I owe this post to the excellent comment left by Jennifer Diaz on my So You Want a Teacher Job. Thank you for bringing this up!
With an onslaught of teachers seemingly caught bashing their students on Facebook or being reprimanded by their school boards for sharing pictures of themselves drinking, I am starting to wonder whether we as teachers have the right to privacy? Now don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should be careful what they post publicly and bashing your students is just idiotic. But what about the more innocent pictures of you holding a drink? How about you actually drinking at a public venue? Or riding a motorcycle with no helmet (even if it is not breaking the law)? Or smoking, swearing or wearing lowcut clothing? Do teachers have a right to do this in public or is that considered morally corrupt as well?
I agree that as a teacher, we are instant role models for all children and that we must behave, dress and act accordingly. However, what about in our free time? Are we still expected to follow the same code of conduct outside of school walls as we do within? Should we as teachers live the life of a seemingly flawless adult and do anything that could be viewed as “bad” by children only within our own houses?And don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about anything crazy here. Just the act of having a beer at a bar or heaven forbid actually getting drunk. What about pictures of you showing off you new tattoo? Is that considered morally reprehensible?
As new teachers get ready to interview and ask for advice, I always tell them to check their privacy setting on Facebook and to Google themselves to make sure they like what they find. View it through the lens of an employer and make sure their path is clean. However, is it right for society to place teachers on a moral pedestal that no other professions, not even politicians, have to attain? I don’t have the answer but I would love to start the discussion. Are we as teacher allowed to have “a life” outside of school doing normal adult stuff that in any other profession no one would even think twice about? Are we indeed allowed to have a private life?