BEST PRACTICE ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR TEACHERS

BEST PRACTICE ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR TEACHERS

One of the most difficult lines for a teacher to walk is between work and social media.  It can be used for school but encouraging students onto social media has a whole host of safeguarding issues.  Teachers naturally want a personal presence on the internet, it is as much a part of modern life as owning a mobile phone.

So, what is the best advice for teachers about Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and the seemingly daily addition to the social media world. Here is some broad guidance, though in no way exhaustive:

  1. Read your school’s social media policy. This should be part of the safeguarding policy of the school and will tell you what is expected of professional behaviour of teachers.  The bottom line will be a demand that you a) maintain behaviour expected of a teacher whilst online and b) do not make connections online with any student from the school under the age of 18.  This is the same for 11 – 16 schools, then it is for the 11 – 18 schools.

  1. It is possible for you to be disciplined in school if your behaviour online is reported as being inappropriate. Having students below the age of 18 on your account could be interpreted as grooming.  This is a serious business and although there are issues of freedom of speech, the safety of children will always trump your arguments.

  1. When setting up your personal account use your first name and maybe your middle name, but avoid using your surname. Equally, do not state where you work on your personal account.  This makes it difficult for students to find you online.  Your school is also likely monitoring staff social media and so will make you invisible online to your workplace.

  1. Make sure your security settings include friends only, or equivalent across the social media platforms. ‘Friends of friends’ settings means your posts may inadvertently appear on students’ pages. This could compromise your professionalism in the classroom and could lead to your photographs being shared amongst students.

  1. Using social media as a learning tool is powerful. Students are more willing to write online than in any other format.  However, it is best to do this through the official school site, twitter account and if possible, Facebook page.  Setting up an account in your name, even if it is your professional name, sets up hazy lines between personal and professional.  It is frustrating, the potential appears endless.  However, there need to be clean lines between teachers’ homes and the professional workplace.

There is need for an educator code of ethics.  There needs to be clarity for professionals, so that the potential of the internet can be fully manifest.  At the moment, teachers are too vulnerable and therefore need to be more cautious than common sense dictates – as often common sense doesn’t play apart in sensitive issues such as child safety and the perception of what teachers should be.

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NEW TEACHER ADVICE – ALL THE ADVICE YOU WILL EVER HEAR AS A NEW TEACHER

NEW TEACHER ADVICE – ALL THE ADVICE YOU WILL EVER HEAR AS A NEW TEACHER

You are like a walking target for well-meaning  new teacher advice.  Some will be the best teaching advice ever, like ever, and some will be bad teaching advice. But, one of the things you should always do is attempt to keep your sense of humour.  So, with a quick search on Pinterest, here is the best funny teacher advice out there.

NEW TEACHER ADVICE NUMBER 01: ONCE I GET THIS PREPPED AND LAMINATED I WILL BE SET FOR YEARS.  OOH, LOOK! NEW CURRICULUM.

So. Annoyingly. True. You can spend ages organising your resources, being super organised, laminating as if you had shares in laminators… and then everything changes.  Soon you will be so scared of putting too much prep in too early – you will turn up to school at 7.05am with nervous anticipation at what might have changed in the 10 hours since you left.  Exaggeration? Only slightly.

NEW TEACHER ADVICE NUMBER 02: I WILL NOT YELL IN CLASS.  I WILL NOT THROW THINGS IN CLASS.  I WILL NOT HAVE A TEMPER TANTRUM.  I WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD.  BECAUSE I AM THE TEACHER.

You will make a promise not to shout at students.  Sometimes you will shout at children.  You would never think of throwing things when the children are there… but it is highly likely that something will fly across your empty room at some point.  It is an emotional game this teaching malarkey – don’t be disappointed in yourself if at some point the inner child makes a prominent showing in your day.

NEW TEACHER ADVICE NUMBER 03: I WISH EVERYONE WOULD JUST TELL EACH OTHER: “IT’S OKAY.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING EITHER.”

No-one knows what they are doing – everyone is guessing.  I used to tell kids that teaching is blagging in a confident voice.  You can say anything in class and as long as you sound 100% convinced, then you are correct and you are wise.  Sit in the staffroom and look at the cockiest teacher and know they are blagging more than everybody else.

NEW TEACHER ADVICE NUMBER 04: I WILL KEEP MY HANDS, FEET, AND OBJECTS TO MYSELF WHEN NON-TEACHERS TELL ME HOW TO RUN MY CLASSROOM.

