I found it interesting to hear, during last evening's class, that many teachers are in contact with current students on Facebook. I have discussed this topic in a previous post, but I feel I must state my opinion, as a teacher and an administrator, more clearly.
I realize that Facebook can erase barriers as a social networking tool, but I think it is important that there are some barriers between teacher and student. In a world of sensational media, we, as educators, must safeguard our professional reputation against misconception and misunderstanding. Specifically, while there are teachers who are well-meaning with respect to using a tool such as Facebook, there are also those who are unscrupulous. Children are vulnerable, and their safety, as well as the safety of the professional reputation of teachers, must be protected.
We must be cognisant of public perception. Having students as 'friends' on Facebook will certainly have perceptual ramifications. I refuse to put my career, as well as the perception of my profession, at risk in this way. I am not comfortable with having any contact with any students that could be construed or misconstrued as personal. I don't find it necessary to have contact with my students in this way and I advise teachers in my charge to avoid such relationships.