Apr 12, 2011

e-mail to... jail? A REFLECTION ;)

     Alright, many of us probably have or are taking Teaching as a Professional.  The first half of this class (or 2nd, considering which teacher/section you have) is pretty much an Education & Law class.  This, of course, is also known as "scare the crap out of you" class.
     We have discussed all the ways to get fired & all the things NOT to do with students.  E-mailing students & having that connection outside of school with a student is a big no - no!  So, this always makes me wary when I have to think up lessons & incorporate blogs, or use googledocs, which implement & require e-mail addresses & interaction. Schrum & Levin discuss in chapters 6 & 9 how using a blog page, or a similar online community can actually help to limit e-mails as a way of communication. However, there is still that contact that occurs outside of the classroom, even flowing into personal atmosphere.
     I am obviously just being paranoid, but I live under the umbrella of "be careful what you put in writing", especially to students.  Having an online community is great, but parents NEED to be involved, or at the very least, give their complete blessing.  That is my final & most important reflection on incorporating any interactive/ communicative technology based lesson into the classroom.
      On a different note, Richardson's break down of Facebook is interesting.  I also believe that teachers need to know how to interact with social networking that their students take part in.  Technology actually has been tightening the generation gap, I believe.  Adults seem hipper than ever, due to the constant overload of popular culture & trends, which the Internet provides. Teenagers & their teachers are able to relate. (By the way... I said hip; I guess I have not yet been an example of the gap filler.)  One of the ways in English classes that teachers have been presenting or having the students present biographies of authors, characters, etc... is by creating Facebook pages for them.  Recently, Twitter has become a popular outline for students to work with, as they get into the character that the novel portrays & then update their life through tweets.  This helps them critically imagine how that person would act, & brings the story to this time period.
     Facebook also has some drawbacks for teachers.  There has been many horror stories where teacher's have been put under attack due to comments or statuses that they have had.  Obviously we all know not to accept a student as our friend, but it is a small world & students may be able to access teachers' information.  Should the teacher be at fault for living their personal life?  I found an article relating to contact with students & the threats that Facebook may pose.  It does not really say anything too life changing, since we have read it all before, but it does say one thing that helps answer my inquiries.  The article says to contact students, even through their community page, at hours that would be appropriate to call home.  So, a teacher should be aware of creating or posting to a page before they go to bed, because it may lead into personal lifestyle. 

This is the article. Sometimes, it feels like you are damned if you do, damned if you don't. 
Over this course, however, I am happy that I filled my mental creative box with new ways to incorporate technology & always will be conscious of doing so safely & securely.


  1. I am currently taking the Teaching as a Profession course, and I can definitely relate to this post. The first half of the course does scare you a little; you learn about all the do’s and don’ts of teaching. I think it is just important to remember that you are a “professional” when interacting with students both inside and outside the classroom. I believe that teachers can use all the digital tools that we have learned about as long as they are knowledgeable, use good judgment, and plan thoroughly. I am not going to let my fears stifle my creativity as a 21st century educator, and you shouldn’t feel pressured either. :-)

  2. I like that you brought up the point that students need to use their email to sign up for these blog sites. I have also felt nervous about that. It seems to me that asking them to use their own email going a bit too far in the personal realm. I know some schools give the students an email just like a college. I think if I was at a school that did than I would feel better about it because it's their "school email." I think having that professional level to the email would help a lot.

  3. I think you are all right about the importance of being safe and smart about communicating with students. However, at least the communication is out in the "open." As long as it is school sanctioned, and school appropriate, it should be okay. In these days, you have to be careful about EVERY form of communication with students--technological communication is no different. If you are always professional and clear with parents you will be better off. Just remember, no permission slip will ever protect you from negligence or abuse--those are the seeds of a law suit (which is justifiable).

  4. I hear what you are saying about feeling paranoid about using technology for fear of getting into trouble or law suits. It can be a uncomfortable place to be in, when as teachers we want to use technology but that technology can make so much more of both teachers and students lives outside of school more accessible. I think sometimes it's good for teachers to have that worry in the back of their minds because it can cause them to be more careful and thoughtful about their interaction with students via technology. I also think that it would be very helpful if teachers were educated on safe and appropriate ways to use technology in the classroom. Overall I do agree that it is always better to be safe, so if something is in question teachers would be well served to talk with the administration about the technology they want to use.