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Facebook "friends" with former teachers: appropriate?

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Kasthu
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Location: Radnor, PA
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Facebook "friends" with former teachers: appropriate?

Postby Kasthu » Sat August 14th, 2010, 2:13 am

After two years of not using facebook, i got bored last weekend and went back on. I found one of my high school teachers on there. I figured I'd "friend" him (he's made his profile available for view by anyone, he's friends with some of my old classmates, and I found him in fewer than two seconds simply by searching for his first name, which is very common). I sent him a message to remind him of who I am. He accepted my request, but a couple of hours later he "defriended" me. Now, lots of other people have done this before and it hasn't bugged me, but I'm really bothered by this one! Am I overreacting to this? Maybe he simply doesn't remember me...

By the way, this former teacher of mine is now 36 years old and he lists himself as "single." I'm obviously not looking for anything more than an online friendship with this guy, but it does make me wonder what he thought...

By the way, I was inspired to go looking for this teacher by the fact that I've received three "friend" requests from former middle school teachers recently...

So that begs the question, is it appropriate to be facebook (or any social networking site) "friends" with former teachers or other authority figures? Overstepping boundaries? Ir is it OK many years later, when the student is no longer such and an adult?

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat August 14th, 2010, 3:22 am

Once the hierarchical situation is past, people are just people. Anything's appropriate until somebody is uncomfortable. And then it's just polite.

Although if he is still a teacher, his employer may have rules about fraternizing with former students.

Ash
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Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Sat August 14th, 2010, 4:19 pm

I agree - he may not be allowed to, or he may just be very uncomfortable. I don't think its off limits at all - I know many of my sister's former students are on her FB. But I'd respect someone who just didn't feel like it was right

On the other hand, he might be wanting to cut down on the number of people on his site for whatever reason.

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rockygirl
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Location: Upstate New York

Reply from a teacher

Postby rockygirl » Sat August 14th, 2010, 7:52 pm

As a middle school teacher and adjunct professor, I only accept friend requests from former students who have graduated college. That way there is no way I can be transferred and have those students again. I also never accept friend request from students' parents, no matter how long ago I had the student. I really try to limit who sees my facebook page, as I have heard gossip about high school colleagues who have friended their students and parents, and now the community knows everything about them. I also am vigiliant about my privacy settings.

It's a difficult line to walk.

But, I would never accept a former student as a friend and then "defriend" him or her. I'm sorry that happened to you, as I know that can be painful.

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donroc
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Postby donroc » Sat August 14th, 2010, 10:01 pm

I am a retired high school teacher, and for me it is a delight to hear from former students on facebook, receive all sorts of praise from them, and learn how well they have been doing. Except for a few who stayed in touch since graduation, we never know the effect we have had on our students.

So many have difficulty addressing me by first name after I say they can do so. Most amusing.
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princess garnet
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Postby princess garnet » Sun August 15th, 2010, 12:25 am

I'm still in touch with two old high school teachers by letter or phone.

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Sun August 15th, 2010, 12:55 am

"rockygirl" wrote:As a middle school teacher and adjunct professor, I only accept friend requests from former students who have graduated college. That way there is no way I can be transferred and have those students again. I also never accept friend request from students' parents, no matter how long ago I had the student. I really try to limit who sees my facebook page, as I have heard gossip about high school colleagues who have friended their students and parents, and now the community knows everything about them. I also am vigiliant about my privacy settings.


I think that's very sensible. I only teach over-18s but the difficulty of drawing a line between personal and professional contacts is one of the many reasons I'm not on FB and don't use my real name on my blog or Twitter. I do enjoy keeping in touch with former students via email and would be happy to friend them on a network like LinkedIn.

But, I would never accept a former student as a friend and then "defriend" him or her. I'm sorry that happened to you, as I know that can be painful.


Yes, very odd behaviour! :confused: Maybe he's a bit ditzy and accidentally hit the wrong button.

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Kasthu
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Postby Kasthu » Sun August 15th, 2010, 3:25 pm

Thank you all for the input. I'm probably reading way too much into this! This former teacher is no longer a teacher (he left the school at the same time I did), but I can understand why he might not want to reconnect with me. I don't think I should sweat it any more...

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Divia
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Teacher Reply

Postby Divia » Sun August 15th, 2010, 6:52 pm

I won't befriend any of my students. In fact I'm not thrilled with befriending students who have graduated because they are friends with students who haven't graduated.

I wouldn't sweat it. He might not remember you. So many people have come and gone through his life that he cant' recall.

BTW how do you unfriend someone. I d like to know cause there is someone I want to get rid of.
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rockygirl
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Location: Upstate New York

Postby rockygirl » Mon August 16th, 2010, 7:10 pm

"Divia" wrote:I won't befriend any of my students. In fact I'm not thrilled with befriending students who have graduated because they are friends with students who haven't graduated.

I wouldn't sweat it. He might not remember you. So many people have come and gone through his life that he cant' recall.

BTW how do you unfriend someone. I d like to know cause there is someone I want to get rid of.


Go on that person's profile. At the bottom of the left hand row, under the profile picture, should be a little line that says "Block/Report this person." Click on this and follow the instructions for blocking the person. He/she will be removed from your friends list.


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