Author Topic: Go with the flow or protest?  (Read 10637 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*inviteseller

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1821
  • I am Queen Mommy
Go with the flow or protest?
« on: September 11, 2013, 08:11:23 PM »
My 7 yr old DD just started second grade..we are on week 3.  I have already had Meet the Teacher night, learned how she operates and I like her.  Then tonight along with the 5 pages of homework  :o was a note about signing up for ClassDoJo. com.  The paper gives us the parental code, the username and password.  Okaaaayyyyy..I already have to get everything done online-all paperwork, her report cards ect.  So I go to the website, wondering what it is for.  To my surprise, it is to track my child's classroom behavior!  So, my DD is signed up to some website that I didn't ask for, to track her behavior????  Now, she is very well behaved (her first 2 years of school she only earned one warning on her behavior chart each year for talking in class) but her daily sheet had that info (they had to mark a stop light with the appropriate color they were on each day on their folder).  I just feel this is another step in only communicating via computers.  Her teacher already told us that she puts a lot of stuff on the class web page, and the district does everything online, plus almost every teacher only wants to communicate via email.  I don't want to check a web page that isn't even maintained by our district for correspondence when a note or call would convey any issues better.  And I think in the case of behavioral issues, a phone calls gives the parent a chance to ask questions right away and for the teacher and parent to suss out the problem and come up with an immediate solution.  I am sick of having to live and breathe for emails and page updates. 

How do I convey to her teacher/district that while I respect the moves being made into the technological age, I feel it is becoming too impersonal, that I don't like my DD's information being on a website I did not approve of, and bring up that not everyone has a computer without coming off as that parent?  I am afraid that my frustration at constantly being told to check the website or send an email is going to make me not be as polite as I know I need to be to correctly convey my frustration.  Or, am I just being a fogey and shouldn't expect my DD's teachers to ever pick up a phone or write a note to put in her backpack???

GSNW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 544
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 08:32:22 PM »
That's a tough one. I have had parents express similar concerns to yours - meaning, they don't like that we publish gradebooks using ParentLink because they don't want "a hacker" to find their child's information, or feel that it could potentially create a privacy issue.  Of course I'm assuming that your DD's behavior chart is only visible to you, just as you (hopefully) can't see the behavior charts of her classmates.

From my perspective, I feel like, the more information out there, the better.  I want to make things in the classroom as transparent as possible for those parents who want to have all the information.  I also want easy documentation of issues.  For example, I already documented (using the "management" tab in my gradebook) that I had to have a 1:1 conference today with a student in one class because he said something inappropriate to another student.  I was going to call home, but I had two meetings after school and then wound up having to supervise open gym for fifteen minutes.  Unfortunately the home number was long distance, which I can't call from my classroom.  By the time I got to the office with the long distance capable phones, the counselors were gone for the day. I *will* make contact with this student's parent(s), but the note is already in the GB and chances are good the parents have seen it.

So that's just an example of why putting something online is more convenient than a phone call.  There is the added consideration that some districts seem to love these new programs and will at times make them mandatory.  If you express concern at all, which I think is your right as a parent, I would do it at the principal or district level.

I would love to pick up the phone more often.  By the time I have put out fires, uploaded grades for 200 students 3x per week, put my lesson plans on a website so my BOSSES can see them, put them on another website (along with uploading digital copies of assignments so PARENTS can see them/print them in case they are lost), the phone calls don't always happen.

I do send home physical (on paper) progress reports every week, but that's my choice, not a forced issue.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 08:33:54 PM by GSNW »

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 08:35:20 PM »
I think expecting a occasional note in your DD's backpack is reasonable, but not phone calls. Not everyone likes or feels comfortable on the phone and certainly its not part of the actual job that I'm aware of*.

If you have an issue with your child's name, personal info and behavior on a website due to online security of her identity, I get that, but I think trying to fight the digital age just because you don't prefer it is a pointless battle.


*I don't have kids, but I went to school from K-12th grade, plus my dad was a public school teacher for 35+ years, 5 of my cousins, one of whom I'm quite close to, the others reasonably close to are teachers, 2 of my fellow community board members are retired teachers, and several of my friends are teachers, and I seriously dated a teacher for 3 years. None of them called/call parents except under the most extreme circumstances. Its just not part of how they interact with parents. If parents want to speak with the teachers, parents should go to the school during school hours or on designated parent's nights. Otherwise its written correspondence only.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 08:37:05 PM by WillyNilly »

GSNW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 544
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 08:38:55 PM »
Also, *inviteseller, I don't think a polite inquiry or short statement of your opinion makes you THAT parent.  I would rather have opinionated parents that are questioning what's going on or trying to find out more about it than ones who just don't give a flip and are completely checked out of their child's education. 

