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The Problems with a Mobile Student Body

Mary Ellen Flannery raises an interesting issue in her NEA article, “Kids on the Move.” Kids are greatly impacted by the stress and upheaval that comes with switching schools and moving to different homes. According to Flannery, “Students who switch schools tend to have lower scores in reading and math, and they’re more likely to drop out.” One woman commented on this article asking how education can keep punishing children for their parents actions. The students do not have a say in when or where their parents move, yet the students are the ones that suffer. Isn’t it time that we started finding ways to solve these problems? Flannery mentions that oftentimes records follow the children into school too late, so that learning disabilities and special needs are not identified quickly enough. Flannery mentions that better data systems are being called for, but I feel that there must be more that can be done.

Flannery also brings up the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act, which requires schools to bus students to their original schools, not the schools determined by their current location (shelters, etc.). Better funding of this act would help homeless students retain at least a part of their former lives, allowing for the stability that children so desperately need.

This article got me thinking about problems I had never spent much time on before; how can we as teachers help new students better acclimate to their new schools- really make them want to come to school so that drop out rates for these children decrease. Would a solution be to create a community for these new students and their parents? Is there a special way to reach out to homeless students and their families? This article brought up more questions than answers for me, but I feel that they are problems every school system- and every teacher- will face.

Flannery, M. E. (2011, February 1). Kids on the move. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2011/02/01/kids-on-the-move/

 

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Finding the Distinction between Students and “Friends”

Facebook is everywhere these days. My mother has one. My grandmother has one, and many of my high school teachers have one too. Now, more than ever, the internet is redefining what it means to exist socially in the world, both personally and professionally. Cindy Long’s article, “Why Can’t We Be Friends? Social Media Boundaries Between Teachers and Students” hits on this sensitive topic, addressing the rights of both the teachers and the students when it comes to online privacy.

In the article, Long paraphrases William Jackson saying, “His bottom line: If you feel comfortable saying it to parents and in public then you should be able to say it in a blog or on facebook” (Long 2011). Jackson suggests that it is appropriate to say something about a student online, as long as it isn’t private. I disagree. I feel that teachers have no reason to talk about students on their personal facebook pages or blogs (a classroom facebook page is a different story.) Private or public knowledge, a personal facebook page should be used for just that: a teacher’s personal life. Children and the school system should be left out of it.

I liked the idea presented by Gina Moretto Frutig,who “maintains a separate Facebook page just for students and their parents” (Long 2011). The best conclusion I can come to is for teachers to set specific boundaries and stick to them. It seems wise to either have two facebook pages, one professional and one personal, or to make the personal facebook page as private as possible, denying students access.

The article does suggest that social media can benefit students in the classroom. I wholeheartedly agree. Students today are constantly connected to each other socially, so it only makes sense that they should also be able to connect educationally. What about a classroom facebook page for questions about assignments? For facilitating discussion? It seems that as long as these outlets are monitored regularly by the teacher, students could learn just as much about Thomas Jefferson as they could about Billy’s weekend escapades from facebook or other media outlets.

Long, C. (2011, April 8). Why can’t we be friends? social media boundaries between teachers and students. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2011/04/28/why-cant-we-be-friends-social-media-boundaries-between-teachers-and-students/

 

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