Not Everything is Rosy

I had someone ask me once if I would be posting about my struggles in class.  I haven’t done so until now because I try to be a positive force for others who find my materials.  I’m also conscious that what I publish is “out there” and any one can find it, manipulate it, and use it against me.  However, I have to confess that not everything is perfect in my little teaching world.

At this week’s PD my principal scolded everyone for having students on personal Facebook accounts, texting students etc.  I really wish he would have called specific people out.

I want my principal to call people out because I want to know if he’s referencing ME.  I don’t have a Facebook anymore (I deleted it) and I would NEVER text students, but I created a Spanish Department account for my school in order to remind students about certain things.  I checked to make sure it was ok with the superintendent, so I didn’t think it was an issue.  Heck – I hardly ever check it unless it’s for updates!

Unfortunately, this last week an unidentifiable student tweeted me, asking if grades were going to be updated soon because it was driving him and his parents nuts.  This student then proceeded to tweet how our Spanish department was being run by a “numbskull” and asked another student to retweet.  I work at a small school, so  it is super obvious this student was talking about me and not someone else.  I also have a strong hunch as to who this student is.

So I need advice.  What do I do?  Keep it open, and continue to have faith in the 98% of my students who interact with me the way I originally intended?  Or do I close the account and admit the defeat that many said would come.  What would you do if you were me?

7 thoughts on “Not Everything is Rosy

  1. I’d close the account. I’m a Spanish teacher also and I have learned the hard way that communicating with students on social media isn’t a good idea. There are lots of text services you can sign up for that will let u send out a text ( number not identified) to remind students and parents of assignments. Might be better. I tell students to email me through the school website so their email content is documented.

    • Thanks for your opinion Kim! I have been very hesitant to open this account in the first place. I even made sure I had permission from the principal/super! We’re not a very pro-tech school overall (we got rid of our computer lab last year!) which is why there might be some resistance.

      I’ve heard good things about the text services. Is there one you use and recommend?

      • A lot of teachers and organizations at my school use to send text messages to groups and organizations. The students cannot respond to it, but it allows you to send group texts to specific classes without using your own phone number.

  2. Let me start by saying that you appear to be a very open and inviting individual. Anyone who truly knows you is aware that what you do is for the benefit of those that you serve daily. Therefore, it is my opinion that you not let one disgruntled student dissuade you from doing what you have been inspired to do. As you know with teenagers, they love you one minute and dislike you the next if you are not dancing to their tune or behaving as if the world revolved around them. Continue to be the beacon that you are for the students who appreciate you and the colleagues–like me–whom you motivate daily.

    • Thank you so much Glenda! I have to say part of the frustration is that it’s hard to hear and see those things, even though I know they are said out of confusion or frustration. Thank you for reminding me that’s what teenagers are suppose to be like! My colleague has suggested to keep the account open unless my principal/super respond and suggest to close the account. I’ll make sure to keep you updated!

  3. I would reach out to your principal first, to check in and to make sure he is aware of what is going on so that he can support you. He may want you to close the site, although I think that would be a real shame since it’s such an excellent tool for connecting with students. I would also call the student you suspect in and discuss it with him/her and explain that you feel hurt by the action and call the parents who are alluded to in the text anyway so they can share their concerns with you and hopefully support you. While I do not feel it is appropriate for teachers to use social media to connect with individual students and this means even ten years after they’ve graduated, I do think it makes sense to use it in limited and controlled ways which it sounds like you are doing, to rid yourself of this resource doesn’t make sense. The gals at The Creative Language Class will likely have the best advice since they use so much social and multimedia and their students have ipads so I would reach out to them too. Best of luck!

    • Sra. F,
      I have been very cautious about this account. I feel very similar to you about how social media should be used with students, but I also acknowledge that education is going to be different in the future and I think it’s going to be essential to engage students while not in my classroom. Most bigger schools in my area use Twitter for school, including specific departments, athletics, etc. This was also my attempt to cover ACTFL Standard 5.1 and possibly 5.2. Up until this point, this is how the account has been used: talking about hearing Spanish on TV, hearing a news segment about a Spanish speaking country, sharing an infographic for extra-credit, etc.

      As you recommended, I’ve contacted both my principal and super and I’m awaiting their response. I’m unsure I will talk to the student, because if it’s who I suspect then the parent works in the school (meaning these are a reflection of the parent’s beliefs) and I have frequent contact with the parent.

      I’ll reach out to the Creative Language Class girls and make sure to keep everyone updated once I hear back from the powers that be!

      Thank you so much for your advice!

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