As the new school year approaches, the classroom is a thing of the past for me and I am, in addition to my freelancing, now more involved in the world of blogging and podcasting. As a result, I have joined the social media sector, somewhat reluctantly, but aware of the positive impact it can have on getting messages out, connecting with other folks attempting to do good for others and hopefully sharing great, constructive ideas.
But as I do see the up side to these app sites, I equally see the down side and the curious, creative and unexpected ways that others use these platforms. Ultimately, this is the way of the world now and I’m not fighting it and people can do what they want with it as long as it’s not hurtful, abusive or violent.
That said, I have come across many teachers, mostly younger and newer, who have an ax to grind and who are using Instagram and Tik Tok to express their complaints, without a filter, or share how overworked, frustrated and tired they feel. I even saw one where a teacher used the f-bomb, “jokingly” to get her point across to her imaginary students in her scenerio.
To be fair, I have also seen teachers celebrating and sharing ideas, materials and strategies which I think is wonderful. So I’m not here to say don’t do it. What I want to express to you, as a veteran Special Ed teacher of 30 years, is to be careful. What you think is funny is out there for your students and their parents to find and it may send an unintentional message. Not everyone sees things as you do. That may be obvious to say but it is apparently often ill-considered .
Honestly, I’m open-minded and appreciate bringing creativity and inventiveness into the classroom. Anything to make school more appealing and considerate of the students is worthwhile in my opinion. But you have to remember that this is a job where parents are putting their trust in you to nurture their children. If they see you complaining, admitting to being ignorant or cursing, trust can be eroded quickly and there will be those who do not find the humor in it and they may confront administration. This can result in marks against you that may cause administration to keep an eye on you, damage the employer/employee trust, lead to disciplinary action, suspension and it could cost you your job. Don’t think this is an exaggeration.
As teachers we all have complaints and understand that teaching is an incredibly difficult job. We are frontline workers. We LITERALLY put our lives on the line each time we enter educational settings. So what I’m saying is that this job is dangerous enough without pouring your reality into a video to get a “like” that might backfire and cost you. We, as professionals, have an enormous responsibility to earn and keep the parents’ trust. Complain to your friends, take a boxing class, run or JOURNAL!
But if you must, make videos that put out messages sharing positive and constructive experiences, lessons and ideas. Be careful not to take lightly your position as a professional being looked up to and trusted. Pause for a bit before you risk it all in order to display your negative feelings or the challenging realities of your daily encounters to the world including, yes, your students and their parents.
As a member of your community we are all family and as one of you I am writing this because I’m looking out for your best interest so you can be an exceptional role model for a long time to come. Good luck this new year!
Peace and Keep Rising!