I have a parent who has emailed me every week this year (so, four times) asking about what we are doing in my elective class.  Every week, I give her a brief rundown and say, "and here is the website where I post lesson plan information each week!"

And still she emails me.

Still, at least she cares.  I have called home before and said:

"Hello, I'm Mrs. GSNW, Joey's science teacher."
"Oh... Joey is taking science this year?"

/headdesk


MommyPenguin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4126
    • My blog!
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 08:45:36 PM »
My MIL is a teacher, and she asked me to download classdojo to my iPad so she could test it, because she's heard about it.  And my guess is the reason the teacher wants to use it is the way it works.  It's really, really easy to mark when a student does something good, or something bad.  It's like, tap student, tap + or -, done.  It was a few months ago, so I don't remember exactly, but I mostly remember that you can just sort of tick off good and bad behavior on the spot.  So the idea is that the teacher keeps it with her and can mark things on the go.  That way, instead of evaluating behavior afterwards, when the passage of time may have made the teacher forget a student's thoughtless remark or two kids pushing at the water fountain, she took note of all those things at the time and so things don't get missed.

That said, I don't think that degree of behavior-watching is necessary or productive.  Sure, the two kids pushed each other at the water fountain... if they didn't make enough of a ruckus for the teacher to remember later, was it that big a deal?  Kids will be kids, right?  And how exactly can the parent deal with it at the end of the day, or whatever, and often without even knowing the specifics?

I also agree with the privacy issues.  While theoretically only the parent should be able to see their child's information, it's not unreasonable to say, hey, I don't know anything about this program or how truly secure it is, why should my child's information and behavior be on it?

I'd bet that the teacher won't be able to keep up with it for long.  But I think it would be okay to say something, gently, to the teacher about your concern.  I'm sure somebody else can come up with a good way to do it.

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8500
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 08:51:43 PM »
I think it would be reasonable for a parent to contact the principal of the school requesting  that parents be informed of all databases and websites that their student's information will be posted on. And for the non-school system ones, the degree of security of that information.

If you frame it as a request for information, and a request that all parents, every year, be informed of how and where their students' information is being posted,  you will come across as someone who is concerned about her child's privacy, but not so over the top that she's demanding all internet info be removed.

And it might just make the staff realize that they need to keep parents informed of these things.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


bonyk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 758
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 09:15:46 PM »
Teachers are being asked to share more detailed information with parents more frequently.  This is a way to make it happen.  If you really don't want you daughter's name on the website, send in a note saying that you would prefer to have your daughter's name off, and that you will contact teacher if you have any questions or concerns.  This takes the onus off of her having to provide such info.

*inviteseller

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1821
  • I am Queen Mommy
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 09:27:00 PM »
Thanks for the teachers views !  It is a bit surprising that I had heard nothing about this new website..I do follow all district news and involve myself in my child's schooling, but it does make me a little mad that the teacher didn't explain this when I went for Meet the Teacher night last week ( a child free night where the teacher's have seminars in their class to go over curriculum, behavioral expectations, ect).  It is an opt out program and my DD is already enrolled.  And if a teacher has time to make remarks about my DD's behavior on a web site, she has time to make a quick note in her daily folder.  This program may be better for the older kids, but my DD spends all day with one teacher (other than music, art, gym) and she has 24 kids to deal with only.  Yes, there is grading and planning, but I think it will take more time for her to note something on the web site, me to read it, have a question, then email her, then her to email back when something could be taken care of with a quick note directly to me or a quick phone call before or after school.  Also, in our school, we have a large number of immigrants that have been brought here by a charity from war torn third world countries..these parents cannot even speak English, let alone have a computer (they are on the lowest end of the socioeconomic scale), so they are instructed to go to the library, use their computers, and ask for interpreters.  Just seems like a lot of work.  I have a meeting with various PTB next week to update my DD's health issues and requirements, so I may bring it up and go with the safety side of putting kids on a website with only opt out info.

ettiquit

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 09:39:44 PM »
My MIL is a teacher, and she asked me to download classdojo to my iPad so she could test it, because she's heard about it.  And my guess is the reason the teacher wants to use it is the way it works.  It's really, really easy to mark when a student does something good, or something bad.  It's like, tap student, tap + or -, done.  It was a few months ago, so I don't remember exactly, but I mostly remember that you can just sort of tick off good and bad behavior on the spot.  So the idea is that the teacher keeps it with her and can mark things on the go.  That way, instead of evaluating behavior afterwards, when the passage of time may have made the teacher forget a student's thoughtless remark or two kids pushing at the water fountain, she took note of all those things at the time and so things don't get missed.

