Teachers are held in professional esteem 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. I say go ahead and share your personal life with your students because teachers should never be in the position where something so unprofessional that it needs to be hidden. All secrets come out even though we think they are buried in the depths of the world. I remember wanting to be a teacher since I was a young child and I never really considered the teacher code of ethics that needs to be remembered when preparing one’s self to be an educator. In high school, I had no problems going out and having some “fun” with my friends and I remember having these images of me indulging in an alcoholic beverage or two posted on Facebook, however, once I was accepting to the Faculty of Education, these posts were permanently deleted; or so I thought. These so called horrible things, which have been brought forth in many situations where teachers have been “slapped on the wrist,” have the ability to come forth at any time from anyone. Unless you are Californian teacher, Amy Beck and have some serious skeletons in your closet, such as sleeping with your 14-year old students; then you should have no issues with sharing your personal life with your students.
Teachers expect to know a great deal about students and their personal lives, or else how do we create that relationship with our students. During internship, I knew what every one of my students did on the weekend and they knew exactly what I did on the weekend. We created a safe environment where we could share this information with each other. Of course, there is a line and a boundary as to how much the students need to know about. My students knew about my family life and my social life, they knew about my high school days and my elementary life. I knew about their families and interests, they told me who they were crushing on, and who they were being bullied by. This sounds like a great friendship between student and teacher, but that was far from the case, yes my students and myself were friends but I was there teacher before that. I was able to use the personal lives of myself and my students in order to teacher them beyond the curriculum. There are many things that teachers can use as “teachable moments.” One example that took place in my internship, which I addressed using my personal experiences, there had been a great amount of bullying in which my entire class had been involved with in a certain way and no matter what I said, they did not understand the long term consequences of bullying. I put this into perspective using an example from my high school years when I was personally bullied and suffered from some major psychological issues because of this. This personal information is not necessary for students to hear, however at that time, it allowed me as an educator to use my life as a teaching tool.
Again I state that there are boundaries and it is our responsibility to create those boundaries with our students because we do have a professional code of ethics to follow as well as the Education Act, however, I say seize the moment when you can bring in your personal life to teach your students. Again, if there is anything in your hypothetical closet that cannot be shared with your students and fellow co-workers, then chances are you shouldn’t be a teacher.