The Professional by EGEA
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 The Professional 

Volume 20                                  October 2015

Educators & Social Media

Unintended Consequences

Social media has become an integral part of modern life. More and more educators are using social media platforms to connect with students outside of school. While there are acceptable ways to interact with students online, caution is warranted. Concerns over social media are not only focused on direct interactions with students, but also what educators are doing on their own time, and what they say about students.

There are an increasing number of stories in the news that focus on the inappropriate use of social media in our profession. One such case was presented in the article "Teacher Accused of 'Wanna Stab Some Kids' Tweet Back to School". While this instance may seem extreme, educators are finding themselves in hot water around the country and even in our own district, regarding the inappropriate use of social media. 

Inappropriate use of social media can also result in concerns over an educator's professionalism and have other unintended effects. Around the country, educators have been released from positions due to what they posted on social media sites. Despite privacy settings on these sites, people can share or even take screen shots of posts, pictures, or your activities online. In some instances, a third party has posted information about an individual without their permission, which raised questions about their professionalism. Studies show that most people are friends with co-workers and a good percentage, even their boss. What you do and who you are online matters!

Employers use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to screen job applicants or check up on their employees. But what many people don't realize is that information you post could destroy an employment case related to injury, disability, or stress. Postings could potentially put your claim and job in danger. Read more about that HERE.

Educators in the first two years of probationary service have little protection and can be non-reelected without a reason. Even veteran teachers may point to a "First Amendment Right" to say or post what they wish. While you do have first amendment freedoms, you are a public employee and it is recommended that you use caution. Just because you CAN post something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. In the Supreme Court Case Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) the court found that the free speech rights of a public employee's speech was based on whether the content was a matter of "public concern."

The Bottom Line

Use good judgement! While using social media, separate your private life from your professional world.

For further reading:

CTA Region 2
Leadership Conference

This month EGEA Leaders attended the CTA Region 2 Leadership Conference to expand their knowledge on topics including the LCAP, bargaining, CalSTRS, member benefits, evaluations, and much more!

New Bargaining Team member, Alison Bliss (Harris Middle School), attended this conference for the first time. Learn more about Alison and her reflections about joining the EGEA Leadership Team below.
  • What prompted you to want to get involved in leadership at EGEA? I've spent the last few years being a site rep and I enjoy being able to work with fellow teachers. I feel like being involved in the leadership will allow me to learn so much more about the in's and out's of the union and the district, and will help me to better work with teachers.
  • What insights did you have as you attended the conference? While the LCAP is still young and we're all still learning about it, I understand better now how important the LCAP is to our district and to our schools and that it is important that everyone be heard. The LCAP is already playing a pivotal role in how things are decided so I hope to continue to learn more about it.
  • What is something you wish every member knew? I walked away from the conference with a better appreciation for how our local is run. I never realized how rare it was to have a local that was operated by active teachers that were still connected to the community, the schools, and the kids. We are very fortunate to have a model that allows our own members work for us.

Google Classroom

Guest Reporter:
Graham Stewart   Albiani Middle School

Google Classroom is a tool that is available for free to the educators of the EGUSD as part of the Google Apps for Education Suite. This program is appealing because it operates as a closed environment that is controlled by you and is safe for students. In addition, you do not need to be an expert on Google Classroom and you do not need to know how to use the entire system to do one simple thing. As your knowledge of Google Classroom grows, its capabilities will grow with you.

My favorite feature of Google Classroom is the ability to share, edit, and comment on student writing. I create an assignment in Google Classroom and it automatically goes to every student's personal Google Drive. When the student opens the assignment and starts working on it, I can watch them work in real time. It is possible to have 35 students working on the same assignment and I can see exactly what each student is writing and I can comment on their work as they are doing it. It is pretty powerful when you can highlight a sentence and then comment "Is this a good intro? Tell me more," and the student can revise on the spot. Once the student turns in the assignment, you can comment, suggest revisions, and/or grade the work. As soon as you grade or release the work back to the student, it will appear in their folder in Google Drive. Google Classroom will also e-mail the student when the file is graded and returned if there is an e-mail attached to the account.

Another feature of Google Classroom is the ability to post a question in the common area (news feed) and have the students respond to it with a comment. The teacher has the ability to change the settings to make the posts public (for the class) or so only you can see them. This is a great tool to use for "Tickets out the Door" at the end of a lesson or for other formative assessments. You could even use the question as a hook activity at the beginning of class to engage students into your lesson. My experience has been that since this technology is so new, the students are thrilled to be working with it.

There is one systematic drawback to Google Classroom in our district. Gmail and Google+ are blocked for EGUSD student Google accounts, which means that many of the more advanced functions of Google Classroom will not work. There are a plethora of apps, extensions, and add-ons that work with Google Classroom and can do some very cool things if these features are eventually unlocked. One extension, called Flubaroo (which works in concert with Google Classroom), will email students information, mini-lessons, or links depending on what questions they missed on an assessment to help them master the content. Still, in spite of these limitations, Google Classroom is a powerful tool to connect with students and run your classroom.

HERE is a great resource that can explain the basics of Google Classroom in only 10 minutes.

Save the Date

EGEA is hosting a
New Teacher Reception

December 9, 2015
@ The EGEA Office

Don't miss out on swag bags, raffle prizes, and food!!!

New teachers to EGUSD please RSVP to your EGEA Site Representative.

Please take time to voice your opinion! Click on the Vote Today button above to visit the voting website.
Bargaining Survey window October 22-30 (You do NOT need to be an EGEA member to complete the bargaining survey.)

Click HERE if you need help registering or re-registering to access the site.
EGEA Leadership
Region 2 CTA Conference
October 2015
Click HERE or the above picture to access the
Union Code of Conduct.
EGUSD EGEA Collective Bargaining Agreement
Weingarten Rights: The Right of Representation
Find my Site Rep
Contact Us:
9297 Office Park Circle, Elk Grove, Ca. 95758

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