No Tweets for Scottish Teachers

June 12, 2009 1 min read

A Scottish teacher known for introducing technology into the classroom has gotten into trouble over posts she placed on Twitter, according to this story in The Guardian newspaper.

The teacher was reprimanded by the school council in Argyll and Bute, on the west coast of Scotland, for tweets suggesting that teaching certain students, including three boys with Asperger’s Syndrome, is hard work and “interesting.”

The council has since banned teachers in the district from posting messages on Twitter and Web blogs. The article doesn’t suggest that the students were identified, or that her comments criticized the students in any way.

Other teachers have come to her defense and protested the council’s censorship. “Is there a teacher out there who doesn’t find it hard work? And if they don’t, are they really doing it right?” one anonymous teacher wrote on this blog in response.

But a parent took issue with the teacher’s tweets, suggesting that her characterization of her work as “hard” was inappropriate, given that “she is paid a lot of money to do her job.”

The article raises the issue of free speech for teachers, and whether it is appropriate for them to express their opinion or blog or tweet about their work and students. This debate is not a new one, but may be more difficult to resolve when there are so many venues available for teachers to share their experiences and express their views.

Is it reasonable to put limits on teachers’ contributions to such discussions?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.