Thank you, Blue Pages!

So, I’m writing this at 7:38 pm…. just to be clear with the powers that be.

The Ontario College of Teachers has released their communique about appropriate behaviours and boundaries for teachers online. I have read it. It makes sense and I follow the guidelines without being told.

Last week, the Globe and Mail published this article about the OCT position statement.  In the words of Sam Seaborn, “it has me hot as a pistol.”    After reading the article, I was left with the impression that the authors were suggesting that digital natives teachers (like myself) are more likely to engage in inappropriate behaviours online than my digital immigrant colleagues. Why?  Because we grew up with technology.

In fact, the article includes a quotation from Wendy Cassidy, director of Simon Fraser U’s Centre for Education, Law and Society that states:

“teacher candidates in their 20s and 30s often have trouble understanding that freedom of expression does not trump professionalism. Many “think that they’re entitled to say what they want and do what they want online and haven’t really thought about the implications.”

Holy generalization, Batman.  Where are the statistics to back this up?

I wondered if this was true for Ontario teachers and then remembered that there is a public register and the blue pages on the OCT website to help me out.  So, I went there.  This is what I found in the Decision Summaries for the letter ‘A’.  In total, there were 16 professional misconduct decision for people with a last name starting with the letter ‘A’.  1/4 of those decision related to technology in some way.  100% of those decision were of OCT members who would not be considered digital natives.  (with the exception of one that might be…. – not too sure)

Teacher certified in 1995 (I was 15) – “They exchanged personal messages via e-mail …”

Teacher certified in 1985 (I was 5) – “College counsel presented evidence of a number of e-mails  to the student, most of them signed with the member’s first name, in which she disclosed personal information about herself, her relationship with her family, employer and friends. She also continued to communicate with the student after saying she would not.”

Teacher certified in 2000 (ok, I was 20) – “he relationship came to the attention of authorities when another teacher found e-mails between the teacher and the student on a computer shared by various members of the school staff. “

Teacher certified in  1997 (I was 17)  – “alleging that he had sent inappropriate sexual e-mail to two female minor students”

Of course, this was only for the letter ‘A’.  If you look at other last names, you will find digital natives who don’t get the boundary issue.  However, to say that young teachers don’t understand simply because we grew up with technology around us is foolish and very ignorant to the fact that some people don’t get it and never will.

Needless to say, I feel vindicated.  I never thought that I would say this…

Thank you Blue Pages!


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