Teachers & Students as Facebook Friends: Good Idea? Bad Idea?
As someone who greatly enjoys Social Networking, I must say that I’m a little curious as to how you all may respond to this post. I mean, I’m the type of person that connects SO well with people via Facebook. When I want to make plans with someone, I rarely email them or text them. Honestly, I don’t even call people anymore! All I want to do is write on someone’s wall…and if I feel like only seeing one friend rather than a group of people one night, I will send that person a private FB message. (I’m sneaky like that, I suppose…but I don’t feel too badly because you all do it too. Don’t deny it.)
Facebook allows me to connect with old friends from the past, friends I’ve just met, and share embarrassing photos of me running through the streets of New York like a crazy person. I mean, who doesn‘t want to see that?
I must clarify, however, that this is all done through my personal account (which, by the way, I have secured to the highest possible Facebook degree, and yet random people are still able to find me…weird). I decided to branch out a little while ago and create a professional profile as well. I figured it might be nice for the people that I am in contact with on an almost-daily basis at the office to see who they’re interacting with all the way over here in Canada. Not only that, but it also allows students to get into contact with me as well, if need be. It’s a nice, informal way of interacting with the students, which they (I hope) appreciate.
And I feel like I may be taking that privilege for granted.
Apparently, Missouri has recently decided that teachers may no longer be in touch with students on Facebook. Now, I am not a teacher at my college, but I wonder how I would feel if I were in these teachers’ shoes. I mean, I understand the intentions behind the ‘Facebook Law’ and all, but is it really so harmful for teachers to be friends with students on Facebook?
I remember when I was in high school and there were times that I struggled with some homework (on the rare occasion that I actually did the homework, which is not the best strategy), and I wished that I could somehow get in contact with my teacher to ask for help. Especially if it was Saturday morning and the essay was due on Monday morning. It would have been so incredible to just write on my teacher’s wall, ask a question, get some clarification, and continue on with what I needed to do. Instead, I had to wing it and hope for the best (which is also not the best strategy, I might add…).
Not only would I have been able to get extra help from the teacher during awkward hours, but I’d be able to really get to know the teacher as well. Facebook helps you define a person based upon posted photos, and what his/her friends write on his/her wall (it’s where you can judge a Facebook by it’s cover…I know. Lame pun). We all know that when you’re in high school, you tend to have little respect for many teachers, for either them as a person or for their position of authority (I’m not talking about me, here…I’m talking about someone else. Uh…my friend…um…Jen.). I wonder if I would have seen my teachers as real people had I been at least somewhat privy to their private lives.
Or, would it have been imminent disaster?
There may have been some good that could come from the situation, but I wonder if the bad would outweigh the good. There are obviously many other questions that could arise, either of exactly what kind of a relationship a student and teacher may have, or, if a Facebook friendship is completely innocent, is it even fair to expect teachers to help students with their questions outside of class time or the school itself? Are they not entitled to have their own personal time in which they don’t have to deal with the woes of a student? Or could teachers not do as I have and create a professional profile as well as a personal one so as not to mix business and pleasure?
*Sigh* I don’t know. Having numerous profiles and carefully deciding who is added as a “friend”, and figuring out what is okay to post and what isn’t for fear of the wrong person seeing it is getting way too complicated. Maybe we should all just move to Google+… I hear they’ve figured it out.
Do you think teachers and students can/should be Facebook friends? What are the most positive and negative points on each side of the argument? Are any of you currently friends with any of your teachers? What are your experiences with it?
Filed under: College, Education | 36 Comments
Tags: Animaniacs, College, Education, Facebook, Google+, high school, humor, Missouri, students, teachers, University