The Pupilrazzi – I’m Over It!

The Pupilrazzi – I’m Over It!

I can’t take it anymore! I give up! Ever since my class went Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in September, these monsters won’t stop taking pictures! All they want to do is take Selfies! They Photobomb me all the time! They draw on me in Snapchats! They even sneak pictures of me when I’m not looking! What’s worse? They share them all over Twitter, Facebook, and who knows where else! Look at the horrible pictures they’ve shared:

Unbelievable, right?! I know…

I’m lucky.

Building relationships is the most important skill a teacher can have. When I do PD or speak at conferences about BYOD in the classroom, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “What if my students take pictures of me?!”

You should be so lucky! Why?

You can’t stop students from taking pictures of you. Get over it (I’m over it!). If you have a great relationship with your students, they’ll want to take pictures with you. Let them. I even encourage it! As part of my Gamified classroom, students can unlock the following Achievement:

Bengal Pride! (10ap) – You were in a picture posted to Schoology showing your Bengal Pride at an after school event. +10 Bonus AP if Mr. Aviles is in the picture with you.

I have a folder on Schoology where they can share these pictures and, at the end of the year, I plan on making a slideshow. It will be a nice way to end our year together.

You should be taking pictures of your students, too! There is no better way to capture what learning looks like. In my class, students can unlock this Achievement:

Twitter Bomb (50ap) - You did something so awesome, Mr. Aviles had to drop a Twitter bomb to tell the world!

Students feel great when I take a picture of something awesome they’re doing, and the parents who follow me love to see the things that go on in my class. They are thrilled when they see a pic of their kid learning come over their feed.

Some examples of learning in action:

Obviously, I ask before I post any pictures of students and let them approve the picture first, but understand this: the world has changed. You can’t escape the ubiquitous camera phone. Instead of fighting it, embrace it. Because it is not if students take pictures of you in the classroom, but when. Use it as an opportunity to build relationships, teach them that their is a time and place for everything, and validation that they like you; they really like you!

You will also find by embracing The Pupilrazzi*, it loses a lot of its mystery. Selfies in my class died down when I started to Photobomb them. Texts, Tweets, and what-have-yous died down too because when I catch students abusing their privileges I take the phone, take a Selfie, and write something like “Go away. We’re learning!” See:

Kids won’t learn from teachers they don’t like. Ask yourself: when students take pictures in your class will they be taking pictures of you or with you? Will the pictures show engaged students having fun and actively learning, or will their pics be accompanied by a message about how much they hate you and your class?

The Answer? It’s all about relationships.

Until next time,


*Yes, I created the word Pupilrazzi. Yes, it is awesome and you may use it. Just remember to cite your source! HAHA!

cross-posted at Teched Up Teacher

Chris Aviles teaches English at Barnegat High School in New Jersey. He presents on education topics including gamification, technology integration, BYOD, blended learning, and the flipped classroom. Read more at Teched Up Teacher.

Chris Aviles is a STEM teacher, edtech specialist, and president of Garden State Esports. He is also a regular contributor to Tech & Learning.