Teachers and (Im)Morality: The [Social] World is Flat

I read a quick post by Joanne Jacobs on the story of a teacher who was suspended for one month for a picture of her at a bridal shower. In the picture she is seen near the male stripper who was working the shower. This picture was posted to facebook by someone else.

Seen With Stripper, Suspended

A little while ago I wrote a post on my blog about some of the daily frustrations of teaching, it fed to my facebook account, a parent complained about it, I was cautioned about writing anything that could ‘come back on the school’.

This fed into my twitter feed today:

And MissTeacha and I had a twitter conversation today about morality clauses in teacher contracts, one of which she has. When I asked her who decided on what was immoral behaviour, she replied:


My comment on Joanne’s post is the following:

The economic world is not the only one that has flattened. The social world has as well. Where it used to be easy to manage different social spheres (work-related, school-related, friends, family, etc…) it’s becoming more complex. What Stephen says is true, and social networking a la facebook makes it even easier to find cases that may ‘offend’. We’re playing a new game with the old rules…

So. Either we continue to accept the fact that teachers (and librarians) are held to higher moral standards (whatever that means, depending on whose standards we choose as the metre stick) and try to negotiate our lives within the flattening of our social spheres, or we start to tell new stories and create new norms around how our personal lives are judged in the widening spotlight. Can we really expect our social networks to change without a change in how we navigate and are judged within them?