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Dog Bless You! March 13, 2011

Posted by alwaysjan in Worth Knowing.
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Dog is God spelled backwards – or maybe it’s the other way around. So when I read about Dog Bless You and filmmaker and philanthropist Charles Weingarten’s Facebook challenge to raise funds and send search and rescue dogs to Japan, I was in. Click.

While our recently rescued pit bull pup from the Pasadena Humane Society, Layla, is busy teething on my shoes, there are dogs out there who have a Day Job saving lives. All you have to do is go onto the website and click Like, and you’ve done your good deed for the day.

Speaking of working dogs, I couldn’t sleep the other night and found myself in front of my computer reading, with tears running down my face, about the incredible bond between Scottish soldier Liam Tasker and his dog Theo, who both died the same day in Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Tasker’s parents said their son told them he’d found his calling – working with dogs. Theo was cremated and his ashes returned home with his master’s body. The funeral route was lined with people and their dogs.

In this undated image, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker trains with his military working dog, Theo, in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. Tasker, who served the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was killed in a firefight with insurgents in Helmand Province. Theo, his bomb-sniffing springer spaniel, suffered a fatal seizure hours after Tasker died.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? March 6, 2011

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
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5 comments

How could I have missed Jimmy Kimmel’s call to make Nov. 17 National UnFriend Day on Facebook?  Oh that’s right, I was in the middle of Parent-Teacher Conferences. That’s two weeks when I’m looking to bring people on board, not cull the herd. But last night after a few glasses of red wine, I started deleting some of my “friends.”

So far no gunshots have been fired at my house, but most of those I “unfriended” (is that the correct nettiquette?) don’t even know where I live. That tells you something right there.

Like many people, I signed onto Facebook early on when it was literally the new kid on the block.  The “friending” began. I wrote about the downside of this in Being Facebook Friends with Stephan Pastis – Rats!

Fast forward four years. It occurred to me that I wouldn’t recognize some of my “friends” on the street. That’s not good. I’d even stooped to hiding others, so I didn’t have to read incessant updates about every aspect of their life. (Jimmy Kimmel provides a great example of this.) Hiding may be a kinder way since the “friend” doesn’t know that you’ve exiled them to Never Again Land, but isn’t honesty usually the best policy? Was that a gunshot I just heard?

Then there were those “friends” who were coerced by some well-intentioned technophile into joining Facebook in the first place. Left to their own devices, they couldn’t figure out how to post their picture or a status update. I think most have forgotten their passwords and haven’t revisited Facebook since I hit the Accept button. They’re in the slow lane on the information highway with their turn signal on – but can’t figure out how to exit. I like to think that by “unfriending” them, I’m just helping speed up the process.

Here’s my new and improved criteria for a mutually beneficial “friendship.”

1)  I would recognize you if I saw you on the street
2)  We’ve shared a significant life experience (Think “trauma bonding”)
3)  You’ve commented on one of my status updates or blog.
4)  You can make me laugh.
5)  We share some DNA, so you are potentially an organ donor.

Actually, my son just informed me that he “unfriends” people almost weekly, and it’s no big deal. It’s not like Mark Zuckerberg shows up at their door with the pink slip. Come to think of it, some of those I planned to “unfriend” weren’t even on my  list of “friends.” Could it be that they “unfriended” me first and I didn’t even notice? Sweet!

Students Are Not Your Facebook “Friends” August 23, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
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A picture drawn by my student of the two of us. She said she wished she could have two mothers, me being the second. That's way back when I was teaching second grade. That was seven years ago when Facebook wasn't even on my radar. Her likeness of me is uncanny.

I ran across Teachers Asked to “Unfriend” Students on Facebook on MSN about a school district in Florida. Not that I get a lot of Facebook “Friend” requests from students – okay, I’ve had zero. But I do teach third grade. One of my students said his mom said he could go on Facebook when he turned 16, so it’s those who teach the older kids who might find this problematic. The Florida district laid it all out. No Facebook and be careful when emailing cause it could come back to bite you in the b*tt. Please read the link for all the gory details.

I’ve blogged on the danger of Facebook before in Five Ways Facebook Can Get Your Fired. Obviously, the teacher fired recently in Massachusetts didn’t read THAT post. That’s a $92,000 job you hear circling the drain. Glug.

At the end of each school year, I do give my students a notebook with my name and address in it. I offer a 100 percent guarantee that if they write me a letter, I’ll write one back. Maybe two kids take me up on this each year. For the first time, I gave out my email address this year. I was pleasantly surprised to receive weekly updates from one of my students who was vacationing in New England. She had horrible, I repeat, horrible handwriting, so to read her thoughts laid out so coherently was a godsend.

I also gave my email address to a student who moved out of our district last year. Out of the blue she emailed me. She was always mature for her age, but she is all of 12. She emails me maybe once a week. Thank god she’s quit going on about Justin Beiber! Last week she asked if I had any ideas as to what she could buy her 18-year-old sister for her birthday. I replied that since I only had sons, I couldn’t be of much help. My default gift was always dinosaurs and stuff that blows up. But between the back and forth emails, she got the idea to get her sister a charm bracelet. Whew! I always make a point of rereading my emails before I sent them off and imagine that I’m her mother. I want to be appropriate. I do throw in the occasional LOL, When she lamented that her middle school uniform colors were blue and navy blue, I encouraged her to think of Picasso’s Blue Period. She liked that. I tell her to say hello to her mother a lot.

