Private and Professional Lives

In reading about privacy and professionalism in a digital context, I began reflecting on my own digital life, when I made a discovery. I have noticed that some digital tools function well in my private life, and other digital tools function well in my professional life. Have I subtly chosen tools that allow me to keep both lives separate? Here are some examples:

I love Facebook for its ability to keep me connected to family and friends who I am unable to see often. I look forward with great anticipation, to the latest photos my niece posts of her little girl. I keep in touch regularly with friends I knew in high school. My cousins, who I see rarely, send messages back and forth to each other.

I use Twitter primarily as a professional resource. I follow gurus in education, fellow educators I admire, and some sites such as TED, for the most current information.

Though I am relatively new to Pinterest, I have heard that many teachers use it as a digital space to curate all the wonderful teaching ideas they collect when online. I have just begun doing that.

My searches for beautiful, accessible photos on Flickrstorm  are mainly used in an educational context.

I have recently signed up for StumbleUpon, which seems similar to Pinterest, but which I have been using for personal interest.

Whether I use these tools for personal or professional purposes, I have tried to be thoughtful and respectful in how I conduct myself online.

“The benefits of online interactions come with responsibilities. Part of being a professional is being aware of these responsibilities and making informed decisions in all practices.” To me, all practices means in my private and professional life.

Harte, H. (2011). E-professionalism for early care and education providers. Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.


About sandralbecker

An educator who is passionate about the creation of a school Learning Commons, which supports inquiry, critical thinking, and collaboration.
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2 Responses to Private and Professional Lives

  1. ttallerico says:

    I, like you, find that some tools work better in my private life and some in my public life although I am finding that line beginning to blur.

    Initially I used Facebook as a personal networking tool that helped me keep in touch with family and friends but am now finding that some educational organizations are using Facebook as a means of connecting with today’s teachers. The one I have chosen to “friend” has provided me with many good ideas and I find myself on it just as often as I am checking in on my social circle.

    My Twitter account was set up for educational purposes but I have since created a personal account and find myself on it far more than the professional one. I find that many of those in my social circle are now using this and the topics and tweets are of a different nature than those on Facebook (these include comments on local and world affairs, sporting events that I follow and even getting updates from the principal of my son’s school).

    In using these tools in a variety of ways I am also finding that I am staying more connected with what is current in the digital information age. As stated by Teclehaimanot & Hickman “As teachers and educators will be more and more inclined to incorporate Web 2.0 technology… it is important that they understand how to do so effectively and also in a manner appropriate for their students.” In order for me to be able to use these technologies well, it is imperative that I am comfortable using them. Schachter (2011) notes “If we let students get all the way through high school without responsibly being able to use these tools,” he says, “we’re doing them a disservice.”

    I intend to ensure the children I teach become knowledgeable, responsible digital citizens so part of my responsibility will be to keep exploring the many uses of the digital tools (both personal and professional) available to enable me to make good pedagogical decisions on how to best use them in an educational setting.


    Schachter, R. (2011). The Social Media Dilemma. District Administration, 47(7), 27-33. Retrieved from:

    Teclehaimanot, B., & Hickman, T. (2011). Student-teacher interaction on facebook: what students find appropriate. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(3), 19-30. Retrieved from:

    • Hi Sandra & Trudi,

      I also find that some social networking sites are better for connecting socially while other seem to be better for professional connections. Thanks for all the great sources. I haven’t used Pinterest, but I have heard great things about it. I primarily use Facebook to connect with family and friends. Sandra, I also enjoy the pictures of my nieces and nephews my sister puts on Facebook. I have been told by our employment developer at Bredin that many companies are using Facebook to market product, so she recommends students and teachers create another Facebook account for professional purposes. I have been looking into this because I am told that many people find jobs using Facebook. Trudi, I also set up my Twitter account for educational purposes, and now I find I am using it more and more. I want to set up a personal account now so that I can connect with other educators. As Harte states, teachers often use social media to enhance their own professional development (Carter, Foulger & Ewbank, 2008).

      It does seem that our personal and professional lives is getting harder to separate. I’m not sure that I feel comfortable with this. I love using new technologies such as Pinterest, Twitter, Flickrstorm, etc, but I want to make sure that I understand the privacy setting before I jump in. Teachers have an ethical responsibility to the children they teach, their co-workers, employers, and their communities, so understanding how to better use social media is essential (Harte, 2011). I don’t want what happened to June Talvitie-Siple in the CBS video to happen to me (CBS, 2010).


      Carter, H.L., Foulger, T.S., & Ewbank, A.D. (2008). Have you Googled your teacher lately? Teachers use of social networking sites. Phi Delta Kappan, 681-685.

      CBS. (2010). Teacher fired for ripping students, blames Facebook. Retrieved from

      Harte, H. (2011). E-professionalism for early care and education providers. Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.

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