Don't Leave Any Evidence!

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Don't Leave Any Evidence!
Future and current employers can find out all sorts of things about you these days. Make sure that you don't leave behind any damning electronic evidence.
Many teachers don't realize that conversations, activities and photographs which they considered personal and private are out there for anybody to see. If you have a Facebook page and Twitter, you have to understand that you are leaving all kinds of electronic evidence for potential employers, or anybody, for that matter, to see. Why does this matter? It matters because you never know how a future or current employer might interpret some of the things he sees on your Facebook page. Those candid photos of you and your friends enjoying a post-exam beer bash might be difficult to explain when you apply to St. Andrew's Methodist School. If you already have a position in a private school, you can be virtually guaranteed that your students will be searching the internet with a fine toothed comb looking for something - anything - about you. Make sure that whatever they find is squeaky clean and beyond reproach. If it isn't, the headmaster and trustees will learn about it faster than you can say "You're fired!"

Twitter is the hottest instant communications tool we have seen in a long time. It's great for zapping comments back and forth with your friends. But what if you make some frank comment about what a pain your dean is or how fat the athletic director is? How do you know that your comments aren't being retweeted to somebody else who knows your dean or that rotund AD? Next thing you know you are not even considered for the teaching job you are applying for and you can't figure out why.

Years ago when communication was done the old-fashioned way by writing letters or speaking with people, the risk of damning information getting into the wrong hands was considerably less. Sure, people did send anonymous letters or gossiped. But most employers didn't pay much attention to that sort of questionable information. But a text message or a photo on Facebook or MySpace? Well, that's a whole different matter. That information is out there for everybody to see. It gets forwarded and copied. Make sure that you are very particular about who sees your photos and private information by tweaking your privacy settings.

YouTube is just as worrying. With cellphones shooting video and posting them on YouTube for the entire world to see, be very careful that you appear in innocent gatherings and situations such as running in the Boston Marathon or in the swim team photo upon arriving at Detroit International Airport. A video of you window shopping in Amsterdam's red light district is not a good advertisement for your fine moral character, even if all you were doing was walking down the street.
Finally, many teachers blog. That can be a good thing as long as you are careful. If you express controversial views or opinions about your school or people at your school, you could leave yourself open to criticism. Worse still is the reality that journalists use blogs as sources of information for their stories. You might not want to see yourself quoted out of context now, would you?

Read the articles and blogs listed below. Be smart. Be savvy. Don't leave any evidence!

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