Digital Eclipse

In my personal life, I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend. I am an individual who for the most part is an introvert, likes music and quiet contemplation in nature. At school, I am a teacher, mentor, leader, colleague, advocate. In this environment I am more of an extrovert, constantly engaging with others, planning and acting on those plans to move people forward. For the most part, I keep these two worlds separate, recognizing my need to maintain balance between home and school. But my digital life exists in both of these realms.

Ohler (2011) believes that as educators, we should be striving to connect these two worlds in order to help our students “.. understand issues of digital responsibility,” and “…balance the individual empowerment of digital technology with a sense of personal, community, and global responsibility.” While I see merit in this approach to developing digital citizens, I can’t help but wonder if there may be negative side effects to this merging of two lives into one.

Incidents like that of a teacher who lost her job as a result of personal content posted on Facebook illustrate that living one life can bring significant conflict. (CBS, 2011). Increases in communication through email and social media, while beneficial in building community and transparency between schools and families, may make it more and more difficult for people to find that important balance between their professional and personal lives.

I often wonder if the digital realm which is beginning to connect our personal and professional lives will at some point eclipse both worlds completely. What will that mean for my personal and professional identities? How can we ensure balance between digital citizenship and individual needs and identities in a way that promotes emotional and social well- being?


CBS. February 6, 2011. The Internet and Our Right to Privacy. [Video file] Retrieved February 6, 2013 from

Ohler, J. (2011). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 25-27.

Schachter, R. (2011). The social media dilemma. District Administration, 47(7), 27-33.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Digital Eclipse

  1. My personal and professional lives have always been intertwined. Living and working in a small town forces one to reflect on one’s behaviour regardless of whether I’m at work, at the grocery store or at the ski hill. Regardless of the medium, word travels fast! Ohler (2011) speaks of allowing students to live one life, not two. Would this not apply to adults too? I am living one life because my friends and neighbours are also my colleagues and the parents of my students. The line between personal and professional, both online and offline, is obscure.

    I believe digital citizenship is fundamentally identical to citizenship. As such our identities are blended. “Teachers of young children work hard to be professional and to be viewed by others as professionals. These efforts to maintain professionalism must include e-professionalism.” (p. 3, Harte, 2011) My professionalism is judged on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Webmail. It is also judged when I run, do errands and socialize with my friends. I am living one life.

    Harte, H. (2011). E-professionalism for early care and education providers. Dimensions Of Early
    Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.
    Ohler, J. (2011). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 25-27.

  2. roadtripdo says:

    I have friends who are teachers, but not many. I stay in touch with some students, but again not many. The line I draw with former is students, is not much unlike the ones I draw in the digital world. I keep professional lines, i treat carefully and I use common sense. I try to anticipate potential problems with privacy and the blurring of the lines of personal space.

    I too am very different personally, than professionaly. I am a very private person and prefer interactions to stay that way. With students, I tend to be jovial, open, and willing to help.

    I find it interesting that we now digitally have to consider these lines. I am always amazed how teachers fancifully allow former students to be on their Facebook page. I wonder if they are aware of potential problems or care. I know of one teacher who was reprimanded for having assuming pictures on her account, along with some assuming students. To be professional is to be cognizant of your actions. As a teacher, there is the importance of being a role model, and your image is a big part of filling that role.

    The idea, as students, that these two lives (Ohler, 2011), is interesting, however, students need to realize there’s limits to what is acceptable and what may be considered unprofessional for a teacher to do. As a teacher, that is up to us to uphold that code of conduct and be cognizant of our actions. Great post!

    Ohler, J. (2011). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 25-27.

  3. kamal punit says:

    You point out, “…there may be negative side effects to this merging of two lives into one.” This thought resonates with my attempt to understand the ‘immersive’ power of the digital world. The overlap between our virtual lives and real lives is something that is happening on a daily basis. This week’s reading and specifically the incident of the teacher losing her job because of posting her personal content on facebook goes to show the repercussions of converging professional and personal lives. I don’t personally blame the teacher but the consequence is of concern as it could happen to anyone. For sure the word ‘eclipsed’ is a strong but a right word that you have chosen to use. According to Harte (2011, p. 5), “As professionals, teachers must be diligent in their efforts to be competent practitioners as well as dedicated to adhering to ethical guidelines.” Sometimes people resort to virtual life to deal with pressures of real life. But the virtual and real lives are evolving to be extensions of each other leaving individuals in more susceptible positions than ever before. Professionals and especially educators are ready to face the unforeseen challenges of the virtual world as we move towards a more acceptable realm of play pedagogies, where virtual identities are prone to become more significant?
    Harte, H. (2011). E-Professionalism for Early Care and Education Providers. Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s