Everyone went to school, so everyone thinks they are an expert in the classroom.  I always found that the photocopying lady was always the most expert classroom practitioner in the school – the amount of advice she seemed to throw around.  The only people I used to really listen to where teaching assistants – those people follow these kids around the school and have observed more lessons than any teacher will ever be able to in a career.  They are clever people. Listen to them!

NEW TEACHER ADVICE NUMBER 05: YES, I REARRANGED YOUR DESKS AFTER SCHOOL YESTERDAY.

Seriously, kids hate change.  If you want to mess with their heads, move the tables.  They will walk in and pin themselves to the walls.  They will not know where to sit and suddenly all the rules in the classroom are up in the air. You have shattered their sense of what is known in the world. You are now once more God of your room – go forth and impose a seating plan.

Now, I told you there was some advice out there that was amazing – the best advice ever, like ever.  And, I guess you stopped reading and thought – well share it then- and I moved on and was flippant and silly and just plain enjoyed myself.  Well, this is a case of show and do.  The best advice ever, like ever: When a teacher enjoys teaching kids just know.  Love the job and kids will love learning with you. There. That is the best I got. Enjoy.

How to create the perfect teaching job application over the Christmas holidays

How to create the perfect teaching job application over the Christmas holidays

Congratulations on making it to the end of this year’s first term. It seems to me like the Christmas holidays arrive faster every year!

But no matter what fun you have planned, it is worth using a little of this time to take a moment and plan your next few steps. The Christmas break is the perfect time to get your head down with your teaching job application. And with a bit of smart planning, you’ll have your feet up in front of the fire in no time.

So before you crack open that bottle of bubbly, here is some great advice to help you nail your teaching job application this Christmas.

Managing Your Time

Considering how busy we all get over Christmas, time management is crucial if you want to get your teaching job application done right, and done in time. To help you manage your time more wisely, here are a few points to consider:

  1. Aim to submit your application early. Christmas is a very busy period. If recruiters receive lots of applications, they may close the recruitment window earlier than stated. As such, it pays to get your application finished sooner, by starting on it as soon as possible.
  2. Split your application into small, manageable chunks. Rather than rushing your application, try approaching it with regular, smaller steps. This helps you get your application finished fast, while making sure you pay attention to important details.
  3. Set time aside to practice a few online psychometric tests. You may be asked to complete one of these tests as part of your application, so it pays to be familiar with the process. Practicing these tests will not “improve” your score, but it will help you learn what to expect, and reduce some of your anxieties.

Doing the Right Research

Your application will be sitting in a big pile of other applications. If you don’t make it stand out, it might not get the attention it deserves.

You can make your application stand out for the right reasons by doing a bit of clever research. Here are a few fact-finding tasks you should aim to complete:

  1. Visit the school. If possible, visit the school you’re applying to. This will help you get a feel for what it might be like working there, and could give you some information to use in your application to prove that you have gone the extra mile.
  2. Explore the school’s website. By doing this, you will learn about the school’s visions and values, and you will find out how they approach teaching. Use the information you find to support the development of a tailored application.
  3. Check Ofsted reports and achievement tables. Knowing how a school is performing is another way of finding out good information that will support your application.
  4. Read the application pack. This is possibly one of the most important steps of all. If you don’t thoroughly read the application pack, you might miss an important step that the school really wants you to take. Showing that you can follow instructions and that you pay attention to detail is important.

Remember, the research process is not only about finding information to help you prove your own worth – it is about finding out if the school is right for you, too. If you don’t like the school, then reconsider your application. Why would you take a job that you probably won’t enjoy?

Showing the Relevant Experience

One of the most important parts of your teaching applications is your references. By now, you should have completed a couple of work placements and gained some sort of experience. You should really go to town extracting every experience, challenge and success that you gained!

You might feel a bit uncomfortable boasting about yourself, but Forbes says that “bigging yourself up” in your application (and also in your interview) can really help you secure a place.

When writing about what you learned during your placement, you should think of the following questions:

  1. What challenges did I face and how did I overcome them?
  2. What successes did I achieve during my time at the school?
  3. What training was I exposed to during my placement?

As well as making sure you talk about everything you learned on your placement, make sure your placement schools are prepared to receive a reference request – it is good manners, and it gives them chance to prepare some nice comments about you.

A Few Final Thoughts

Christmas break is the perfect time to work on your application. But you should also remember to find time for yourself – if you burn yourself out, you’ll be no good to anybody.

Here are the key take-home points that you should remember:

  1. Plan your time wisely and aim to submit your application ahead of the closing date
  2. Research each school and tailor your applications accordingly
  3. Don’t be afraid to really “sell yourself” by drawing on all relevant experience

Good luck with your teaching application, and don’t forget to take some quality “me” time over the holidays.