Rate My Teacher Candidate

During the summer of 2017, the Digital Tattoo project team is collaborating with students and others on the development of case study scenarios for use in seminars in teacher education programs.

Workshop participants have the opportunity to:

  • build their confidence for decision-making about posting and sharing content online.
  • practice using guidelines and resources to support decision-making.
  • reflect on and discuss the multiple perspectives at play in each scenario and the implications for themselves as beginning teachers.

The risks associated with social media use can lead to teachers avoiding it entirely, leaving others more control over a teacher's digital identity.

Table Discussion

In groups of 3-4:

1. Read the case study and consider your response to the personal reflection question as you read.

2. Discuss each question below with your group, using the resources to support your responses.

3. Take notes on your discussion to share when the large group reconvenes.

While reading the case study, consider your personal response to the following question:

The risks of social media cause some teachers to avoid using the platforms, but could limiting my use of social media also have a negative impact on my professional development?

After hearing stories about teachers being disciplined or criticized for online posts, Mateo decided not to use social media during his practicum. He was not a regular user of social media anyway, having only a Facebook account that he posted on occasionally. Between using the highest available privacy settings and continuing to post very little from the account, Mateo felt confident that he was unlikely to run into any problems related to social media while teaching. While completing his practicum, he knew other teacher candidates who had multiple social media accounts and were more active online. They would sometimes express concern over the potential for certain posts or pictures to have a negative effect on their reputations as teachers and Mateo was grateful not to have the same worries.

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Some of his friends, including Jenna, encouraged him to use social media to help him professionally. Jenna had created a classroom blog and Twitter account during her practicum, which she used to update her students' parents about classroom activities and showcase her teaching and lesson plans for future employers. Despite this encouragement, Mateo believed that the risks of social media outweighed the potential benefits. He was relieved to have decided not to use social media when he would hear that other teachers and teacher candidates had posted about their social lives or their negative experiences at school, wondering why they would decide to share these things online, even if they did not have other teachers or students as followers and friends. On certain days during his practicum, especially when the two students he found most difficult to manage had caused numerous disturbances during class, Mateo understood the temptation to vent to his friends through social media, but he chose to talk with them in person about his stresses instead. He did not want to make the issues even worse by putting any of his complaints online or in texts.

Now finished with his degree, Mateo has begun interviewing for his first position as a certified teacher. During one of his interviews, an administrator unexpectedly mentions searching Mateo's name in Google and finding comments made about Mateo by his former students. The administrator wants to know if Mateo has any response to the students' comments, but Mateo has no idea what the administrator is talking about and does not know how to answer the question. After all, Mateo has avoided using social media and he does not know how students could be posting about him on social media pages, or how someone could find their comments just by searching Mateo's name.

After the interview, Mateo decides to search his name in Google in order to find out what the interviewer has seen about him online. There are very few results associated with his name, but the second on the list leads to a page on RateMyTeachers.com. He opens the link to find that there are two reviews written about his teaching, both with very low ratings and highly critical comments, including “Better get ready to fail unless you’re one of his favourites…” and “He was so rude to students! He shouldn’t be allowed to teach anyone.” Mateo is pretty sure he knows which students have posted the reviews, given that there were only two students he had a particularly difficult time managing in class during his practicum, but he cannot be sure as they have been written anonymously. Mateo is now very worried that other administrators will search his name online prior to interviewing him. If they do, he knows that they will undoubtedly find this page, especially given that it is one of only a few web results under his name, and that finding this information could make them less likely to hire him. He is also concerned that other students and their parents could find the RateMyTeachers page and judge his teaching by these reviews, or decide to add their own negative reviews to those already written. Mateo hopes that he can get these reviews removed or find some other way to minimize their impact so that they do not interfere with his ability to get a job or demonstrate his strengths as a teacher.

1. What would you do in Mateo's situation? Is it possible for him to get the reviews removed? Are there other steps he can take to minimize the impact of his students' criticisms?

Consider these resources as you answer:

  • About RateMyTeachers:
  • Read "How Are Teachers Rated?" on pages 1-2.

2. In what ways can a teacher's reputation be impacted by the comments others make about them online? Is it likely that school administrators, school divisions, and/or the school community would take these comments seriously? Could these kinds of reviews affect a teacher's job or job search?

Consider these resources as you answer:

  • Read "Suggestions for Alberta Administrators" on page 3.
  • Note the ways in which teachers' RateMyTeachers reviews have been used near the end of the following news stories:

3. Do you agree with Mateo's opinion that the risks of social media use for teachers outweigh the benefits? Are there any opportunities Mateo has missed out on because of his decision to avoid social media?

Consider these resources as you answer:

4. How can teachers protect themselves from becoming targets of others online? What steps can they take if they do feel targeted?

Consider these resources as you answer:

If time allows, explore these additional resources:

  • Read "Connections to inform your professional practice" on pg. 15.

Some rights reserved Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document according to the terms in Creative Commons License, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. The full text of this license may be found here: CC by-sa 4.0 Attribution-Share-a-like

When re-using this resource, please attribute as follows: developed by the University of British Columbia: Digital Tattoo – Case Studies Project Team.

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What questions did this case study raise for you from your perspective? Please share in the comment box below.

source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Digital_Tattoo_Rate_My_Teacher_Candidate

Post image: Laptop, licensed CC0 1.0 on Pixabay.com

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