Graduate First – Why I Won’t Add You As My Facebook Friend Yet Blogging & Technology by Joel Wagner - September 20, 2009June 7, 201214 This weekend, I read Back to School: Tips for Teachers on Facebook on the Facebook blog. In it, the author writes: Some teachers stay away from Facebook altogether, while others — like some of my friends — have found creative workarounds such as only accepting friend requests from students who’ve graduated or those who are over the age of 18. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. In fact, it is useful and rewarding to connect with your students on Facebook. So, in honor of all the people who are heading back to school this month, here are some tips for using Facebook. The article continues by outlining some things that we as teachers can do to secure the privacy of our accounts. Basic things like being specific about the Privacy settings and adding current students to various Friend Lists to keep certainpeople from seeing certain information. While this is all well and good, I still hold to my “Graduate First” philosophy behind social media connection with students. For that matter, if I see one of them following me on Twitter, I block them. Why? The less I know…I don’t want to be responsible if there are any problems. I’ve seen the pictures some of the recently graduated students post on their profiles. I have no question that these same pictures are on their sites when they’re still in school. The last thing I want is a parent or administrator (or police officer) coming to me wondering why I didn’t report underage drinking or a questionable relationship or whatever else. Perhaps it’s fear, but at the same time, I would rather be too cautious than too permissive. Enough is enoughThere is only so much time that I really need to spend with people half my age. One of the main reasons I retired from my mariachi this summer was because there were not enough people in the group who were close to my age. They are all quite a bit younger than me. Maybe I’m paranoidMaybe I am. But then again, I like to think of it as practicing wisdom in this area (God knows I don’t practice wisdom in most areas of my life!). So when do I let kids add me? As soon as their high school graduation ceremony is complete and I know they have walked across the stage. So what about you? Do you add current students on Facebook? Do you add students after the graduate from high school? Do you only add them after they’ve graduated from college? Do you have ANY former students on Facebook? Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.