It’s straight out of a really bad teenage movie: A pretty, young high school teacher delights her students by posting semi-nude photos of herself on the Internet, all the while talking about being stoned, having drugs on school property, and looking at some students as “jailbait”.
It’s happening – for real – in Aurora, Colorado (you remember them).
The teacher, who’s now on “administrative leave”, claims that she and a friend set up the Twitter account as some kind of “parody”, and thought she was doing a sufficient job of keeping her professional and her private life separate.
You know… unless you count the stuff about her face being just as identifiable in some of the photos she tweeted as she is in the photo that accompanies her bio on the school’s website.
When I was in Grade 10, it seems to me that most of the kids I went to school with had at least snuck a peek at Porky’s, perhaps one of the definitive “coming of age” movies (“coming of age”, for the uninitiated, is a way of polishing up the term “teenage sex comedy with virtually no discernible plot but lots of naked girls”). Of course, the Granddaddy of them all, 1967?s The Graduate, served as a best-case scenario in the heart of many a young man. The idea of a tutor or teacher as a sex object has been in the public consciousness for as long as anyone can remember.
…that doesn’t mean we’re not still horrified when it actually happens.
What strikes me about this story is that the woman at the heart of it didn’t even make a decent attempt to cover her tracks. Really? She’s going to claim that she thought she’d done enough to separate her public and personal lives? Seriously? She did as terrible a job covering her private persona as she did covering her private parts. Her real first name – Carly – was even a part of her “parody” Twitter account. And if she’s going to claim that someone else was responsible for the tweets, that’s certainly plausible, though it does little to explain how this other someone came into possession of so many nude and semi-nude photos of her. Even Pamela Anderson would look at this collection and think, “Wow. That’s a lot of pictures.”
Here’s my question: How did this woman get hired? In the college course I teach, one of the things our Program Coordinator stressed at the orientation, and that I’ve mentioned at least twice since the semester began, is that a student who wants any kind of shot in the workplace needs to go into their social media accounts and clean up their act; just like you wouldn’t put “Beer pong” under a “Special Skills” section on your resume, that photo of you on Facebook lying outside a strip club face down in a puddle of your own vomit probably isn’t going to help you land that next great job. Social media profiles have become just as much a part of the job interview process as references. In fact, some employers will tell you those things are even more important.
While we’re right to call this woman’s judgement into question (duh), the person who ultimately made the hiring decision has some things to answer for as well, no? Because the last time I checked, there was sort of an implied requirement that a teacher should be at least as smart as the chalkboard eraser, let alone the children they’re teaching.
And I guarantee this is not the way Aurora was looking to get back into the news.