The human factor

Imagine that you have recently started a teaching job in one of the hard sciences at a SLAC affiliated with a Christian religious denomination.  (For some of you, this will not be difficult to imagine.  Even I have applied for more than one job that required a statement of faith.)  You are not yourself a member of this church.

At the start of your first week of classes, you post on your Facebook page, “Survived first day of teaching–intro bio at 9 am!”  Several of your friends post variations of “Congratulations!” and “Woo hoo!” since, after all, they are pleased for you and your new job.

And one of your friends posts, “Good for you, even if actual biology is wasted on the disciples of Jesus College.  Hang in there!”

To me, it sounds like they’ve disparaged your new employer, your new students, and your efforts.  Do you respond?  If so, what do you say? 

Does it matter whether you secretly agree?

Does your answer change depending on whether you think anyone associated with Christian SLAC is likely to see your posting?


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by FLS on September 1, 2009 at 4:39 am

    I would just delete the comment — both so that it wouldn’t be seen by new colleagues, and because even if I agree with it, it seems designed to take a celebratory moment in an unpleasant direction. And I would remember who chose to say it.


  2. Posted by bsgirl on September 1, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Who says Facebook is boring?

    Yes, I suppose I agree with FLS that *if* colleagues from Jesus U might see the comment, it should go. It’s a new job after all. Otherwise, I’d let it stand as one person’s opinion.

    P.S. Like the new blog stylings.


  3. When it comes to Facebook, mixing biz with pleasure can be dicey. I teach as well, and many of my friends are colleagues and students (although, with regards to the latter, I only friend them after they’ve graduated). You can arrange your page, btw, so that some people cannot see your status updates (and their comments). My colleagues can’t see my silly comments. Thank heavens!

    Love your blog, btw.


  4. Posted by meansomething on September 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Fortunately for me, this didn’t happen to me, but to someone I’m friendly with. I have no idea how this person felt about it, but I’d be unhappy leaving a bigoted comment in the thread.

    Pocha, I have set up my Facebook in a similar way–only actual friends can see my status updates, for example–but I still try to be cautious about what I post and don’t say mean things about my students regardless.


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