Teachers have every right to lead raunchy private lives
Social media is robbing employees of the right to behave as they like in their private lives.
A Melbourne teacher has reportedly quit her job after her raunchy Twitter account - through which she posted racy pictures and engaged in explicit online banter - was discovered by her principal and exposed to the public by Fairfax.
This account had nothing to do with the teacher’s work and precautions were taken to keep her identity hidden. She posted under a pseudonym and never named her school. But her conduct on the account is being judged against the same standards as her behaviour in the workplace.
It’s not as though the woman brought her sexy pictures to class for show-and-tell.
According to the principal, no parent or student has claimed to have seen the Twitter account. He only discovered it through a single, anonymous complaint.
So what’s the problem? Teachers are no different from the rest of us. When their work day is over they should be allowed to spend their private time however they like.
The teacher’s Twitter account was deleted on Friday afternoon after the principal was alerted to its existence. Fairfax then ran a story which included a racy picture from the account, effectively exposing the teacher’s identity to anyone who knew her.
You have to question whatever logic was behind the decision to run that story.
If the risk that these tweets could be discovered by chance was a problem, how was it any better for them to draw attention to the account on their widely read pages?
Now this woman has felt compelled to quit her job, and her actions on Twitter have been thoroughly publicised. How is anyone better off?
We expect our teachers to be paragons of professionalism in the classroom. They are role models for our children, and any lewd conduct at school should be dealt with – harshly.
But they are allowed to have lives outside of school as well. Preferably, without their private pursuits being the subject of a public shaming in the press.
This is arguably the most difficult problem presented by the emerging world of social media. The line between your conduct in the workplace and your private life is blurring.
No one receives a pay check for their leisurely pursuits after hours. Why should those activities be subject to the same professional standards as our behaviour at work?
The answer is simple. They shouldn’t.
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