Monday 2 January 2012


It seems that every few months now someone gets their knickers in a twist over teachers' use of social media. This is usually due to some wazzocks spoiling it for the rest of us. With the emphasis on some. I've discussed this before and at some length.

This time it's Jim Docherty of the SSTA telling us:
"First thing is don't bother telling anybody else about your social life. Nobody is interested about your social life and it doesn't help."
No chance of that, Jim - I only have a social life for a couple of days at Christmas and Easter, and for a week or two in the summer! But how patronising. Then, there's:
"Secondly, never make any comment about your work, about your employer, about teaching issues in general."
This, of course, would make it very difficult for teachers to contribute to #SciTeachJC, #ASEChat and #UKEdChat. Not to mention the sheer quantity of useful links, advice and resources I've been able to exchange both ways with other teachers.

As ever, Tom Bennett is a voice of reason, and his rules should be required reading for teachers setting up their first blogs or Twitter accounts.

For my part, I maintain a degree of anonymity. My Twitter account has never been associated with my full name, and though the bio bit is fairly obviously me, it still has to be found first. I block the college, and deliberately do not link to the college's website. Former students are most welcome to follow me (and be followed) once they have left the college, and I love chatting to them via Twitter, e-mail and text messages.

As for this blog, you won't find it via a search for my married name. You will find my profiles on Academia and LinkedIn. And they go to my personal website, but there's no link to the blog. Some students find out my maiden name - I don't conceal my former identity - but I don't go into the classroom and shout it out. Actually, very few people ever google me, least of all my students. Should they find this blog, then they will find the majority of my complaints directed towards politicians and the general public. Some individual interaction with students is mentioned here, but they are always given full anonymity and treated with great affection.

And, though I admit I am very fortunate in this regard, my online activity, so long as it does not bring the college into disrepute (or involve illegal activity), is contractually protected. This is, I think, an advantage of working in FE where most lecturers are industry professionals with additional careers within their industry. As with most codes of conduct and guidelines, everything there is to say about one's online presence can all be distilled into one easy motto.

Don't be a dick.

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