Saturday, October 19, 2019

Three Reasons Why Teachers Should NEVER Save Parents on Facebook

Three Reasons Why Teachers Should NEVER Save Parents on Facebook

Has this ever happened to you? You log into your favorite social media site, ready to post those phenomenal pics from your weekend getaway when you notice that you have two new friend requests waiting in your inbox? You ignore them just long enough to post those breathtaking beach pictures, and there staring at you from your inbox is Mrs. Smith, the mother of little Sally from your class. In that split second, you have to make a decision

Should you (and yes, this is a pop quiz):
A.    Accept her friend request; I mean for crying out loud, you see this woman every day as she drops off her child. Plus, Sally is sweet, and Mrs. Smith is the room mom. What could be the harm in that?
B.    Commence to cringe and panic and log off of the app all at the same time.
C.    Deny her request and keep adding more pics from the weekend.

Well, whatever answer you choose, I am here to give you my top 3 reasons why you should NEVER befriend students' parents on social media! 

For many of us, social media has become such a HUGE part of how we interact and build community. It's the place where we post cute pictures of our pets, stay connected with our college besties, or catch up on the latest pop topics. Most importantly, it is our way to stay connected to the world around us, and that is truly AWESOME. 

However, as many of us know, social media usage can have its pitfalls. 

We have all heard some array of stories about someone sharing (or maybe oversharing) information that has gotten them into hot water. Perhaps it was a picture or a comment that caused them to lose their job or to become the center of a scandal or investigation. For these reasons, we typically inform students about the importance of internet safety. Just like our students need to practice internet safety, it is equally essential that we, as educators, practice internet safety. One of the best ways to start is by being more private with our social media accounts. 

Although it might be tempting to share our lives with the world, opening our lives up to the critique of our students' parents and families could result in unnecessary stress. For that reason, here are my top 3 reasons why we should AVOID saving students' parents and families on Facebook and other social media apps. 

1.    Professionalism and the Separation of You as a Teacher with you as a Person-
Every aspect of your life SHOULD not be shared with your students and their families. Remember, in most cases, social media is your way of sharing 'you' with the world. The real you! The after 9-5 you. And as hard it may be to comprehend, parents (and students) don't need to know that side of you. Sometimes teachers need to hear this— you are a professional with talents and expertise and amazing skills, and you should be treated as such. Therefore, when we open up our worlds for everyone to view, we rip off that veil of professionalism. 
Maybe it's your latest, ridiculous, over the top, Halloween costume or you dancing on tables at your best friend's bachelorette party. These are all little things that could alter the way parents and families view you as their child's instructional leader. Now, I know what you are about to say, 'I don't do those things so that wouldn't be a problem.' Just remember that ANYTHING  you post, even if it's time with your family, makes parents too familiar with you as a person and not as their child's teacher! 

2.    Remember everything is up for interpretation—
Be it political affiliation, religious beliefs, or lifestyle preference. As much as we would love to believe that people don't judge our lives, they do! With that said, everything that we post will be interpreted by parents, either positively or negatively. Even down to the décor and cleanliness of your home. Ridiculous, I know, but true. Consciously and subconsciously, parents will use that information to either validate or invalidate you as a teacher.  So, avoid the hassle! 

3.    EVERYTHING will be shared! 
Maybe you don't know this, but EVERYTHING is shared. Taking a screen shot or saving a photo or comment takes only a few seconds and can be blasted to large numbers of people within moments. So, keep in mind that when you save one parent on social media, you essentially save them all. A simple post that had a stressful day and need a glass of wine at 3pm could signal to a message to parents that you had a rough day. Now, if you post that message multiple times, it can indicate that you are overwhelmed by your students and don't have control of your classroom. The most innocent of comments or pictures can be interpreted in the wrong way. 

Now that you know why, what do you do next?

If you have already accepted a parent's social media friend request, don't panic. Just remember in the future that this may not be the best practice and be mindful of the ways the things you post and share can be interpreted. 
Now, if you have already received a parent's request and you have yet to reply here are a few tips:

  •  Politely decline the request IN PERSON! The next time you see the parent, just let them know that you saw their request, and you have a policy of keeping your home life and your school life separate. This can seem like a tough conversation; however, if you are gracious about it, most parents will understand.
  • Create a public teacher page where you can save other educators, parents, and, eventually, students. This way, you can post great articles, videos, and even images that relate to your role as the teacher. Having a public teacher page can help families and students stay connected without being connected to your personal life.
  • Make a formal announcement- If the requests become overwhelming, you may have to make an announcement. Just like declining in person, if you receive numerous social media requests, write a short but sweet statement and include it on the class website or one week in your newsletter. I've even had the conversation during our 'open house' night at the beginning of the year. I said it in a joking manner, but parents understood and respected my reasoning.

