As I have seen the new video regarding social media use by teachers from the Ontario College of Teachers, I have thought a lot about the presence of teachers on the Internet, and more importantly by us as adults. I know that I have said many times before that we need to really role model for students, yet I have seen many instances where I have seen adults needlessly attack and criticize others using the Internet. While many would say that this is the exact type of reason that we need to keep our students away from social media sites, this only encourages me to role model and teach them properly more.
What it is ultimately about is not that we are using social media, but about the person behind the tool. Often technology is what is blamed when we see needless attacks, but it is always the behaviour. It is not that we can’t disagree with people or their ideas; that type of conversation is beneficial to learning in all aspects. It is when we attack people for their beliefs that is wrong. Through my experience, I have learned something very important: our kids are always watching us. Whether that is what we do on blogs, or how we treat other adults on the playground. Yelling at a kid to be quiet, doesn’t make much sense. What you are asking for and what you are doing are two different things.
It is not that I have ever disagreed with anyone. In fact, I am more likely to write a comment on another person’s blog when I want to challenge them. I wish I have always been perfect in the way I have treated others but that is just not the case. To get better, I always try to remember something when I am frustrated with someone else: we are all somebody’s kid. If we always remember that we all have moms and dads, wouldn’t we just treat each other better no matter if we were 5 or 50?
I distinctly remember reffing a basketball game and having some fans yell some really nasty things while in the game. At a break, I walked over to the fans, and introduced them to my mom and dad who were sitting in the stands. They didn’t yell anymore. Our parents always care about us, even when we are adults.
So when I think about many talking about the “evils of the Internet”, I am always reminded of this tweet from Bud Hunt:
Our kids are always watching. That alone makes me want to do better.