This whole Facebook thing has eroded so many long-standing boundaries. Many of the teachers at my school “Friended” the AP, but I couldn’t bring myself cross that line. Early on, my father told me that I’d lose my job because of my blog, yet two years later, I’ve never had a complaint. Most likely those who disagree don’t bother to comment, but I’m mindful of who’s reading it. It keeps me on my toes.

Finally, anyone on the internet has to remember that whatever you post is on the internet FOREVER. My son posted a picture of himself shirtless (with his 8-pack) several years ago. He was horrified when he found that some site was automatically sending this picture to anyone he emailed – like his grandparents! When you’re online (with a glass of wine) it’s so easy to let your hair down, but as a teacher, you’ve got to remember that you’re a role model 24/7. Rule of thumb – wait 24 hours before hitting that SEND button.

Five Ways Facebook Can Get You Fired November 3, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Worth Knowing.
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6 comments

5

I spent most of the weekend writing a paper for my masters program about an ethics violation related to education. I took a break to sit on the front porch to hand out candy to 300+ trick-or-treaters.  I only observed a few ethics violations there.  A couple of kids circled around thinking I wouldn’t notice they were double dipping. What they don’t know is I have a smooth slight of hand move.  The best part of the evening was when a little girl handed us a handwritten note that said, “Thanks for the great candy!” Pig Maisie, in her witch’s hat, almost flew off the porch.

But back to Facebook.  When we were given the assignment to locate an “ethics violation,” my study buddy Teresa, (or FSB as she likes to refer to herself) found that googling “Teachers fired for…”  yielded a treasure trove of examples.  She settled on the high school art teacher who was fired for making “butt art” (paintings made using his butt and other parts south of the equator) that he put on YouTube.  The artist changed his last name and wore a mask, but still ended up as the butt of jokes and was ultimately fired. (Before you roll paint on your backside, you might want to check out his print, Tulip Butts for inspiration.)

I ran across a story about a teacher in North Carolina who listed on her Facebook profile that one of her “Interests” was, “Teaching the chitlins in the most ghetto school in Charlotte.”  Ouch!  Her attorney cited the school’s demographics as proof that she WAS teaching in a “ghetto” and was just telling the truth.  He was mum on the “chitlins” comment though. It was unclear if her privacy settings were in place.  She was fired two weeks later.

The unnamed teacher and four other teachers in the district were “outed” when the local TV station trolled through Facebook looking for anyone with a connection to the school district.  That alone should send shivers up your spine.

As teachers, we’re held to a higher standard because we’re supposed to be role models for children.  That said, teachers are people.  We have opinions. But we’re living in an era where the line between a teacher’s professional life and private life is often blurred with help from social networking sites like Facebook and My Space.  Just like I tell my third graders, don’t put anything in writing that you don’t want your mother to read or to have read in front of the whole class.  It seems like common sense, but there seems to be a shortage of that going around.

I came across Five Ways Facebook Can Get You Fired.  It should be mandatory reading for anyone on Facebook or My Space (actually anyone who owns a computer).   It gives five examples of how people lost their jobs because of Facebook.  Stuff you’d never think about, but stuff you need to know.

The site lists 5 Commandments for keeping your job:

1. Thou Shall Not Reveal – embarrassing details in your status update (or Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter!)
2. Thou Shall Not Post Photos – that in anyway could be construed as being credibility damaging in any way.
3.  Thou Shall Not Be Negative – Overly negative, hateful sentiments towards any issue, no matter how strong you feel about it, will certainly rub someone in the wrong way.
4.  Thou Shall Not Think You Are Protected – under the First Amendment you have the right to say what you believe via blogs and social networks, but your employer is free to fire you for just about any reason.
5.  Thou Shall Not Think They Are Not Listening  – Big Brother is most likely watching you as 66% of bosses monitor employees’ Internet connections.

We’re living in a highly connected world, so you need to be careful what you say on-line.  It could literally come back to bite you in the butt.

Photo Credit: The Figure 5 by Robert Indiana.

Facebook Alert July 26, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
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1 comment so far
pigdog

Penny the dog/pig protects her pictures on Facebook.

 

 

I received the following ALERT from two friends on Facebook today.

“ALERT:  Facebook has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures without your permission.  To prevent this,  click on “Settings” up at the top where you see the “Logout” link. Select “Privacy.”  Then select “News Feed and Wall.”  Next, select the tab that reads “Facebook Ads.” In the drop down box, select “No One.” Then save your changes. Help your friends…cut and paste this into your status.”

I googled this as I’m not prone to hysteria and found everything you need to know in a July 24 article from  The Los Angeles Times.

If anything, it’s a cautionary tale about reading the fine print.  I’ve already done the reset.  My worst fear is having MY face on one of those on-line ads where the windshield wiper sweeps away all the the wrinkles (that is unless I’m the “After.”)  >wink<

Did You Know? February 13, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought.
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4 comments

I’ve created a new “Food for Thought” category just for this video.  Way cool! This video has not only added a new term, “B.G.” to my vocabulary, but it explains why I’ve been inundated with “friend” requests from Facebook. Enjoy.  

Yes You Can – Obamicon Me January 22, 2009

Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Monthly Mao, Politics.
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mao1

Hey, it works!  My friend Elisse sent me a link to obamiconme.pastemagazine.com.  You can upload a photo and choose the perfect word to go with then have it rendered in the style of Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster.  

There’s an on-line gallery of all the images people have created.  The only caveat is that you can’t upload graphic sexual images (Like who in the world?)  You have to create an account using your email address, but it’s totally free and after you’ve created your “Obamicon” you can download it or post it on Facebook.  My pets are submitting their headshots, but they’ll have to wait.  First I have to “Obamicom” all my Republican friends.

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