Can you add your student on social media?

Can you add your student on social media? No.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up! Don’t leave this article just yet! I need to explain why first!

Social media is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Thanks to social media, the world is connected like never before. We can connect to more people and build relationships just from our smartphones. However, is it appropriate to have your student on social media?

No, not really. Remember that your student is a client, and the relationship you have with them is strictly professional. Adding them on social media will make the relationship far too casual. Also, if you have unflattering or even divisive posts on Facebook, it can reflect poorly on the tutoring company you represent. If you are an independent and private tutor, you do what you want. However, because we are from TOTC, we are representing an organization, and adding your student on Facebook and making the relationship more casual and personal can turn into a conflict of interest with the company later on.

If you really want to add your student on social media, you can wait for them to end the tutoring service, or you can add them when you leave the organization. I wouldn’t personally recommend this path, but at this point you are no longer contractually obliged to have a strictly professional relationship.

For example, I added my former teacher on Facebook, but that was only AFTER I left high school.

However, if THEY add YOU on social media, the same logic applies, and it is up to you whether you accept them on social media once the professional relationship is over. If they are still your student, and they try to add you on social media, explain to them why you are not able to accept their invitation.

Now note that all these rules mainly apply to more casual and personal social media platform like Twitter and Facebook. Even though Instagram is not as personal, I still would not recommend adding them or accepting them on this platform.

The exception to this rule would probably be LinkedIn. LinkedIn is unique in that it was specifically created to be a social media for professionals. Many client relationships have been formed on LinkedIn, and such relationships have enriched the professional lives of those involved. If your student adds you on LinkedIn, or you add them on LinkedIn, it is not as bad. At this point, it is up to your judgement on whether or not you will accept them on the platform. However, I would still advise you to be careful when you use LinkedIn, as your interactions with your student can get personal really quickly. If you add them on LinkedIn, keep the interaction professional.

So remember: like anyone you choose to let into your social media world, your interactions with your student should be appropriate according to the relationship, and the only time you might be able to add your student is if you are using LinkedIn. For any other platform, it is a bad idea, and should not be considered. Not until you stop being their tutor.

If you’d like more great teaching tips, resources and strategies have a look at our Home Tutoring Sydney website or call our office on 1300 654 746 and ask to speak with Melody or Pamela.

About Dan Amazona

Dan has always been a high achiever with a particular strength in mathematics. He achieved an impressive ATAR, came DUX of his school and is now in his final years at Monash University studying to become a rocket scientist and TOTC home tutor.

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