Teachers and Social Media: How to Set Boundaries Between Personal and Public Life | Jeff Horton, Duluth

Jeff Horton
3 min readJun 29, 2023

In today’s digital age, social media has become integral to our personal and professional lives. While social media platforms offer numerous benefits, teachers must be mindful of setting clear boundaries between their personal and public lives. Maintaining a professional image online is crucial to protect one’s privacy, preserve professional relationships, and ensure the appropriate use of social media.

This article provides practical tips on how teachers can establish healthy boundaries on social media platforms.

Separate Personal and Professional Accounts:

Creating separate social media accounts for personal and professional purposes is fundamental in setting boundaries. Use a professional account exclusively for educational content, networking, and communication with colleagues and parents.

Privacy Settings:

Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on each social media platform you use. Adjust the settings to control who can view your posts, tag you in photos, or access personal information.

Think Before You Post:

Exercise caution and think twice before posting anything on social media. Consider the potential consequences of your posts, comments, and photos. Remember that once something is shared online, removing or controlling its dissemination can be difficult. Avoid posting controversial or inappropriate content that may reflect poorly on your professional image.

Maintain Professionalism:

When using social media professionally, maintain a professional tone and demeanor. Avoid engaging in heated debates, making offensive comments, or sharing personal information that may compromise your integrity or your school’s reputation.

Respect Confidentiality and Privacy:

Respect the confidentiality and privacy of your students and colleagues. Refrain from sharing sensitive information, student work, or personal details without appropriate consent. Be aware of your school’s policies and guidelines regarding using social media concerning student privacy.

Separate Friendships and Professional Relationships:

Maintain a clear distinction between personal friendships and professional relationships on social media. While it may be tempting to connect with students or parents on social media, it is generally advisable to maintain professional boundaries. Opt for official communication channels to interact with students, parents, and colleagues in a manner consistent with school policies.

Monitor Your Online Presence:

Regularly monitor your online presence by conducting searches on your name and reviewing your social media profiles. Address any inappropriate content or posts that others may share and may reflect negatively on you.

Seek Professional Development:

Stay updated on social media best practices and guidelines specific to the education sector. Participate in professional development opportunities that address digital citizenship, responsible social media use, and the impact of social media on the teaching profession.

Maintaining clear boundaries between personal and professional lives on social media is crucial for teachers. Teachers can protect their privacy by creating separate accounts, adjusting privacy settings, exercising caution in online sharing, preserving professional relationships, and maintaining a positive professional image. Respect confidentiality, communicate professionally, and seek ongoing professional development to navigate the digital world responsibly. By setting these boundaries, teachers can harness the power of social media while ensuring their personal and professional lives remain separate and well-aligned.

Article originally published on jeffhorton.net.

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Jeff Horton

Jeff Horton is a Duluth-based educator, superintendent, technology enthusiast, and believer in representation. Learn more @ http://jeffhorton.info/.