As an experiment this year, I decided to embrace social media to help open the lines of communication with students and parents.
It’s only three months into the school year, but I thought I’d share with you my progress thus far.
I started up a professional Facebook account this summer. This account was meant to be strictly for my teaching practice. I wasn’t going to post anything that wasn’t related to my classroom instruction or program.
I don’t use Facebook personally, so it was easy to set up this new account and not mix my personal and professional life online.
And it worked . . . up to a point.
I became Facebook friends with 41 students. It was interesting to see the things they talked about on their pages. I didn’t see a lot on my dashboard stream though. I think many of the students adjusted their privacy settings to prevent me from seeing everything they posted, which was fine. Other students didn’t want to have a teacher as a friend whatsoever.
The solution . . .
I started a Facebook Page. This way students and parents can “like” my page instead of friending me. This allows them to see all of my updates, interact with the posts, and leave comments.
To that end, I asked my students to “like” my new page and then I started removing them as friends. I sometimes miss that I cannot see all of their posts anymore but I think this is a much safer environment for teachers to still use the social media site.
Almost everyone uses Facebook. Why not use it to help open up the lines of communication between school and home.
Students or parents can’t expect to find me online all of the time. I told them that I will do my best to be online from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. every night. That way any questions they might have will be answered before they go to bed.
I also started a professional Twitter page that is secondary to my current one. This is only used for educational purposes as well.
Teachers Should be Online
I have always had an open-door policy, but I have found that very few parents call or come in to the school. Some students are reluctant to stay after class or come in before school starts. Having a social media presence makes my door even more accessible. In this day and age, connecting online is quick and easy. It only makes sense to use these tools in an educational setting.
How about you?
Are you using social media, websites, text messages, etc in your teaching practice? If so, please leave a comment below and let us know how it’s working for you. Thanks!