All teachers are guided by a system based code of conduct. Most codes actually state that teachers are not able to publicly discuss any negative aspects or criticise their employer, not to mention issues of privacy. Most teachers on Twitter state in their bio profile that their tweets are their own. But is this enough?
What level of criticism is tolerable, particularly when approaching a state election. Recently Teacher Education Review podcast encouraged teachers to be political to ensure policy decisions are not made without input from suitably qualified experts but how far can you go without jeopardising your job?
In my humble opinion it comes down to knowing the research and the way in which criticism is delivered. If you base your criticism on experience and educational research and make your words constructive, you can’t go wrong. I also think it is fine to give generalised support. (Personal opinion not policy). However, if your criticism becomes personal, abusive or reveals confidential school or personal information, you have probably crossed a line.
At the beginning of this year my co-workers and I were reminded not to comment if approached by media as NSW moves towards a state election. Not that I ever would. “Contact the media unit” will always be my standard response. But what about my social media accounts? How does my right to freedom of speech sit side by side with my responsibility to meet my employer’s code of conduct?
I will be walking a fine line in the coming weeks. I tend to call a spade a shovel and often open my mouth to change feet. Hopefully I won’t cross those blurred lines. (Could I use any more cliches – tired = lazy writing).