Every September we sit down as a whole staff and have the annual ‘teachers on social media’ talk. We’re told not to accept friend requests from students on Facebook (as if we would) and not to befriend students and talk to them/e-mail them out of hours. I have my Facebook and private Twitter account set to the highest privacy settings possible and I don’t think I’m even searchable on Facebook; no current student has thought to add me or private message me – although that might have more to do with the fact that our English department is full of stunners and I’m towards the bottom of the pile!
However, since starting ‘Around the Corner Fitness’ my perspective has changed slightly. I don’t want to be completely invisible with my personal training business; I want people to be able to search for me and find me easily because I want to put myself out there to gain a reputation and hopefully earn a bit of money.
This has caused an unexpected conflict with teaching.
Last week one of my current Year 7 students (around 12 years old) has found my ‘Around the Corner Fitness’ twitter account. I have never mentioned ACF to any students at school and there’s only a handful of staff that know about it. I’ve no idea how this student found me. If you type ‘Kate Rose’ into the search bar on Twitter I am there, but why this student would even think of doing this and how he knows my first name is beyond me. Surely he has better things to do with his time?! Incidentally as I wrote that last sentence I wondered if he was following me on my other Twitter account. Blow me, he was! He’s now blocked on both accounts.
For every post that I put up, a Tweet goes out telling people who follow me on Twitter that a new blog post has gone live. The student obviously saw this Tweet and followed the link to the blog post which unfortunately just so happened to be the ‘What I Eat in a Day’ video. He then put it on Instagram and lots of other students in the class watched my video. This I didn’t mind; I had no way of knowing that this was what they were doing. Ignorance is bliss! I did mind the following day when, during my lesson, every time I paused for breath there were sarcastic comments from the students: “Look, here’s how you make a lasagne”, “Around the Corner Fitness”, “Ooh I can run”. I just wasn’t prepared for it. At all.
I don’t know if I did the right thing by ignoring it and reporting their comments to the Head of Year afterwards. They clearly wanted a rise out of me. Considering it was their last lesson with me of the year and I aren’t teaching any of them last year I just let it go after a few glares in the ringleader’s direction. What bothers me the most is that they thought they could rib me about something I do in my spare time. About something that’s got nothing to do with them. At all. I wouldn’t ever have dreamed about taking the piss out of one of my teachers like that, especially to their face in such a challenging way. I’m glad I wasn’t at school in the Internet/social media generation. I think it blurs the boundaries so much that some students have lost a sense of what’s appropriate.
Incidentally, I saw this post on Twitter today and it really saddened me.
This area of blogging really scares me. I’m quite a sensitive soul and I’m not sure that I can cope with aggressive negative feedback. I know that what I’ve experience is nowhere near as bad, but the incident at school has really put me off creating any more YouTube content and I’ve taken down the video that I worked really hard to create.
I have new (hopefully nicer) classes next year and I don’t think my principles have really changed. I still want to be visible in the community because I want to make personal training a viable option as a way out of teaching for me. I’m not going to let it put me off.
And as for the student, if you’re somehow still stalking me on the Internet despite being blocked and being reprimanded by the HoY, I hope you consider your actions before doing the same again. Although I’m your teacher I still have a life and I intend to make the most of it!
Happy healthy work-life balancing.
Around the Corner Fitness.