Now what do you think? Have you ever saved your students' parents or families on social media? What was the outcome? Share your thoughts below! 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What am I going to do for President's Day?

Maybe its just me but it feels like every year for major holidays the same thing happens, I get really excited and want to plan some cool project or lesson, but time gets the best of me. Instead of a great project, I end up having some substandard bulletin board or hallway display that doesn't live up to the dreams I had in my head of rocking out the holiday with an awesome project where kids have great learning experiences and lots of fun.

Well if that's you, this year I have you covered. Here is my President's Day project that is a big hit and looks great on display or for kids to take home to their families. My students and I made a Hall of  Presidents that we were able to share with everyone in our school. 

This project involves lots of social studies and US history (my favorite), as well as research, and even a little bit of art and creativity.

Great project to share with your students.

Check it out! 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

SquirrelGate 2016!!!

This incident actually took place last year but I was way too distraught to even consider writing about it.

Here is how this crazy story all began… At the beginning of last school year, my colleague and I crafted this beautiful paper tree as one of the focal points of my classroom décor. It took a little under four hours to complete and was relatively easy to construct.

The tree was made around an existing pipe in my classroom and used a number of recycled and low cost materials.

The completed tree was striking in person.

However, my beautiful tree’s life was cut way too short.

One day while teaching, my students and I heard a loud scream from the hallway. It was our PE teacher, who only seconds later came running into our classroom, he quickly motioned for us to all get out of the classroom.

What we did not realize was that a squirrel, yes you read that right; a squirrel had made its way into our school and somehow meandered his way to the second floor and into our classroom. A classroom with 30 squirming children and the same classroom with a beautiful paper tree placed conveniently in the corner.

I am pretty sure you can imagine what happened next, however in this case reality might in fact be stranger than fiction. The children and I were rushed out of the room, ushered into a ‘holding cell’, the police were called, and somehow the squirrel tried to climb the tree to avoid his arrest and sadly things went south.

The scene after I cleaned up the tree limbs.

The Aftermath

It was a really dramatic experience; the tree was destroyed, I cried like a baby (I am really not that sensitive.. I promise), and it took me MONTHS to even think about putting it back together.

And that is the story of SquirrelGate 2016.    :(

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fun in the Classroom?!?

Ever teacher knows that all work and no play makes for pretty dull students!

So after a week of hard work (or during indoor recess) I try to incorporate games that don't involve my students staring at a computer screen.

Instead I created a really inexpensive floor game that has become a huge hit in my classroom.

The project was SUPER easy and cost me pennies. 

I used a $1 tablecloth from the Dollar Store (which I cut to size) and made the pieces out of construction paper. After a little measuring and a lot of cutting we had a great life size checkers game, which got kids moving and away from their computers. 

The project was fun and easy, so much so, I allowed my students to make the next game. They decided to go with Tic Tac Toe. Before the actual construction of the game, I had the students come up with a plan and then discuss and delegate the execution. The children had a blast making it and had even more fun taking turns playing.

What was great was how much pride they took in their work; it was really awesome to see.

At the end of our brain break time or recess, I have the children fold up the tablecloths and place all the pieces in a gallon size ziploc bag for easy storage. 

Let me know if you try this idea out in your classroom. 


Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, George!

For some reason this year I have been TOTALLY in the President's Day mood and I must say that the kiddos have been more into it than me.

For my third graders I made these cute President's Day Writing Frames. Super cute and made for a nice display for our classroom.

Just had to share because they were fun and the students loved them.

Look for them on Teacher Pay Teacher by Clicking HERE!

Happy Teaching,

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cute Titanic Inspired Bulletin Board

After a mini unit my class did on the Titanic last year we concluded with a creative writing assignment entitled "What Really Happened to the R.M.S. Titanic".

The students were given various genres to chose from including Science Fiction, Humor, or Mystery. This activity was fun, easy, and most of all the students LOVED it! 

The stories came out cute and the board was really striking in black and white! 

Happy Teaching, 

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Favorite Read Aloud

My class used to have a volunteer that came in to read Bud, Not Buddy three times a week.. it was amazing!

What is your FAVORITE class read aloud? Leave your comments below!