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Question about Social Media Presence as a new teacher with a hobby for making videos

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by david_j_caldicott, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. david_j_caldicott

    david_j_caldicott New commenter

    Hi folks.

    I'm currently applying for a PGCE with the hopes of becoming a physics teacher in the UK and eventually internationally. Prior to this I had a small coaching business which involved a lot of online posting and community-building, using my real name throughout.

    Obviously I've been in the online space for a while, so carefully curate my content, most of which is in the self-help, meditation, yoga and spirituality niches, and have long since removed anything that reflects badly on me, such as University photos or posts about my opinions on politics etc. from when I first joined FB.

    My online presence is scattered across Facebook, Youtube, Spotify Podcasts and even TikTok.

    I've read that it's recommended that teachers use different names on their social media, and I've seen another post here asking about using a different name with your students so they don't look for your profiles etc.

    I guess I'm just looking for some perspective. I don't want to stop making videos for my small group of followers, and would love to grow the audience alongside my new career in teaching. I sometimes discuss controversial topics, but usually keep the visibility set to friends-only or unlisted so that only people on my mailing list ever see it.

    I obviously would never mention any school that I work in, or other staff or students, and would not accept friend-requests from students (I typically screen unknown friend-requests).

    But I'm torn between just changing my name on those profiles/channels and taking the long time it would take to go through and edit out any mention of my name in descriptions or comments.... or just continuing to post publicly under my own name, but using an extra level of care and consideration that employers or students might find it.

    I don't care about judgement for any of it, it's just me expressing myself and telling my story for people. I'm just concerned that it may end up being a problem later down the line and wondering what I could even do about it.

    Should I just wait and see? Or should I separate out my identity into two names, one for social media & creative output, and one for teaching?

    Has anyone been in this position before?

    Thanks for your support in advance. Much love.
    jarndyce likes this.
  2. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    If it's private social media then yes you need to lock it down so students can't find it. I had Facebook change their privacy settings then some students had me pop up as a recommended friend, luckily they could only see my profile picture. You don't want them seeing embarrassing pictures of you as a teenager or historical posts were you may have used swear words.

    If it's educational content, why would you need to change your name? It depends on if you would be appropriate to show in the classroom or not, if it's swearing or other inappropriate content then yes you should distance yourself.
    steely1 and agathamorse like this.
  3. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    If that's your real name, change it.
    nomad, steely1 and TheoGriff like this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    First comment, I echo @ilovesooty.

    Are you david_j_caldicott? If so, you need to contact the Help desk and change it. Now.

    Look at everybody who has replied. Do you believe that these are our real names?

    Then next step, you change all your other profiles to a new name. Using your mother's maiden name if you want to retain something serious rather than frivolous.

    Oh yes, TES is the home of frivolous names!

    Best wishes
    nomad, ilovesooty and steely1 like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's a tricky one. If your business is what you say, then there ought to be no problem running this in parallel to teaching.
    However, (some) teenagers are nothing if not full of mischief and pictures and videos can be recaptioned, cropped, edited and researched.
    I can see that your "brand" is important and part of your online presence. I would think about a relaunch or rebrand fairly soon, then you can keep the new stuff separate.
    Others are more media savvy than me though. I'm still at the "post it on the back of the cubicle door at the Dog and Duck" stage.
    jarndyce, steely1 and agathamorse like this.
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    It is good that you have recognised the potential issue. I would change your name on your coaching online presence , kids are kids, even if it’s all above board, they will find some yoga move you have demoed insanely funny and it will go viral throughout the school.

    But this does extend to TES. One thing you learn very quickly in teaching is it is a small world and people will see your posts and know it’s you in the school you work at if you use your real name. So ask to get this pulled ASAP, taking our advice.
    agathamorse and steely1 like this.
  7. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Could they use a different name in school? Just a thought? Obviously they'd need to give their real name and certs to the head, but is there a problem with being Mrs Jones if you're really Miss Smith? A lot of women use their maiden name to save the hassle of changing it-but as long as you agree it with the head, and have no nebulous reason for doing so, could you not use a different name at school?

    Social media wasn't an issue for most of my career, but I remember some colleagues who had unusual surnames worrying about students looking up their details in the phone book, and some going ex-directory.

    OP-don't do this without checking with someone who is qualfied to advise you-it's only an idea! I do realise your picture would probably look like you, but who knows if they'll have decided we need to wear masks by September...
    CheeseMongler and strawbs like this.
  8. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    @hhhh good suggestion. As you say, extremely common for women keeping using maiden name etc, I also had a colleague who has an awkward surname who used a different one...I don't think they had changed it legally, just informally.
  9. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It might be unusual, but formally changing name by deed poll might be the easiest way to separate off the online presence from school life without losing all the online followers.

    Of course, if any of the social media stuff includes photos/video of the OP, there's still going to be the chance that someone stumbles across it and word gets out that Mr Bloggs goes under a different name online.

    Whatever, it's probably be best to be upfront with any school about any online presence that might present any issues. That way, if any problems arise, they are prepared, and less likely to tell you you've done anything you shouldn't.

    Alternatively, accept that the coaching business, etc, will have to be limited to current clients and personal contacts, and take it all out of the public domain. Teaching will keep you quite busy enough, and it does remove the risk that you inadvertently end up with pupils following you.
    strawbs likes this.

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