Friday, 2 September 2011

Message from PGDE Text

Regarding internet presence: If you decided the best idea was a different name/identity for school purposes, do you have do change your name officially or is it enough simply to go under a different name whilst in school? Are there legal ramifications?


  1. I'm not sure what you mean by a different identity. It strikes me as being a bit extreme changing your name to be a teacher, and likely to cause concern with employers and parents when (not if) it comes out.

    The best way to approach your presence online is to presume that anything you post online could be seen by anyone in your school. Similarly, you may find yourself being questioned about anything you say or do that appears online.

    In short, be sensible and don't post anything online that may be construed as unprofessional... You never know when it may come back to bite you.

    The GTCS have advice, and individual LAs will have their own policies. If in doubt, ask.

  2. I think what I was meaning was previous internet presence. It's easy to make sure anything further you post online is professional and doesnt reflect badly on you, but for those of us who already have a big internet presence, not all of that can be deleted! What can you do in that circumstance, other than change the name?

  3. I think there's been a bit of a misunderstanding. My suggestion was that you might want to keep your private (i.e. friends and family) use of facebook etc. separate from your educational uses of such tools. I wasn't suggesting though that you pretend to be someone else in school - that would be problematic.

    For example, if you have an established "John R Smith" on facebook, you may be wise to lock that one down tight privacy-wise so that pupils won't stuble across it. If, at some point though you want to use social networking tools with your classes, you could then create a school/education identity such as "Mr J R Smith". This is not about pretending to be something you are not - your friends might call you "Johnny Cool" but normally you'd want your pupils to call you "Mr Smith".

    Be cautious and be professional. Mr. Winton's advice is absolutely sound, so I'll repeat it for added emphasis: "presume that anything you post online could be seen by anyone in your school."

  4. Hello Leah

    Your Internet history is an issue. It is an issue that student teachers have to face but it is something pupils need to be aware of too.

    We all make mistakes and do daft things while we are growing up. The problem with doing something daft on the Internet though, is that it persists! Once something is out there on the Internet, it is almost impossible to erase all traces of it. I have tried to instil a bit of healthy paranoia in my own children but it is not always easy. I have frequently had conversations along the lines of, Child: "But I'm just sharing it with my friends. Nobody else can see it." Me: "...But what if your friend downloads it and passes it on to someone else?"

    Once something's out there, you have little or no control over what happens to it. So err on the side of caution. Big Brother IS watching you!