I recently discovered a Facebook post in which a parent expressed disagreement over how I graded her son’s assignment. This unleashed a torrent of hateful, profanity-laced comments including one person saying I should be fired. I’m afraid something like this could ruin my good reputation at school. Any thoughts on how to handle this?
— J., Nebraska
If this parent posted hateful or slanderous comments then I think the very first thing you should do is talk to your administrator. Did this parent ever talk to or contact you about this? If not, then I think a face-to-face meeting with the principal present should be arranged. People can be brave online where they can fire off vindictive statements without having to look anyone in the eye. She may have legitimate concerns, but she has raised them in the wrong way. My guess is that she will not be as nasty in the same room as you and your principal.
I do wonder, why are you looking at parents’ Facebook posts and comments? You can’t control how people talk about you in their homes or with their friends—and social media has become an ersatz kitchen table for many people. And, you will never be everyone’s favorite. The most likely people to post something about you will fall in two camps: those who are angry with you and those who are thrilled with you. You’ll never get a real idea of what most people think. Try not to sweat this too much and remain confident that you are doing the best job possible. You will likely teach thousands of students in your career, and some are likely to have parents who won’t address problems properly. Resist reading other people’s opinions about you.
Hope this helps!
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