ job to raise the kids, the teachers’ job to teach, counselors’ job to counsel and the friends’ job to be friends. I am surprised by the amount of casualness between educators and students in this country. Sure, that kind of relationship makes teachers more approachable and makes them more accessible to their students. But at the same time, it is not their job to be friends and there is always the risk that those relationships can compromise their primary role.

  3. gentry119 says:

    I think that if you are in college and want to add a professor as a friend than there is nothing wrong with it…but for high school students and younger it gets a little creepy. The relationship between teacher and student is just not the same on a high school level as it is a college level. That’s just my opinion. I would probably be a little concerned if my daughter later had teachers as friends on fb…especially if they were male.

    • Alex says:

      I definitely agree. The first thing I’d probably ask if my future kids would be friend with their teachers on FB is: why? There is no need for my child to share his/her personal life with his/her educator and vice-versa.

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