AAA Tech Expect.JPGI've had several friend requests from students to connect on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I developed the following personal "policy" regarding social networking with students in 2012. I rarely use Snapchat anyway, and only with a few select friends and family members. You're certainly free to "follow" me on Instagram or follow my blog on Wordpress. I actually require Digital Photography students to join and "friend" me on Flickr, so that we can view and comment on each other's photos as a class.I'd love to connect with former students on LinkedIN, let me know if you need it- I'm usually more than happy to offer recommendations. I really only maintain a YouTube channel in order to compile playlists of videos I often use for classes or coaching. I'm not looking to gather billions of followers and most of the videos I've made were in order to learn how to do it.

It is usually not advised that teachers "friend" their students on Facebook for a ton of reasons. I have found that it is useful as a yearbook advisor and cheer coach to connect with a FEW, select high school students, but usually not middle school students. So, if I ignore or turn down your request, it doesn't mean that I dislike you, I'm trying to follow what most education professionals consider "best practices." The overall goal is to keep us both safe socially, emotionally and especially legally.

Having said all that- I MAY accept your requests provisionally, so long as you understand the following:

ABOUT YOU:

I reserve the right to block you from my news stream or even unfriend you if you post inappropriate material. I don't need to read profanity or see pictures of you flipping off the camera. I will try to avoid intervening in your drama and will usually refrain from commenting on your posts, but you sent me the friend request so I don't see why I can't tell you you're being a punk if/when you are.

If you don't want adults to hold you accountable for poor choices or inappropriate choices, you probably shouldn't friend me. Don't play the "we're not in school, so you can't tell me what to do card" either, everyone needs to have friends who will call them out when they're wrong or making mistakes.

Granted, I'll usually admonish you in a private message, rather than by commenting on your post, but do you want to risk it? Also; I may already be friends with other teachers, administrators, your parents, parents of your friends, local pastors, alumni, etc. So if it's in my stream because you posted it, they'll probably see it too.

ABOUT ME:

By sending me a friendship request, you need to realize the following...

1) I WILL be "spamming" you about buying a yearbook and/or letting us use your pictures in the yearbook.

2) I will probably put you into a "group" for each of my classes you are in. I often post news items or resource links related to Civics or Art. I encourage you to comment on them and engage in online discussions about things we cover in class, although since facebook is blocked at school, I won't make any of that required for a grade.

3) Be aware that I am a compulsive web poster. I've been building websites since 94, blogging since '04, and addicted to stupid twitter now too. So your news feed will probably become clogged with my posts.

4) Since some of my blogs & Instagram automatically feed into Facebook, it will often look like I use Facebook at school when I don't. If/when I do, it will be for Yearbook or Cheer and will be after 3:30pm.

5) My faith is important to my and our country is important to me, so many of my posts are either religious or political in nature. You or your parents may not share my views or may disagree with them. I'm not trying to shove my opinions down your throat, I'm just expressing them. At school, especially in Civics class I go out of my way to be as objective, non-political, respectful of everyone else's opinions as possible, but online, I have a tendency to post what I believe, rather than remaining unbiased. Even online I don't deliberately want to offend anyone or pick fights with anyone. But I do believe in trying to get people to think and starting discussions. I believe that this is healthy and important in a function in democracy.

If you or your parents have any problems with 1-5, please feel free to unfollow or block me from your news stream but remain friended to me, or "unfriend" me, I won't mind and probably won't even know.