Should teachers and students be "friends" on social networking sites?

I was recently sent this article about teachers accepting the "friendship" of their students on Facebook and after reading it, I have thoughts, but I am wondering what others think.

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Think of what happens in the most effective classroom learning environments. In the midst of scholarly work  in the classroom, students and teachers often times discuss personal events and happenings. They talk about what they did over the weekend/holiday, share very personal stories, discuss personal tragedies, share pictures, etc. A huge component of teaching is building really good relationships with kids-and part of this process involves getting to know them on a personal level. 


Why do we view the online world any differently? In the midst of really effective learning that can go in in spaces like Facebook, ning, Twitter, skype, wikis and other highly social-collaborative software tools, teachers and students engage in both scholarly problem solving and personal relationship building. 


I don't think it is any more difficult to maintain boundaries in the online world in comparison to the physical world for the teacher-student relationship. I actually think it is easier in the online world because the conversations are more transparent and open for others to see. When I comment on a student's facebook post, his/her parent is able to see my comment...I consider that a good thing!


You mention that using software to connect and collaborate causes un-easiness amongst parents and administrators...why would this cause any more uneasiness than a teacher taking a group of students on an over night field trip, retreat, or simply engaging in scholarly activity in the classroom? 



I would say absolutely no when it comes to "friending" your students or even their parents on social network sites.  I think that teachers and students should not mix their personal lifes.  I also think that teachers should not have any innappropriate pictures on their social network page because the pictures you have on your site are a reflection of who you are.
This is something that we have much debate about in my classes right now. I believe, personally, that students and teachers should not be friends on Facebook. This only applies to personal pages. I do believe teachers and students should have a way of communicating through Facebook. A lot of teachers have classroom web-pages, but I believe that something more useful would be a Facebook classroom web-page. This could be a group, or just a complete facebook for your classroom that posts daily announcements, homework and such. This is a place for students, teachers, and even parents to communicate. Most everyone is on facebook these days, so having this as an option would be having 2 things in 1. Facebook, your own personal website, and your classroom website in one easy place.
I personally believe that teachers should not be friends with their students on sites such as facebook. I find this to be  unprofessional. However, I believe that on this site it is entirely different because you are working with professors to share thoughts and ideas in a professional manner. Facebook is a social site about people's personal lives, therefore I believe that students should not be friends with their teachers.
Building positive relationships is one of the most important aspects of teaching and learning. I believe, however, that "friending" current students could be a dangerous thing. I so wish it could be different. Yes, one could choose to keep their educator hat firmly in place, but there are opportunities for misinformation and legal problems. Becoming Facebook friends with past students who are now adults, however, opens doors of continued communication and encouragement.
I personally think that this is probably an inappropriate way to interact with your students. While your students may be your friends, interaction with each-other outside the classroom can be easily misconstrued as inappropriate no matter how innocent the interactions are. If the students are offended that you don't "friend" them, simply explain to them that it's probably a better course of action to just keep your interaction or friendship at school.

I would strongly encourage teachers not to be friends with their students on facebook. Facebook is a social networking site but it is personal not educational. Teachers should draw line between work and personal life. There are plenty of means for teachers and students to contact each other, and I do not think facebook should be one of them.

This is a great question to bring up especially when social networking sites like Facebook are becoming more and more popular. Children are becoming involved with these sites at a very young age these days, and of course many teachers are also members of these sites. Personally, I don’t believe teachers and students should be interacting with each other on sites like this. A Facebook page may contain personal information about a person that a teacher may not want her students to see. I think a good solution to this is perhaps having a class Facebook page that students can become a part of and a teacher can manage in order to answer any questions that students have about assignments or projects.
I would have to side with the fact that teachers should not be friends with their students just for security reasons. But I do have mixed thoughts on this too, because lets say you have graduated and are of age and find an old teacher on a social site. I think that this is fine to do because you now no longer have that teacher student aspect. I do not think it is appropriate for students to "add" their current teachers as "friends" though. Just because like the article said it can lead to sexual predators.
One of the issues at hand is that current college students who are in the education field and those students coming along behind them are avid users of social networking. Then there is the increasing use of Facebook by the commercial industry and community event organizations. It has become that public place where we run into our neighbors, classmates and teachers. If you are using Facebook with anything other than your public persona, you might as well be inviting everyone into your living room. As such, Facebook becomes more a tool for public communication than a private chat and should offer fewer opportunities for problems. However, the rules of decorum established by employers and society have always held teachers to a higher standard.

I think that regardless of the content of your social life it is inappropriate for students to become to involved in it.  I work mainly in higher education and private tutoring so the lines are little blurry but I think that the distinction must be maintained for there to be teacher/student relationship.  At the same time I think it's now absolutely necessary that a practicing educator have an online presence and be accessible through the tech medium.  It's a tough area to wade  through and there are many solutions.  Personally, I maintain an educator page on Facebook that is publicly visible (My personal page is private and no students are ever added, despite the fact that there is nothing inappropriate there) and I police the content on a regular basis.  Additionally I maintain a twitter account specifically for communicating with students and/or colleagues and education based social networking.  I'm still adjusting exactly how I interact with the people I teach and work with online, it's likely that it will be a continuous process my entire career.  Good food for thought.



I think that there is a fine line between student and teacher relationships outside of the classroom. While I think that Facebook is a great tool to use and it is an excellent way to communicate and keep in touch with current and former students, I do not think that teachers should "friend" their students or accept their requests. I teach middle school and have many friend requests from students, but my page displays my personal life and I do not want that mixed in with my professional life. One thing many teachers and teams in my school have done is to make a separate FB page to use for just school. For example I would make a page called "Rachel Bloemer- ELA teacher" this would be a page my students could friend me on and contact me if they needed to. Also, in our school we create FB pages for our teams where we post current news and reminders for tests, assignments, etc. Students "like" that page and instantly get all of the updates. Facebook is a new reality and we really just need to find ways to make it work, without crossing any lines!



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