Kudos to Kari, Jessica, and Jenny on the agree side and Dalton, and Brooke on the disagree side of the debate made it so difficult for me to pick a side as both parties argued their points so beautifully.
When I saw this topic, I had a stance to be on the agree side with the thought that teachers are respectable members of society, our voices need to be heard, and our voices can make a change. Then as usual I looked at myself, although I hold strong opinions about specific positions, I worry about putting them out there. How do I debate controversial issues where people can come at me for having such a stand? How do I convince people with varying standpoints, whose biases are based on their upbringing, exposure, and experience as mine is based on those too?
Then I decided that, NO, it is not the teacher’s responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice!
I especially dislike the word “responsibility” in this topic because of the extra weight it puts on teachers. Teachers can choose to advocate for social reforms or not, it has nothing to do with being in the profession. It is good enough that teachers teach their students as they should, and model a good moral standpoint but now adding publicly fighting for social justice should be at their discretion. Will the school back teachers up no matter the standpoint they take or does it have to be aligned with the position of the school? If it has to be based on the school’s standpoint, then it is not genuine and if it is not genuine, it cannot be effective. raising a voice online standing aloof in real life.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article “Genuine Social Media Activism: A guide for Going Beyond the Hashtag”. Genuine social media activism is supported by concrete actions, donations, and measurable commitments to change. Some hashtags are made to gain traction, for appearance, and not necessarily to share what one believes in. What is the point of that? Sharing a standpoint in a quest for change requires much more than just posting for online validation.
Making the use of technology and social media to promote social justice the responsibilities of teachers may also have a grievous effect. For example, in the case of Frank in the article “Teachers, Politics and Social Media: A Volatile Mix”. Frank got fired for tweeting certain opinions to the then president of the United States.
Although there was a bit of back and forth for his reinstatement, I would rather not be in such a position at all. We may argue that he was on the other side of the argument, but so will some of the views we hold. What if I don’t agree that “Black Lives Matter” (Of course black lives matter). If I am on the other side of what is being fought for? Will I still be required to use my voice using technology and social media platforms?
It is the responsibility of a teacher to teach, nurture her students, care for and love them genuinely, and be a good role model to them because students tend to do what they say more than what they are told to do. Teachers should not be saddled with the responsibility of using technology and/or social media to promote social justice.