Students! Do you have a video camera on your cell phone? Bring it! All I ask is that before you post anything about me to YouTube, let me know and send me a copy of it. Send it to me anonymously if you’re scared of repercussions (but I never let personal feelings affect grades). I need to know what I’m doing so I can make changes or prepare explanations.
Teachers! Do you blow up at your students? Then you deserve to be on YouTube! Get a hold of yourself and start acting like professionals.
So here’s the deal: my union wrote a warning in a recent newsletter about students with cameras, advising teachers to be aware and even to go so far as to institute policy prohibiting use of them. Really, it should have been a warning to angry teachers. It should have been a notice to teachers that they need to behave, that they need to focus on their job and handle stress in a more positive fashion.
Camera phones aren’t the problem. Angry teachers who berate their classes are. I watched a few of those videos on YouTube (just search for “angry teacher” and you’ll find ’em) and they disturbed me. That kind of behavior should be documented.
I don’t mind knowing that my behavior could be caught on a student’s camera and posted for the rest of the world to see. That pressure just might keep certain teachers in check. For the rest of us, we don’t have anything to worry about. A video of a teacher running a class in a typical manner doesn’t make for good YouTube fodder.
What if school districts and teacher unions embraced this phenomenon? What if there were sites set up for students to submit their footage for review by the district or union? Sure, this wouldn’t stop students from posting these videos to YouTube. In fact, the school site could be set up just to submit links to videos already on YouTube.
What I’d like to see is students put in the position to use their technology to inform those who need to know. That video students took of the latest fight could be useful in trying to prosecute and identify those involved. It also would allow administration to know what’s out there and prepare appropriate ways to respond.
The information, much like the spice, must flow. Schools need to be prepared to receive information just as readily as they dish it out.