Online Social Networking: A Teacher's Bane

Children nowadays are more privileged & are very active online.
As some of you have noticed, many students from my school read my blog.
I have no qualms about students reading my blog, commenting on what I have written & creating a link on their blogs to mine.

However, I do have a problem with one thing that they do online...
Requesting to be added to their friends list on a social networking website.
This happens to me all the time on friendster.
I mentioned this issue in a previous post: The Professional Divide.
Since then, much has changed & the situation has now escalated!
I am amazed at the throng of requests that I have been receiving!

I am mainly displeased at the manner in which they make the request.
A rare few would send me a message with the request & ask me nicely.
These people make me really happy and they seem to honestly want to make a new friend.
However, too large a majority of students plainly send only the request.
These people are rejected immediately without any second thoughts.
Some even complain & pester if I do not accept their request!
One person has pushed me so far that I almost blocked her.

Even though I reject all requests, I am polite...
I send a message to explain why.
I have a polite rejection message pre-typed!
Every time I receive a request, I'll click 'reject' & then send this pre-typed explanation message:

Thank you for sending me a friend request...
But I'm sorry to say that I cannot approve it while I am a teacher in your school.

All the best to you in your studies!

Mr Yong

p/s: next time you want to make a new friend, send the person a message FIRST.
I believe that a professional should separate work from social life.
There must be clear cut boundaries in the relationship between a teacher and his student.
This is to avoid any conflict of interest.
Once a teacher is added to a student's friends list, the status lines are blurred.
The teacher may lose his impression of authority & skill.
And these is also the issue of being too intimate with a student.
One day, I may need to discipline or evaluate the person. And this, without bias.

The main purpose of my online profile is to meet old friends & make some new ones.
How can old friends identify you if they cannot find your profile?
How can interesting people find you interesting if they cannot read about you?
This is why I have continued to allow my profile to be public.
I am willing to pay the price of abuse from admirers & haters alike.

A female teacher has been approving student friend requests & a student wonders why I wont.
Think about it. Our circumstances are totally different!
I am a male teacher teaching in a GIRLS school.
I HAVE TO keep my distance from the female students!
I wouldn't want to give any false hopes nor do I want them to be too comfortable with me.

I want to be friendly with my students.
But just like in any relationship, there must be limits.
This is my limit.
I will not approve your friend request so long as you are a student in the school that I am currently teaching in.
This is a principle on which I stand.
Please understand.
Live with it.


  1. Anonymous14/9/08 14:12

    teacher haha!
    everytime saw u post this type of message and saw it at ur friendster!
    yoh! 'sien' lah! haizz!
    but teacher izzit really male and female teacher very different?
    if u teach at a mix school
    r u still will get the same answer?
    Thank you for sending me a friend request...
    But I'm sorry to say that I cannot approve it while I am a teacher in your school.

  2. Totally agree with what you are doing.

    It is good for students to befriend their teacher, but there is always a border line of some sort.

  3. Anonymous14/9/08 14:43

    i know! my students keep requesting on facebook! which is a no no coz my facebook is only to those i'm comfortable with.

    i have explained it to them they seem to be able to accept it.

    and now they're asking for my phone numbers! aiyak!!

  4. I agree with your actions Jarod, the divide should be applied by all professionals.

    Seems to me that you're quite the idol at school no? ;)

  5. wise move... good thing I am teaching Primary students... don't think they know what is a 'Friendster' or 'Facebook'. :p

  6. Wen:
    Yes, I believe that I will.
    Mainly because I need to make the professional divide clear to myself.

    Exactly, bro...

    So you know what I mean, eh?

    I dont know about that, Jo...
    Only my students can answer that question...

    One day they will!
    And they will look for the cute asian teacher that left an impression!

  7. couldn't agree more with you Jarod. We are their teachers yet we do want to be their friend; at the same time we have ethics and code of conduct as a teacher that we must follow and protect and that conduct is the main priority. Anything can happen Jarod especially in the secondary school, so just becareful...until you put yourself on the 'chopping board' (marriage) LOL. hope you don't mind i tag you in my blog (didn't even ask permission from you, how dare me...LOL) Hv a nice day, GBU and GPU

  8. Anonymous15/9/08 15:33

    i also agree what r warid@ qohar saying oh!
    but dun angry ya!

  9. Aish. Cikgu garang. hehe.

    We all love the cool, friendly teachers who treat us more like buddies than inferior subjects. I have personally created a strong bond with a lecturer back from my college days. The moment our conversations started revolving around husbands, boyfriends, kids and life plans instead of assignments and exams, I knew we have become more of friends rather than lecturer-student.

    But this is a much simpler relationship which society does not frown upon because she is a female as well. We hang out like girlfriends do.

    As for you, your students are female adolescents with possibly raging hormones haha. You wouldnt want to put yourself in a tricky situation lest it compromises your professional capabilities.

  10. I support and applaud your ethical decision Jarod.

    I told my senior collegues i dun have Friendster when i was working with Deloitte because i believe my personal or social life would influence my prof image. It was only after i left the firm..that they found me and requested my approval. I approved it then.

    U reminded me of this young good looking male teacher in my skool. I saw a group of his students came out from his drama class during ko-ko time, and 2 of em' were crying. When i asked "Nape? kena marah ke?"
    ... turned out, he brought his gf over, and she was v pretty that the girls were soo heartbroken. hahaha. I was like "errr". True story i tell ya.

    so, u might wanna bring Nessa over. He may make those girls weep. lol!

  11. ps- Gluck with work!! And happy fasting (that is if you're still attempting to fast) ;)

    Liz Adi

  12. Warid:
    Well said, Warid...
    and I dont mind having a link on your blog!
    I am deeply honoured!

    I dont think there will be much difference even after I get married!

    My thoughts exactly!
    Male teacher & female student do not make a healthy combination!

    Nesa is practicing at the same school!
    The Indian girls are all over him!
    I wrote about that in a previous post... you can check it out!

    Anyway, I got a gf & most of the students already know...
    courtesy of gossip in an all girls school!

  13. wow!!! students busy adding you in friendster..
    so popular..

  14. famous wht~



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