OMG: My Principal/Students/Parents Saw My LinkedIn Profile!

by | Aug 27, 2023

Should Teachers Use LinkedIn?


I am often asked, “Should teachers use Linkedin?” When I ask why they wouldn’t, I hear an answer similar to, “I don’t want to use LinkedIn. What if the parents of my students or my current administrator saw that I was trying to leave the classroom?” 

What if?

Why are educators so afraid of people seeing their LinkedIn profiles? Is it because they feel guilty?

The Guilt

Well, then why do teachers feel so much guilt about leaving the classroom? I think it boils down to the notion that teaching is a calling, not a job. We feel like we were born to do it, and by leaving the classroom, we somehow feel like we are giving up on ourselves and our students. And we love our students. Many teachers refer to them as “my kids.” Teachers love “their kids” – and leaving them feels like abandoning them.

The Culture of Fear

There is another side to this question as well. Educators – teachers, instructional coaches, and even administrators – often live in a culture of fear. That fear may be unwarranted, but the perception (if not the reality) is that their supervisor is watching for ways to “get them.” Educators don’t often have the time to build a trusting relationship with their supervisors (and vice versa) – and the semi-annual evaluations based on one lesson at a moment in time are beyond stressful. (One year, my assistant principal decided that she was going to do my evaluations on Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Let’s just say my students were not as attentive as they usually were.)

I can’t think of another job that feels quite so averse to career change, though – aside from, perhaps, being in ministry. There are other jobs that certainly feel like a calling – nursing, public safety, the military – but I rarely find anyone who feels guilty for advancing their careers in these fields or moving into a different role entirely. Teachers feel guilty.

The Truth

Teachers – I want you to know a few things:

  • Career change is normal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Baby Boomers changed jobs about 12-13 times between the ages of 18-54. According to a study by Zippia, 65% of Americans across all sectors are looking to change jobs this year! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being open to – and even actively seeking – a career change.
  • Your students are going to be OK. They are not going to resent you for finding a different career. They might (hopefully) miss you, but they are going to be OK. Your new career might benefit them in other ways as well – making better educational tools and resources, or even (if you change fields entirely) working to support a better future for them. That desire you have to help youth can be fulfilled outside of the classroom!
  • Having a LinkedIn profile does not mean you are actively looking for a job. Outside of education and other public service sectors, a LinkedIn profile is an expectation. Why are the parents of your students looking you up? Because it is normal to do so. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. People look on LinkedIn all the time to see if they have anything in common with their new connection – similar interests, a common alma mater, other connections. I would actually encourage you to look up the parents of your students on LinkedIn. See what they do. Maybe there are ways they can support you – both in the classroom and in your job search – that you haven’t thought about.
  • If you set your profile as “Open to Work” and make it so only recruiters can see it, parents will not know you are searching – unless they work as a recruiter, and then that might be a very helpful thing.
  • Highlighting your other soft skills outside of teaching is not a red flag. I usually recommend that teachers not use education terminology on their LinkedIn profile. People think they know what teachers do (i.e., teach children or teens). Use LinkedIn to highlight all the other skills and responsibilities you have as a teacher.
  • LinkedIn is one of your best resources for growing your network. Unless your school or district has a specific rule in place about not connecting with parents on social media, I would encourage you not to block the parents of your students. They have connections too! And the number one way to get a new job today is through a connection.
  • If your supervisor happens to see that you have a LinkedIn profile and asks you about it, remind yourself that this means they also have a LinkedIn profile. Maybe they are also looking to advance in their career. Have a conversation. You don’t need to say “I want to leave teaching.” You should say, “I want to explore options for how to grow in my career over time. Do you have time to chat with me about opportunities I should consider within the district as I think about my 3-5-year professional growth plan?”

Being afraid of LinkedIn in today’s world is like being afraid of having a resume 20 years ago. LinkedIn has surpassed the importance of a resume. If you are looking for a job outside of the classroom then having a LinkedIn profile and using it to build your network is a necessity. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it.


 If you need help with your job hunt – including setting up a LinkedIn profile – check out the On the Hunt course where an entire module is spent on the benefits of having and actively using a LinkedIn profile.


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