Next year I am moving to a new school. While I am excited about the change, there are lots I have been thinking about, particularly how to engage parents. Using Social Media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) is natural, but at the same time, blogging and tweeting in the public domain can be dangerous – especially in a smaller centre where posts and tweets can be picked up by the media and parents. I worry about having the message misconstrued. Once it something has gone into the cyber world it is public domain. I also worry about the confidentiality of staff and students.
What to do? I went to my PLN. I emailed Chris Wejr (@MrWejr), whose online profile is somewhat (an understatement) larger than mine. Rather than email me, Chris took the time to give me a call and we talked for around 45 minutes about the pros and cons of having an online presence. Chris has had some of the things he has said misunderstood and had to explain and clarify his intent. In some ways it was challenging, but in the end all the experiences turned out positive because they created conversations that likely would not have happened. It is through these difficult conversations that we learn and move forward.
Earlier in the week I read Chris Kennedy’s (@chrkennedy)post about transparency. That too got me thinking. I don’t pretend to be nearly as busy as Chris. First off, he has more kids, those of you that are parents, you know that every child makes your life exponentially busier (in a good way). Professionally, he has a little more on his plate than I do (again an understatement), but he makes himself completely accessible (email, twitter, cell phone etc.) to everyone. Putting yourself out there to the public and welcoming scrutiny and questions takes courage and integrity.
After talking with Chris W. and reading Chris K’s post, I came to the conclusion that I do need to be transparent and more accessible. I want to create conversations, even difficult ones. I will have the courage to make myself transparent and integrity to ensure that words mirror my actions and embrace the dialogue that emerges. Engaging the public in discussions about public education is important in creating a better understanding about teaching and learning.