Recently I read a post by Pernille Ripp that was a topic I had never really thought of before.  She writes about all things education, and I always learn something when I read her words (i.e. I first learned about kid blogging from her work, and read about many other topics like homework, classroom management, genius hour, etc. from her as well).  This time I was drawn to her blog by a tweet she posted related to privacy–a topic I had not yet thought much about related to myself and my students.  Ok, yes, I had thought about privacy related to not sharing student personal information and keeping them safe in their online spaces, but not related to privacy in other terms.

Her blog post was about student work and stories and how important it is to ask their permission before you post their words to social media.  She proposed that not every kid wants you to share their news.  Not every kid wants you to tell the world about their ideas, their projects, their problem solving–even if it’s good.  And she proposes that students have the right to tell you if they want you to share on their behalf.

Wow….that was never a thought I had ever had before.  OF COURSE my friends want me to share their projects, their pictures, their super-smart ideas.  OF COURSE my friends want me to toot their horns on Twitter and our blog so that loads of other people can celebrate with them.  That’s what I would want so that’s everyone else would want, too.  Right?  Of course.  Well that’s what I used to think.  And now I’m not so sure…

After reading that post I immediately started looking at things that happen in our classroom a little differently.  While I’ve always said that it’s “ours” and not “mine,” I’m not so sure that I’ve worked that way in regards to what I have shared on Twitter and our blog.  I think I always thought: “Well no one has ever told me NOT to share their work;” “No students has ever told me that didn’t want me to put their stuff on our blog;” “Everyone is proud when they have a great idea, and so they’d want me to tell everyone about it!” I guess what I really mean is that I didn’t really think about it.  And then I had a moment (again, after reading Pernille’s post) where I thought I should ask.  Something awesome had happened, and I was taking pictures of the moment, but thought to ask permission form a friend to post his picture and he told me no.  I was a little taken aback, but then it started to make me wonder how many other times if I’d had asked that question of him if he’d have said no.  I went back to those statements I’d had previously and thought this: “Well, of course, no one told you not to post.  They didn’t know they could.  You didn’t ask them.  Maybe they just thought  ‘She’s the teacher and so she’ll do what she wants to do.”  Sure, it may also have been because they really didn’t care.  But the point is, I don’t really know.  I had never given them the opportunity to tell me.  (And for the record, if I think more about that friend and his hesitance to post his picture online, he has probably felt that way about many other things and just not told me.  Oops.)  I wonder how many others in the last five years would have said “no,” too, if they’d have had the chance.

So…going forward, I will be the one who stands for the student who never says yes.

I will be the one who asks before I tweet about something my kiddo does (and yes that counts for the ones who live in my house, too.).  They may not want me to tell everyone.  Even if it’s something really great.

I will be the one to ask before I put their picture or artwork or Keynote or writing piece–whatever–on my blog, and I will not expect them to automatically post it to their own blog, either.  They are allowed to be in charge of what is public and what is kept between us.

I will be the one to ask before I assume that everyone loves praise and digital high-fives like I do.  I can’t assume that everyone is just like me.  Ha!  Guess I already knew that was true, but just hadn’t thought about it in this sense before.

So what do you think?  How will you think differently about what you post or share about the kiddos in your care?  What will you continue to do in the same way?  I’d love to hear your thinking! 🙂