I don’t know about you dear reader, but I am guessing that outside of the classroom you (like me) have a pretty busy life. I maintain an active design practice, I write, I am a mom-to-be and my free time I am a woman turning a barn into a house! Outside of the classroom I like napping, reading, yoga, long walks. I am finding that I do not like being bombarded with texts from students on my personal cell phone; during a recent field trip I offered my cell phone for emergency contact purposes, now texting the teacher 24/7 is de rigueur.
I want to talk this week about communication boundaries as they are shifting and there seemingly is no official protocol. What are the policies on electronic communication and how can I embed my policies into my syllabus next semester to the mutual benefit of teacher and student?
According to The Pew Research Center students exchange up to 60 emails a day. In a recent study Pew found that texting is the most effective means to engage with students. The article that featured this study can be found here. Email is not an automatic form of engagement according to tech savvy educator Vanessa J. Alander in her recent Prof. Hacker post on The Chronicle for Higher Education “students do not use their emails unless you specifically tell them to and then remind them throughout the semester.”
One thing is clear: texting is an effective means to communicate and I have noticed that my students are not responding to my emails as readily as they have in the past. Alander offers suggests a third party web service called Remind101 instead of using your personal phone number. Other options include Google voice and broadbander.
The third party format feels appropriate to me. I plan to insert a statement regarding policies on electronic communication in my future syllabi. This will include a mandatory sign up to a third-party texting service, along with my email and office phone. I will state that all inquiries will be responded to within 24 hours. I will not hand out my personal cell phone number. On a field trip I will with the caveat that it be erased at the end of the day. n closing, txtN S hre 2 stay n as a teacha my hope S 2 fnd a wa 2 use txtN as a 2l w/o it interfering N2 my pRsNL lyf.
Translation: In closing, texting is here to stay and as a teacher my hope is to find a way to utilize texting as a tool without it interfering into my personal life.
What are your policies on texting as classroom communication? I would love to hear your thoughts!