That said, I don't think that degree of behavior-watching is necessary or productive.  Sure, the two kids pushed each other at the water fountain... if they didn't make enough of a ruckus for the teacher to remember later, was it that big a deal?  Kids will be kids, right?  And how exactly can the parent deal with it at the end of the day, or whatever, and often without even knowing the specifics?

I also agree with the privacy issues.  While theoretically only the parent should be able to see their child's information, it's not unreasonable to say, hey, I don't know anything about this program or how truly secure it is, why should my child's information and behavior be on it?

I'd bet that the teacher won't be able to keep up with it for long.  But I think it would be okay to say something, gently, to the teacher about your concern.  I'm sure somebody else can come up with a good way to do it.

POD

My son's school gives parents access to grades online, which I love and am not terribly concerned about privacy issues, but I was immediately turned off at the idea of behavior being tracked online.

I don't want to know every single bad thing my son does in school. I want to know when it gets to a point where it's negatively impacting his ability to learn (and others!), but if my son talked out of turn in class today, I just don't care. It's stressful to see something like this, especially if your kid has a history of acting up (and yes, my son does).

If my son's school started using this site, I would absolutely not use it.


(I totally get where GSNW is coming from though)

Library Dragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1338
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 09:52:24 PM »
Is only this teacher using it? If it's school wide she may not have known when you had Meet The Teacher Night. It's shocking what's thrown at teachers at the last minute.

The teacher or school may be dealing with parents that have changed behavior records sent home.  When DS2 was in second grade we had the traffic light behavior chart.  The parents of a problematic student cut and paste the charts from previous months to say they had no behavior warning.  This was after he tried to shove another student off a hay wagon while it was moving.  The job they did was hilariously bad, pluse the principal kept all his emails from them acknowledging previous incidents.


            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4043
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 09:55:52 PM »
I have a meeting with various PTB next week to update my DD's health issues and requirements, so I may bring it up and go with the safety side of putting kids on a website with only opt out info.

I think this is a good idea and I also have a random suggestion (for this or any future issues).  Also, I'm not a parent, but I have several sibs with kids in grade/middle school years.

There's strength in numbers.  If something strikes you as a jump the shark moment, talk to a few other parents and see if they agree.  My brother had a very negative reaction to something the school was doing online and, by asking, he realized many others felt the same way.  They ended up appearing at a PTA meeting as a group and voiced their objections.  The school put the plan on hold. 

Don't always assume you're *that parent*!  Some people do have concerns about various aspects of this.

*inviteseller

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1821
  • I am Queen Mommy
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 10:09:21 PM »
No, this isn't the only thing the teacher uses.  Thursday night she showed us their individual charts they use , a card for each month.  One part was for behavior (she explained what they would get an X for) and one part was for homework/not keeping their homework journals up.  She also said she would send home mid month 'interim's' on their behavior in the folder and if it was something so egregious, she would call.  So this seems a bit overkill.  I am going through the site now and it just seems almost nit picky.  Yes, this is definitely school wide (altho kindergarten is exempt) but I don't know if it is district wide..I should know that shortly as I IM'd a friend with kids in a different elementary school and the middle school.  I don't see how this just showed up since Thursday though..with over 750 kids just in our elementary school, this sounds like it would take awhile to set up.  I don't care about the grades being online as that is on our district site and they change the codes all the time and no one has had an issue since they started doing it, but as this is a site I have never been to or investigated, I would prefer me to make the choice, not the district for something like this.

johelenc1

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1858
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 10:40:00 PM »
Based on the replies so far, this will likely be an unpopular opinion.

I think the teacher is using the tools at her disposal to make her life easier, manage her classroom better, communicate privately with the parents and overall make things as simple as possible.  I think you are asking to make her life more difficult.

