An interesting discussion on this topic took place in the Facebook group Quebec teachers. It made it possible to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this method of communicating with parents, but also to propose alternatives. Here is a summary.
For some teachers, a private Facebook group dedicated to parents is a simple and transparent way to communicate. Karine Godin-Tremblay talks about her experience: “For my part, I have a blog and a secret Facebook group and parents love it! They are closer to school and their children and like to have class news, photos, files, message exchange… They can ask questions and answer each other, or through me. Positive for me and transparent. "
The same goes for Kathleen Cryans, who really likes this way of doing things: “I have a Facebook group for parents and students in my two groups. To manage it, we are two teachers who work with the students as well as the TES of the unit. We teach in high school and frankly it works really well. It contains course notes, photos, dates of evaluations, homework and lessons. It is a place where students' questions on homework, etc. are answered directly. It is practical, efficient and facilitates communication. We are in our second year of operation. "
Here are some tips that emerged from the discussion:
- Create a different Facebook profile for your role as a teacher (although technically, if your account's privacy settings are fine and the parents are not "friends" with you, they cannot see your personal information );
- Make sure that the group created is “private” and only admit parents of students from one class at a time;
- If you plan to post pictures of the children, make sure you get written permission from all parents;
- Pay particular attention to the quality of the language in communications: "There are parents who only wait for mistakes ... and everything you write can be misinterpreted or judged", warns a teacher. On this subject, Kathleen Cryans proposes to face the problem directly: “We made the difference between this type of communication and an official letter. The official letter does not contain mistakes, while on Facebook mistakes can creep in. It is accepted because confronted from the start. "
Among the alternatives proposed, we suggest looking towards by Edmodo, a platform similar to Facebook, but specially dedicated to communication between teacher and students as well as with parents. We also offer the creation of a site using a tool such as Google Sites or simply a blog. Some teachers prefer to communicate with parents directly by email. This allows them a personalized exchange and, if necessary, they can write to all parents at once.
Of course, it's not all about being easily accessible for parents. A teacher testifies: “I have already given my e-mail address to the parents, because my internship teacher was doing it. (…) After receiving a 2-page complaint email from a mother, I stopped this practice, because when I read it, from home at supper time, it put me out of my mind. Me, it made me anxious, and I couldn't get out. She recognizes, however, that there are several advantages to talking directly with parents, but this bad experience has discouraged her.
And you, what means of communication do you favor with parents? And what are your tips for those who want to use Facebook?