In our house, we have been using social media for years. Even my teen daughter has had several social media accounts Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are her favourites. Personally, I have been using social media as long as it has been around. I love connecting online with friends and family and also use it for business.
Now, when it comes to my daughter and school here in Ontario, there are social media rules that must be followed for her safety. In fact, there are social media rules for both students and teachers in the province. Teachers are just as informed about the rules of using social media wisely as our kids are. For teachers, there is an advisory document on the appropriate use of social media put out by the Ontario College of Teachers. For my teen, there is the social media contract.
Why have all these rules? When it comes to being online, there are many risks and dangers for both student and teacher. We live in an environment where boundaries could be crossed very easily. Having established guidelines and rules makes it easier on all.
Over the last few years, my teen has used e-communication and social media in several of her classes to get school work done. Her teachers have used social media to help her follow an astronaut’s journey, to develop friendships with other students across the country, and even to create social media posts and videos as part of her homework. These skills help her prepare for real life, and I am glad that her teachers have been great role models in how social media can be embraced in the school system.
One of the projects that she worked on was a public service announcement. I can remember her searching You Tube, talking on Messenger with classmates doing the same project, and even emailing back and forth with her teacher. Even when watching all these interactions happen there were things done to ensure my teen was using her social accounts wisely. There were constant reminders on all the assignment sheets.
The Social Media Advisory document offers teachers advice on numerous online topics from having the proper security settings to the exchange to private messages. Every year teachers have informed me when my teen is online using social media for school work as this too is part of the advisory document. Being informed is a good thing. This advice for teachers allows them to embrace social media in ways that help our children.
When it comes to teachers, they are expected to be great role models for our kids in all their actions. Even the Supreme Court of Canada has stated that teachers are role models and must act as such inside and outside of school hours. I feel safer knowing that teachers as well as students are reminded often of their responsibilities. This is a huge responsibility and having been an early education teacher I know that teachers take it seriously. Those that are role models have such an important part in our child’s lives.
Find a Teacher
Ever have a question about a teacher’s credentials? I know I did one year. There had been an incident at school, and I wanted more information about the teacher in question. You can use Find a Teacher to check out their qualifications and even if there has ever been a disciplinary action taken. This information is public knowledge because there are laws in place to protect our kids. It’s also great to check and see if your child’s teacher has completed any special programs or courses. This is great information to have especially for parents like me who have children on IEPs. My daughter has a dual designation which means a well-trained teacher who is keeping up on the current special needs trends and courses is an awesome thing for her. Having this information can definitely give you piece of mind.
Resources for Parents
Want more information about the Ontario College of Teachers and what they do? They have a section for the public on their website. Check it out and if you are a parent, you will want to sign up for The Standard. It is a free newsletter for parents. The newsletter lets you know more about teachers’ qualifications, the work the College is doing to ensure high standards in education, trends in education and changes in educational legislation. If you want to get the newsletter in French, you can do that as well.