Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why not to facebook your teacher during class

So this week, I had the privilege to not only be facebooked by my students (the girls) during class, but to also catch them red-handed in the act. And I exploited every opportunity to embarrass them in the following lecture for not paying attention. Read on...

Starting on Monday, I began receiving facebook friend requests from some of my students. I didn't realize until today that it was only the girls, but up to this point I have six friend requests from girls and zero from the guys in my class. Interesting, especially since they can't tell me and Trevor apart (the other PiA-er in my department), so I don't know if they're trying to friend me or him. Regardless, I've had to scramble to adjust the privacy settings on my account for obvious reasons, as I don't want my students to see really anything of my personal life. They, on the other hand, have taken no such measures. And this has backfired on them.

After one student friended me, I clicked on the link to accept (and add her to my limited profile), which took me to her profile. And immediately there on her wall was something that I'm sure she (and half of the class) did not want me to see... See below. You need to be able to read the comments on the photo, so also check out the photo at

I took this screen shot with the sole purpose of displaying it to the entire class during lecture. So today, I began my lecture more or less as follows...

"Good afternoon class."

"Hi Mr. Zoller! Hi! Good afternoon lah!"

"So last time, during our tutorial, I realized that we didn't cover something which is crucial to our ability to learn biology in this classroom. Does anybody know what that is?"

"No lah... why he no can lah"

"So what we didn't cover last time was a little something that has to do with the internet. It's called... The dangers of facebook"

Dramatic pause...

Then I brought up the screenshot on the powerpoint projector.

Dramatic pause...

And then when the class read the comments, they erupted into one loud, synchronous "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The entire class of students all started gasping and laughing and clapping, while the two students who were featured prominently on the slide turned beat red and tried to slink under their chairs. One of the other other girls in the class who was featured on the slide LOVED the attention, and just started giving the stereotypical 2-finger V to everyone in the class while smiling the whole time. In fact, Ana was teaching in the classroom next door, and she later told me that she had to stop her class and explain to them what was happening in mine because it got so loud.

At this point, I warned the students "Don't think I don't know what I'm doing up here. I can see when you guys are not paying attention. And I'm very sneaky when it comes to finding things out about you that you might not want me to see. So you guys should probably pay attention in my class..."

And then I proceeded to give one of the better lectures I've given so far this semester, with the most active student participation thus far. Mission accomplished.

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