Teachers Beware!

There was always excitement in school when someone found the social media profile of a teacher. It is a little window into their life that you don’t normally get to see, but ethically there can be issues that occur when a teacher has social media and it is used in the wrong way. Below is a video I created on teachers use of social media:


Teachers are increasingly becoming under pressure in the internet age with social media being a key part of that. With the online world being one of permanence, there is no where for people to hide if they post something silly or somethings interpreted wrong. Teachers are in a position of trust and so the pressure is far higher (Papandrea, 2012), as they are in contact with young people and are suppose to set an example.

Drawing on previous topics, the level at which teachers are allowed to be authentic is lower as they need put on a front that shows them in a good light.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 11.53.07.png

To put that in context teachers need to put extra filters up so that they don’t get caught out like that of Carly McKinney and leave yourself open to the possibility of dismissal. This has gone as far as teachers having to change their names on social media sites like Facebook (Newsbeat, 2015) so they don’t get discovered by students or parents alike. To me this is ethically wrong and unfair to the teacher as they have to live under this identity that isn’t truly them, and this isn’t because of what they do. But what their students do searching them out and potentially getting the teacher into trouble for befriending them or interpreting something that is innocent as something else. Its as teachers have to live a double life to protect themselves due to the actions of others which ethically isn’t fair in my eyes.


It appears that people are increasingly becoming disconnected from the growing online world as they don’t want to lose their place in the real world. Ethically this isn’t fair in my view as the job you do shouldn’t dictate the way you live your life. Freedom of speech (Guardian, 2014) is a right of human life but it appears people are silencing themselves because of potential outcomes. This is ethically unfair, the internet should be something to enjoy not to fear.

(396 words)


In order of Appearance:

  • Feature Image: Taken from here
  • Used in the creation of the Video:
    • Greenwald. G (2014), Why Privacy Matters, TED Talk, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
    • Farberov. S (2013), High school teacher, 23, ‘tweeted nude photos of herself, called her students ‘Jail Bait’ and talked about getting high’, Daily Mail, Available Online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
    • Devine. D (2013), Head teacher’s nightmare after unfair dismissal over Facebook messages, Wales Online, Available Online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
    • Childnet (2011), Social Networking: A guide for Trainee Teachers and NQTs, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016) 
  • Papandrea. M. R (2012) ,Social Media, Public School Teachers and the First Amendment, North Carolina Law Review, v90, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • JoeBurkeBlogs (2016), Are You Getting in the way of You?, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016) 
  • Creation of the Diagram:
    • Milburn. J. F and Nicodemus. R (2016), Authentic People, a blog post, Available online at (last accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • Farberov. S (2013), High school teacher, 23, ‘tweeted nude photos of herself, called her students ‘Jail Bait’ and talked about getting high’, Daily Mail, Available Online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • Newsbeat (2015), This is why some people change their Facebook names, BBC, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • Creation of the Piktochart:
    • University of Leicester (2014), Are UK classrooms outdated? Study finds one in three teachers actively avoids using social media, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • Guardian (2014), Twitter abuse: easy on the messenger, Guardian, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)


Read but not directly used:

  • Ronson. J (2015), How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life, The New York Times, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • Kelion. L (2013), UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows, BBC, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)
  • Kleinman. Z (2015), Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer, BBC, Available online at (Last Accessed 22nd November 2016)

17 thoughts on “Teachers Beware!

  1. Hi Joe,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog this week! I can really relate to the excitement of finding the teacher on social media as I can remember someone in a science class of mine found our chemistry teacher’s University Challenge video on YouTube. It made for a very entertaining class!

    I found your video especially interesting as I wasn’t aware that people could find your information even with the highest privacy settings in place. This is something I will definitely bear in mind in the future as I am very conscious of this, especially when it comes to potential employers.

    I see that you don’t agree that teachers should change their names to prevent students from finding them on social media as they are not portraying their true identity. Obviously, there is a serious issue with students finding and contacting teachers on Facebook as it is extremely inappropriate. What do you think teachers should do to prevent this instead of changing their names?



