The teaching union Nasuwt is mightily fed up with an attempt to tell teachers how to behave themselves on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.On the one hand, I can see their point. But on the other…
The Welsh General Teaching Council has got right up Nasuwt's nose by issuing a code full of platitudes, telling teachers to "conduct their relationships with pupils professionally and appropriately both in school and out of school" and base their relationship with pupils on trust and respect.Oh, noes! Platitudes and speech codes!
Somehow, it’s not as much fun when you are receiving, instead of giving, eh?
But Nasuwt's Wales organiser, Rex Phillips, said the code was being implemented "in the face of a consultation process that revealed overwhelming opposition to its introduction".Hey, we’re all pretty much in opposition to union-led malarkey like this sort of thing.
He said that "the GTCW has, once again, showed contempt for the views of the profession" and pointed out that fewer than 1% of registered teachers in Wales had come before the council of charges of professional misconduct.Eat that sauce, gander, eat it all up…
"They don't need the code, people know how to act – that's why we believe it is unnecessary."
But there are teachers who haven't quite worked out that Facebook is not the best place to vent their frustrations. A Massachusetts teacher was forced to resign last month after parents spotted her descriptions of students as "germ bags" and parents as "snobby" and "arrogant". And there have been any number of stories of teachers posting pictures of themselves a bit squiffy or lacking sensible clothing.Well, is it not their right to do so?
I mean, if they get the mickey taken out of them, they’ve only themselves to blame for not posting anonymously, but so what?
For many teachers, the issue is not their own behaviour but what their pupils are up to. Earlier this year, more than one in seven teachers said they or a colleague had been bullied by children spreading malicious rumours about them online.Yes, the teachers are being ‘cyberbullied’ by the pupils…
So, since they think a warning about how to conduct themselves online is ‘demeaning’, how do they see this getting resolved?
Mary Bousted, ATL's general secretary, said: "There have been some horrendous incidents of cyberbullying reported … which have made people's lives miserable.Perfect!
"Schools and colleges need to have clear policies to deal with it, and make sure that pupils will face appropriate punishment."
It would be the height of arrogance to think to tell teachers how to behave online outside school hours, yet doing the same to the pupils (and even punishing them) is just fine and dandy!
Either our teachers are mental midgets unable to see the inherent logical failure of such a move, or lunatic authoritarian hypocrites. Which is it?