While the millennials are often accused of using Facebook as a platform for bullying, the New York Times reports older generations are turning to the social networking site for kinder reasons: thanking former teachers for their guidance.
One such Facebook user is Darci Thompson, 49, who sought out her 1977 AP history teacher via the site. “She had such a huge impact on my life as a young adult,” Thompson told the Times. “Facebook gave me the chance to tell her, ‘You’re the one who pulled me through.’”
Facebook has increased contact between teachers and their former students, allowing graduates to “friend” their past mentors. Groups honoring specific teachers populate the site—the Times points to the page “Winston Hughes—Best Chorus Teacher Ever,” which honored Mr. Hughes of New Jersey long before he started using Facebook. “I had no idea about this,” Hughes, who retired from teaching in 1996, said. “I knew that I had impact, but I never knew the impact was as large as the writings I’ve read.”
It’s not only students 30 years beyond graduation who are reestablishing relationships with teachers and expressing gratitude or respect. I’m currently a member of a similar group honoring my former AP U.S. History teacher. Appropriately entitled “MR. KILBORNE,” the group has 71 members, nearly all recent graduates of my high school, who have shared the man’s memorable quotes on the page’s wall. In an age where a Facebook post has become a near-universal way to express oneself, especially for younger generations, it could lead to increased connectivity between teachers and students.
Are you active on Facebook? (Teacher is!) Have any of your former students sought you out on the site?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.