    1. Hi Emma,

      Changing their names is a very effective way of ‘hiding’ themselves from their student, but it does create confusion and can also mean they lose out on possible connections because they are under a different name, which is unfair on them and isn’t what these platforms are about. They are there to be enjoyed and not feared.

      Instead they could do something like locking their friends lists down, or Facebook or other social media platforms could create more settings that mean you can lock out certain age groups so that these situations can’t occur and they will feel safer online?

      It is a hard balance to get as a teacher and then having a life outside of that so these companies need to consider setting changes to help there users feel completely safe.



      1. Hi Joe,

        I didn’t realise you could lock out certain ages on Facebook, I thought it was only tinder that let you choose what ages you socialise with? Do you not think that this could potentially encourage people to lie about their age, which would potentially make it pointless?



    2. Hi Emma,

      I don’t think Facebook has a system of locking out different age groups, it was a suggestion I thought of that could make the problem easier to deal with. There would be an issue in that people could lie about there age and get around this filter mechanism that I suggested but it may discourage people to look as it would really be a lot of work for a student to do just in hope of finding a teachers profile.



    1. Hi Adrian,

      Can I ask how you came across my blog? It would be very interesting because I never thought my blog would be seen outside of this course.

      As for your link it is very interesting and has given me another source of material that can develop my view on this further. Teachers have a difficult balancing act and these guidelines help them but may need a little updating to try and bring them in line with social media age.


  2. Hi Joe,

    I have gone down the same topic route as you this week and want to say that your video and piktochart image is informative and very well put together. You talk a lot about the impacts of their job on their social online capabilities, however, what recommendations would you suggest in order to alleviate some of the pressures? Obviously it is hard to come up with a definitive answer which incorporates both practical and realistic aspects.

    Moving on from this, do you think that teachers will be unable to have a fully fledged social media page until societal views on what an ideal teacher-student relationship consists of? Which is hard to change on multiple fronts, primarily the fact that everyone wants their sons and daughters to be safe, especially in a realm as vulnerable as education.

    Look forwards to hearing your views! And once again, congratulations on a thought provoking piece of work!



    1. Hi Alex,

      It is hard to say what they could do to try and protect themselves more. Social media outlets need to do more in my opinion to try and help create a safe space, like maybe creating a way of blocking out certain ages accessing their pages. Or there could be a way that filters can be used and prevent students from seeing their pages but it is hard to see how that would work.

      I think in the modern age and with parents and students a like having access and the ability to see into the teachers social lives teachers are unable to have a full social media presence. And if they do it is a major risk as this could lead to a downfall of their career or just lose authority in their classroom. In my view a teacher having one leaves them a little vulnerable and creates a number of things that is out of their control.



  3. Hi,

    Your post is informative throughout, and I especially agree with your point regarding teachers holding a lower degree of authenticity on social media, due to the filters they constantly use.

    Expanding upon the disconnection teachers make from social media, my sister – who is a teacher, has edited her privacy settings on Facebook so none of her photo albums can be seen by the public. This is a disconnection in practice, as she cannot use the platform for what it was intended for.

    An important point you missed is highlighted by Gatens (2015), that teachers need to consider how their social media posts will be perceived by work colleagues. I find this a necessary point to include, if teachers are viewed unprofessional by colleagues, they will not want to help them on the job.

    What do you think about this point, would it further develop your blog if included?

    Link to:
    Gatens, B.P. (2015) How Teachers can Avoid the Dark Side of Social Media. Available at: .


    1. Hi Arun,

      I never considered the teacher to teacher relation and how social media profiles can be perceived and effect their relations with them.

      From a quick read of the article a lot of what is said is heighten your privacy settings and really think about what your post and this should be done anyway as a teacher. Also, I feel that it is a different situation to that of the teacher-student and the teacher-parent as teachers can sympathise with other teachers and less likely to turn on other teachers because of social media profile. But it is something to consider because it only takes one person to dislike you to find an issue with your social media profile to make you vulnerable.



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