This is not a post related to any debates, rather something that has come up in my teaching this year, and I would like to know your thoughts on the topic.
The topic I propose to discuss is accessibility of teachers outside the typical classroom day. As an STF councillor and RPSTA assembly rep, I attend a lot of meetings where discussions around teacher workday, teacher welfare, and teacher workload are heavily debated. Many teachers feel as though we do way too much for too little, and have made the conscious effort to stop doing any work outside of the typical school day. Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand and fully see where they are coming from. Teachers have been asked go above and beyond for far too long.
Here’s where my problem comes in… With the new version of Seesaw this year, they introduced a ‘messages’ function, which I LOVE. I found it very convenient to send a quick message to parents, for example “Don’t forget to send field trip permission slips in tomorrow.” or whatever it may be. However, I often have parents and students messaging me in the evenings or weekends. At first, I thought nothing of it, I responded whenever I had the chance, and everything was going alright. Until a few months ago when a student started messaging me for ‘fun’. Wondering what I was up to over February break, telling me about her weekend, small talk or questions about class that weren’t really needed to be asked outside of the school day. It got me thinking of whether or not I want my students to have such easy access to me in my evenings and weekends. It also made me realize that I needed to take that opportunity to teach that student that I am her teacher, not her friend (in the nicest way possible) and that Seesaw was more for communicating with her parents.
To be honest, I am actually very conflicted over this. As a graduate student, I love that I can call or email my profs and most of them respond quickly. Yet, as a teacher, I feel as though there need to be boundaries. Especially with grade 4 students. Or am I just a terrible human being!? Lol. All jokes aside… I would really love to hear any thoughts on the topic, agree or disagree, all thoughts are welcome. I am not sure where I stand yet and I welcome different perspectives on the topic. Thanks in advance!