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Anonymise my social media?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by marbeless, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. marbeless

    marbeless New commenter

    Hello all,

    I’m about to start my PGCE. I’m a mature student and have been freelancing as a sole trader under my own name, so I have various social media accounts, a few publications and a website that use my name. I’m also autistic, and am open about that in person and on social media, frequently advocating for better inclusion.

    But... now I’m wondering whether I need to distance my teaching self from all that.

    I don’t want to close it all down, because I’m still involved in a few projects and hope to continue (links with my subject, so could be good Continued Professional Development etc). In many ways I’d like to continue being identified with these accounts because I have overcome quite a bit to get to this point and I’m not ashamed of my past struggles with access and I think it’s good to show that teachers are human and haven’t had charmed lives before ending up in the classroom.

    So I’m interested in your thoughts - I am considering three options in particular-

    1) I keep it separate and don’t explicitly link them with teaching - plausible deniability.

    2) Keep it separate and use a different variation of my name within teaching e.g. take my middle name, and effectively have a new professional teaching persona separate from my freelance one. - separation

    3) I just keep doing what I’ve been doing, stand by what I post (perhaps think it through more carefully, set up a new style guide for myself) - no hiding.

    Advice? Thoughts? Benefit of your experience?

    Whatever I decide, if I’m changing names I will need to do so before starting my PGCE.


  2. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Just make sure that anything that may make you look unprofessional (photos of yourself drunk, any swearing, etc) are not visible to pupils. Make sure your personal details are not on your profile. Disable the 'add friend' option.
    Most teachers use their first name and middle name on FB however the URL of their profile is still their full name so teachers are still easy to find.
    Good luck on your PGCE.
  3. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    We advise our new trainees to switch Fb and Instagram to first name middle name. All your current 'friends' will know who you are. Professional business accounts like twitter are less problematic. Just have a new separate account for personal stuff and stick to business stuff in the main one. Delete any messages pertaining to personal opinions and personal information or change name.
    agathamorse and Stiltskin like this.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Unless you have an extremely unusual last name I doubt the students would find you on these social media platforms, as long as you're not using photos of course.
  5. marbeless

    marbeless New commenter

    Many thanks all - sorry for late reply, I moved into my student digs having been told I’d be taking over all utilities (inc phone) only to find the phone line was disconnected. Very little mobile signal and still waiting on a connection to set up broadband. Wasn’t ignoring the replies and many thanks for the advice, you’ve put my mind to rest (I have a pretty common last name).
    agathamorse and blueskydreaming like this.
  6. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    It is not just students who will look up your social media profile but also prospective employers. You do not need a lot of information about a person in order to find them on social media and the details given away in an application form are more than adequate.

    So as @MrMedia suggests and on any personal accounts lock down all the privacy settings. Use another account/anonymous browser to see what others can see of you (some platforms offer this, like Facebook).
  7. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Cautionary tale. A young teacher with an unusual name told 6th form she came from Xxxxx town. Over familiar 6th form boys traced her younger sister and were overfamiliar on line towards sister. Management told young teacher she had divulged too much info and it was her fault.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I’d close it all down. Accident waiting to happen...
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    I wouldn’t say ‘most’ do this.

    I’ve also always found this poor advice. It means if a student does find you, they now know even more personal information about you.
  10. sidekick125

    sidekick125 New commenter

    Absolutely ridiculous. Teaching is a job. Would you expect someone in McDonald's to close all of their social media? No one is defied by being a teacher. It is a job, it pays for you to do other things in your life.

    I use my actual name in my social media on FB, but have the maximum security settings so anyone who isn't my friend can't see anything. My Instagram is unblocked and free for all to see, however, I don't post anything nearly interesting enough to warrant a second glance. Be sensible, but don't stop living your life because of your job.
    andthentherewerenone likes this.
  11. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Someone who works in McDonalds won’t get sacked for a lapse in judgement or a photo from ten years ago...
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Close it down. Do not give anyone ammunition to accuse you of wrong doing.

    Do not fall into the trap of thinking divulging your past will endear you to students or parents. It won't, and nor should it. Your past life is no-one's business.

    Plenty of people have never led charmed lives or have faced struggles to get into their career. No-one needs to make a big deal of it online. You'd be better off talking to people in school about whether you can lead assemblies. I have a colleague who is ASD, led an assembly on autism, and it was utterly amazing. You can use your past to open up discussions - but in "real" space.

    This probably sounds very harsh, and if you are offended, I apologise. But whilst I do think you make good points about showing humanity, you are vulnerable as a teacher, and you need to protect yourself.

    Good luck with your training.

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