Trust and respect needed for student-teacher relationship
For any relationship between a teacher and a student to be effective, there needs to be a sense of trust and respect between the two parties involved. The best students are frequently the ones who are able to clearly communicate their questions and concerns. However, certain teachers have abused the position they are in to manipulate the minds of their students.
This sort of behavior is plainly disgusting, and it is outrageous every time it pops up in the news. Yet, there rarely seems to be any sort of effort to crack down on these sort of problems before they occur.
Some schools have attempted to do so by banning communication between teachers and students outside of school hours, but this approach is extremely limiting to not only the teacher’s ability to educate, but also for the student’s ability to interact and build a healthy relationship with an aspirational figure. Many teachers are active community members and leaders in their own right outside of school hours; to limit their ability to live and work in their community is to take away their essential civic freedoms. The standards teachers are already expected to live up to do not warrant further stifling regulations.
The problem, therefore, does not lie in the regulations we have currently but in the regulators themselves. School boards should have more effective screening measures to ensure that their hires do not pose a risk to any students or faculty of their district. An administration should have the tools necessary to build healthy relationships in their district without having to limit the vital communication channels that are essential in developing relationships between teachers and pupils.
The most frequent form of communication from teachers is oftentimes related to school sanctioned activities. Many coaches use the remind.me application to send out mass messages with important information to their team members. Without this convenience, communication would certainly be less organized and, perhaps, completely ineffective. Allowing teachers to have a viable way of contacting their students in the digital age is essential for developing their skills and patterns of interaction that they will carry with them into the workforce.
Although the problem of inappropriate communication may continue into the foreseeable future, I believe the cases are isolated and for the most part could have been prevented by better hiring practices. There are questions that can be asked that should raise red flags; they need to be implemented into the interview process. Changes of this nature would have significantly more of a positive impact than an outright ban on communication outside of the classroom.