By Sue Curry Jones
I rarely get on Facebook. I don’t really like it, and most of the time, I don’t enjoy what is posted. However, I keep my account because I do use the site to stay in touch with former colleagues and far-away friends in Florida, South Carolina and California.
However, last week on Aug. 1, I visited Facebook to check on the proper spelling of a person’s name, and in the process, a specific posting caught my eye. And, as I seriously looked at the post, several other similar posts appeared in sequence, all by the same person.
Basically, the posts were being made about the professional development meeting in session that day for Ava R-1 staff members. The main reason the posts caught my eye was because all of the entries were being made by an employee of the school –– a teacher.
If it had just been one post it would not have been a big deal. Maybe even considered funny or acceptable. But that was not the case. There were eight posts and each post displayed a different message and they all had a negative connotations.
Not one of the messages held a complimentary note about professional development days, that is unless you accept professional development seminars as boring.
The first message was posted at 9:35 a.m. and showcased a series of images detailing “what teachers really do on professional development day.”
A second post appeared at 9:51 a.m. and displayed a pie chart that gave “what I really do during staff development days.” The chart gave several nonsensical explanations, one of which was sleeping.
The third post came around 10:00 a.m. with the message, “Teachers don’t hate professional development. They just hate professional development that wastes their time.”
At 10:04 a.m., another message was posted with the message “Of course, I’ll remember everything from this year’s professional development.” *Snicker*
At 10:09 a.m., the next post stated “You don’t have to be crazy to work here. We’ll train you.”
A little later at 10:40 a.m. another message showed a variety of “facial expressions teachers make during professional development.” The expressions were not favorable.
The next post appeared at 10:46 a.m. and it showed a picture of a happy teacher smiling just before a professional development seminar. It was followed by the unhappy image of a teacher after a seminar with the caption “[professional development] just sucked one hour of your life.”
That afternoon around 2:00 p.m., an image box displayed the message: “Professional Development was better this afternoon. Thank goodness, because I was done.”
This type of behavior is one reason Facebook is not a favorite of mine.
I cannot imagine that the professional development seminars presented at Ava R-I warrant this kind of repeated disrespect, especially from a teacher. According to information provided by the school, this particular professional development day was focused on suicide prevention, dyslexia and methods for implementing student interventions. All crucial topics, each one deeply important.
And, knowing about these potential problems is integral to a teacher’s ability to do their job well, especially in today’s educational environment. Student issues and problems are worth learning about.
Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton oversees the professional development seminars in the Ava R-I district, and after watching Aaron in countless school board meetings fulfilling job responsibilities, there is no doubt he puts extensive effort and energy into making professional development days meaningful. It is obvious his goal is to make each event helpful and informative for teachers and staff members. He takes his job seriously. Kudos to Mr. Dalton.
To those who post unkind, disrespectful and untrue statements on Facebook, shame on you. But to this teacher, please be aware that 94 percent of teens go online daily, and most teens use multiple social platforms, but Facebook is one of the most popular websites.
So, it poses the question. What are you teaching students about character and integrity when as a teacher you make disrespectful posts to the public, to teens, about your own profession, and your own administrators?
Here’s a novel idea….maybe you should pay attention in professional development seminars and spend less time on Facebook. It would be time well spent.
And yes, I totally expect to be ‘unfriended.’ C’est la vie – such is life.