Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 13 2013

#75: How to be a teacher on the internet

The serendipity of Mr. Rubinstein showing us Chad for America and the triumphant return of parus inspired me to lecture y’all on professional internet etiquette. While I am certain that everyone has sat through a session on this already, I feel obliged to reiterate a few things. Here’s the Didymath guide to internetting:

  • Everything you do online, do with some measure of anonymity. People who know me in real life can figure out that I made this blog, so if they read this, they can get at me in the corporeal world and say “Didymath, that was really excellent, how incisive your commentary is, where would I be without you in my life?” etc. But students Googling my name will not find this or anything except maybe a Google+ page which has nothing but baby pictures, and I show them those all the time anyway. Just get your government name off any social media site. Come up with a nom de plume. Tortured puns are an excellent place to start.
  • Stop posting pictures or videos of you doing carefree 20-something activities. Let’s start with a conditional statement: If you are a teacher, then you are not cool anymore. I know most every phone commercial tells you that your 20′s are all about aimlessly running around a bonfire on the beach with sparklers(1) and that you should upload the whole of your existence to *~the cloud~* but you are not about that life when you are a teacher. You wear sensible, drab clothes and you are tired most of the time. You tell kids what to do all day. Not cool! Thus, if you are not cool anymore, then you need to stop doing cool, carefree 20-something internet activities like Tweeting a picture of a you and a pint of lager or Instagramming your night at the club or whatever it is you people with no responsibilities do. Because the Internet is not a private place, those pictures will get discovered! And then you might have uncomfortable discussions with superiors or worse yet get fired. It has happened! I’m not saying you’re a tee-totalling Sunday school teacher now(2), but resist the compulsion to share everything you do.
  • Read this. For that matter, do not identify your kids by name or give copious details about them.

Remember, everyone can copy and paste what you publish on the Internet, but only you can press delete before it ever gets there(3).


(1)  Seriously, who is giving these punk kids all these sparklers? I’m guessing some millenial Don Draper wannabe got all serious in the pitch for this and was like, “Sparklers. A callback to a more innocent time, a time before retweets and photo bombing. And what made a sparkler so powerful? Connection.” Things like this make me want to build a survivalist compound in Wyoming and never contact anyone again.

(2) Although, that comes pretty darn close to describing me, so it’s not so bad!

(3) This has been Smokey the Bear. Goodnight, everyone.

One Response

  1. There was a time when I felt a need for anonymity, and I get it. But, I think we live in times where we need to speak out and we need to share and we need to organize. I’m open with my colleagues, and I don’t care to work in a place where I can’t be open with my colleagues. Again, I get it, but I also see value in opening up my identity as I’ve done here.

    Everything else is spot on!

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