I will say that I do not have any issues of paranoia or concerns over the internet safety issue.  I know there any many people who have concerns and some of them are valid.  But, for me, the internet is here to stay and it's how I live a lot of my life.  I bank on it, pay bills on it, email on it, etc.  I password protect and am careful with sites as much as possible.  But, for me, I'm just not going to worry about the possibilities of such things.  This is just said to lay out my general state of mind over the issue.

So, that said...the site is password protected - make it as complicated as you wish.  And, frankly, if someone somehow hacks in - they will know...how your kid behaved?  If you don't need to see how they behave everyday - don't check.  If that's all the website does - never check.  If there is a real issue, you will get a phone call or note.

The truth is that electronic communication is often easier, more reliable and certainly more eco-friendly.  Teachers already have to pay for their supplies including paper - and who knows, now days, maybe even printing.  Sending an email is really easier for the teacher.  Not to mention, an email is "a note" - an electronic note that can convey any sentiment that the teacher could write on a piece of paper.  Also, papers get lost - who knows what gets home.  Once a email is confirmed as correct, the likelihood of the message getting through is extremely high.  It also allows a parent to go back and review any messages at their leisure without maintaining a stack of paper.  All in all, it's just better.

Now, there are certainly people who still don't use the internet.  There was one parent in my daughters' K class last year who did not have internet.  Certainly, she received paper notices.  Some people have email addresses and just never, ever check them.  And that's ok.  I would suspect however, that most of those people are not especially computer literate people  (and they probably aren't spending time on etiquette forums either  ;):-))  In these situations, I do think it makes sense that paper correspondence is sent.

And, then there are the people who really are incredibly concerned with internet safety.  Again, I would suspect these people are probably very careful with their internet use.

Now :-)  after all that, OP you don't sound like any of those people.  So, to me, unless you have a physical (lack of computer or internet) or philosophical (the internet is a way for big brother to track my every move), then if you do demand personal correspondence from the teacher instead of the teacher's preferred method of communication - then unfortunately, you are being that parent.

I love email.  I love school websites.  In fact, I met with some parents this morning and we are going to set up a Shutterfly site for our 1st grade class so parents can email each other, ask questions, coordinate class parties, post announcements, and post pictures (with permission).

My experience has been that despite email, web sites, etc. that if an issue really does arise with your child, the teacher will contact you by phone or note and then meet with you in person to discuss the issue if necessary.  Email is not a substitute for dealing with issues that do need to be dealt with in person, but it is a way to manage all the things that do NOT need to be handled in person.

So - my verdict is  ;D - unless you really object to the internet as a means of communication on safety grounds, then do your teacher a favor and just work with her in the way that works best for her.  She has enough going on.  And, that doesn't mean you can't send her notes whenever you want to.  I send notes to my girls' teacher all the time - especially last year in kindy.  But, it may be easier for your child's teacher to deal with it after class in the evening and respond by email instead of finding time in the middle of the teaching day.

Teachers have so much going on...I think you should give your teachers a break:-)

Modified to add:  PS - OP - if you really do have concerns then I do think you have the right to ask to have your child's information exempt from the site.  I just think that if your main objection is just that you prefer phones and paper over email, then you should let it go and go with the flow.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 10:42:50 PM by johelenc1 »

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21351
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 10:44:30 PM »
There are some major things being sttressed in education right now. The teachers I know are being told they are part of teacher evaluations and the trend in education.

One of those things is the collection of data (including attendance, behavior, grades, etc) and the quick sharing with student/parents there can be a timely response.

One of the other things that is stressed is the use of technology. Honestly, this system has a lot of benefits. Unlike a note, it can't get lost on the way home. If parents of a child live in two different households, they can both see it. There is probably a record of when data was entered do parents can't claim they weren't given the info when it was posted and yhe school can't claim they told parents about a problem they didn't post.

If the district is using this system then asking your daughter to have a different system probably will get you labeled "that parent".

alkira6

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 964
Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2013, 10:48:14 PM »
Another teacher chiming in with use it as you see fit. If you think it's too much, don't check it.  I also think that people seriously misunderstand internet security and "hacking".  Some things can be "hacked" on paper easier than online.

Another thing that may or may not impact you is the fact that teachers are under increasing pressure to document everything. I currently have a paper phone log, and electronic phone tracker, an electronic and paper gradebook, district parent contact e-mail, a discipline tracker in each student file, and a book in guidance.  And this does not touch grading.  If I am called to account for any kind of contact, I have to have both a written and an electronic attempt so that a parent cannot say that I did not try to tell them about the issue.