I read this blog post today about a teacher not being allowed to communicate with parents through a Facebook group. There is so much wrong here, in my opinion.
How many people out there have created an amazing classroom website, blog, etc. for your classroom? Okay, now how many people have had said classroom website, blog, etc. completely be ignored by 90% of parents of students in your class? (I'm visualizing many people with their hands raised). Most parents desperately want to be informed about what is going on in the classroom, and most teachers desperately want to inform them!
The reality is that many of the parents out there are stretched unbelievably thin. They work multiple jobs and can't find the time to check a blog or website to know what is going on in their child's class. I have had many a parent conference where the parent says, "I want to help __________ with her homework. How do I know what she needs to be working on?" In my head I would scream, "HAVE YOU NOT CHECKED OUR BLOG OR READ OUR NEWSLETTER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" Our loud, I would very calmly remind them about the blog and newsletter, and tell them to call or email me if they had any trouble finding it. As you can imagine, I would find myself with that same parent later in the year discussing the same issues. Most of my frustration came from the fact that I had spent so much time and energy creating said blog and newsletter.
Now, I could be wrong, but I would guess that most of the incredibly busy parents out there check Facebook at least once a day. Some probably check it at least every hour. This is not meant to be a criticism of anyone. I can't imagine how hard it is to work all day and then come home to a house full of kids who need help with homework, projects, etc. I doubt at the end of the day there is much time for classroom websites and newsletters. However, I think the situation might be different if classroom reminders and homework assignments came up in the parent's Facebook news feed.
Wouldn't it at least be worth a try? It is sad to me that the teacher who wrote this post made sure that the Facebook group he created was completely private and secure, but he still had to quit communicating with parents through Facebook. I feel like parents these days would love to streamline their lives. One great way to do that, in my opinion, would be to communicate with their children's teachers through Facebook (in a safe, private, and controlled way of course). I know that it is the job of administration to protect the best interests of everyone involved, but when will teachers be seen as competent professionals? It is sad to me that teachers are being discouraged from using technology to communicate with parents. What do you think?