I have a Flickr account. I post most pictures I take to the account, and most are accessible to the public (Under a CC-BY-SA 2.0 license, no less). I've knew by doing this it was likely that my students would eventually find my photos (and I take that into account when posting).
Well...it's happened. Actually, a student found it several months ago, but searching through Mr. W's Flickr page has just recently hit the mainstream. While I don't have any compromising pictures to worry about, I do take goofy pictures of myself now and then. Students seem to take great pleasure in seeing goofy pictures of me (this surprises me...they see me being goofy live and in person 70 minutes a day).
To clear the air (and show I have nothing to hide), here is a collection of many of the goofy pics I have of myself on Flickr:
I took these for a little slideshow I put on a digital picture frame I bought my wife this Christmas.
Some reflections on this recent development:
- It feels a little weird to have students looking at personal pictures. I knew going in that it was possible, and I don't have a problem with them seeing the pics, but it still feels weird. I guess I've been used to compartmentalizing my life between school & not-school, and when they come together it feels odd.
- Your students are checking you out. Whether searching for information about you online or offline, many students want to know more about you.
- This can be a good thing. They may be able to see I'm a real person, learn about my interests, see places I've visited, etc. It may be a relationship building experience.
- This can be a bad thing. It depends what you have online and accessible to students. If I had pictures of myself in more compromising situations, the effect may have been much more negative.
The overriding message I've gotten from my students: "We are watching you. We want to see if You-the-Teacher is the same as You-the-Person. We'll be disappointed in you if you've been putting on masks."
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