teachin' school

teaching tip 4. protect yourself.

…with technology

only use school technology for school related things.  otherwise, you could get yourself into trouble pretty easily.  they track everything you do anyway.  save personal stuff for outside of school, including online banking, unnecessary texting or emails, facebook, pinterest (i know!  i’m addicted too!), buzzfeed, most blogs, etc.  also, if you have a personal hotspot, check with your IT people.  it could interfere with the school’s internet or using it could violate your technology agreement.

if the kids are using technology under your guidance, watch them like a hawk.  what they do on their laptops or iPads will come back on you whether its how they treat the technology physically or what they’re looking up online in a new tab. and the kids are smart.  they know all the tricks to distract you.  demand to see screens randomly.  go through with your threats when a kid oversteps the boundaries.  by the end of the year, they’ll know exactly what you expect them to do and how to use it appropriately.

…with gossip

don’t trust ANYONE until you are sure they are trustworthy.  schools are hotbeds for gossip.  and we’re not talking about the kids…  teachers are the worst gossips!  at my school, there is one man who knows absolutely everything that is going on in the school and happily tells everyone about it all the time.  and i mean all the time.  what a chatterbox.  try not to get sucked into the news reel.  it’ll happen.  just try to limit it.  it’ll make you as crazy as the kids walking the halls if you listen and react to everything hear.

also, have you ever played the “telephone game”?  the sentence is never the same at the end of the line as it was at the beginning.  the same goes with school gossip.  take it all with a grain of salt.  most rumors are either untrue or twisted.

…with the kids

do not and i mean DO NOT text or email or otherwise communicate with students.   the only exception would be using your school email for class related topics.  if you’re a coach, you may have permission to text students.  just make sure there is a record of EVERYTHING.  that means every email and text saved, an email to your principal to give them a heads up, and communication with parents if/when necessary.  i’ve seen two teachers fired over this issue.  one was at fault, and one wasn’t.  situations can get out of your control very easily with modern communication.

this also includes face to face communication and interactions.  we all know that things can be misconstrued if seen or heard in the wrong way.  women, be especially careful with young male students.  men, be extra careful with young female students.  hormones make teenagers believe or imagine there are feelings where there aren’t.  keep them at arms length, physically and emotionally.  this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t create and nurture relationships with them, just be very careful.

…with school policies

read your handbook.  okay, maybe not read it.  those things are SO long.  but at least scan it.  especially if you have a question about something.  and talk to a seasoned teacher in the district that you trust if you have a question.  if an issue becomes serious, contact your teacher union.  i’ve called the connected lawyer service several times just for clarification.  they are really nice.  plus, you pay your dues.  they work for you.

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