Parent Comments on Facebook

The following conversation occurred on Facebook last November. As an educator how would you respond?

So the school wants to take my 7 year old on a field trip to Agribition. Sounded like a great idea til I read the note. They want parent volunteers. “Please let me know if you would be interested in chaperoning our trip. I will be dividing students into groups and assigning groups to parents. You are free to spend the day touring Agribition with your group.” Sure why not? I definately send my child to school in a classroom with a trained and educated teacher who is used to keeping track of all the children in her class so that he can be driven to Agribition on a bus and set loose with a parent I’ve never met and has no training in dealing with or keeping track of “groups” of 7 year olds! Not a well thought out field trip at all!

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Margaret YIKES! Better voice your concern! I hope this is NOT common practice in your school.

13 hours ago · Like · 1

Barbara  I’ll be voicing it at the parent teacher interview next Thursday as well as in a phone call to the school on Tuesday when they are open again. Donavon will not be participating in this field trip.

11 hours ago · Like · 1

  • Margaret  They should not be dispersing the groups

11 hours ago · Like · 2

Barbara It ranks right up there with the skating note that states that “this is part of our Phys. Ed program therefore all students are expected to participate”. That’s right under the part where the note says there are going skating twice, for one hour each time and each student is required to have their own skates and their own helmet. The helmet must be a hockey or speed skating helmet. Yeah, cause I’m going to run out and buy a hundred dollars worth of equipment for EACH of my two children so they can participate in two hours worth of skating and one doesn’t even want to so I know he’ll never use the skates again. GET REAL!

11 hours ago · Like · 1

Margaret yup, that’s what happens when you live in a community where everyone earns too much money! All kids get to do everything they want and even some things they don’t want!

11 hours ago · Like

Barbara But not everyone earns too much money. And it’s not even really about the money. Yeah, we could afford to go buy those things for them, but I refuse to. Because it’s wasteful. I will not go buy them each skates and a fifty dollar helmet to be used for 2 hours and never touched again. That’s ridiculous. Ashton wants to go. He can use my skates as they will fit him and I’ll find him a helmet. But Don doesn’t want to which clearly tells me that I’d be wasting my money because he wouldn’t do it again outside of school anyways. And if I go buy that stuff this year, I would expected to go buy all new stuff next year when they are doing it again because he would have grown out of it.

11 hours ago · Like · 2

Barbara I think it is a good thing that the school is closed until Tuesday. It will give me time to calm down before I have to talk to them and explain to them why my child will not be participating in those activities. Geesh!

11 hours ago · Like

Margaret well, hopefully you can make them see their lapse in judgement on the Agribition trip and they can fix the problem before it happens!

11 hours ago · Like

Barbara My major issue is the whole splitting up into groups and sending my child off with some random adult at one of the busiest events in Saskatchewan. But even putting that aside . . . . Agribition? Really!?!? You couldn’t think of something that that age group would enjoy and would have a little more educational value. I mean, if you’re going to take twenty 7 year olds into Regina, go to the Science Centre, go to the RCMP museum. Agribition???

11 hours ago · Like

Leonard  OK so what is Agribition???

10 hours ago via mobile · Like

Margaret Agricultural Exhibition (We live in Saskatchewan)

10 hours ago · Like

Leonard  For 7 year olds don’t sound like its for kids

10 hours ago via mobile · Like

Leonard  How far are u from Saskatoon I may be there Tue or wes

10 hours ago via mobile · Like

11 thoughts on “Parent Comments on Facebook

  1. The parents should be voicing their concerns to the teacher directly and not on Facebook. By posting on Facebook, they are letting the public know how they feel about the teacher and how they feel about other parents supervising. They are only escalating the problem by bringing in other opinions when the matter could be resolved with the teacher. Also, on the parent volunteers concern: Parents are most likely responsible enough to watch kids because they have children of their own. If a parent is worried about them not being able to look after such a large group they could suggest having smaller groups or volunteering themselves. I think that some parents don’t understand the goals of activities, so perhaps that teacher could outline the purpose of the trip and the benefits of going. By making this comment on Facebook, the parent is not only challenging the teacher, but also putting down parents in the process whether they realize or not and should call the teacher instead.

  2. I can’t help but agree with most of the parent comments, despite the rude/challenging nature of most of them. It seems like a poorly thought out field trip and a weak attempt at parental involvement in student learning. Why don’t the parents know why the children are going to Agribition? Why don’t the parents feel comfortable teaching their children while on this field trip?

    If the teacher in this scenario explained her purpose thoroughly, and planned the field trip with the parents, then there wouldn’t be so much confusion.

    I think as teachers we will face challenges like this from parents for the rest of our careers, especially on social media. Might as well get used to it and find a way to use it to improve our teaching.

  3. Parents are part of the learning community. They do play a big role of being the “first teachers” of their child/children. The child’s learning process is not a separate entity far from home and from the community. In certain learning approaches, parents are clearly defined in the learning environment of children. It is therefore valid, acceptable and has always been a practice (I believe) to include parents in school activities, programs and a lot more things related to their child’children’s schools, education, learning process and planning.

    The reactions of parents in this case are of course valid too but we can always debate depending on what view they are coming from. As a teacher and a parent, I would be more than happy to join my children and their classes on activities like these. I would be more than glad to volunteer should I have the time. As an adult, I will of course assess myself whether I have the capacity to take the responsibility of being with such and such group.

    Parents’ involvement in activities like these should be encouraged. These will give the parents the opportunity to know more about the learning processes his/her child is into. That way, a parent will have a better understanding on how to work with the school in furthering his/her child’s development. It is also a healthy opportunity in building “teamwork” and collaboration between parents and educators and of course the children as well.

    Agribition. What’s wrong with exposing your child in fairs such as Agribition? We’re in the Prairies. This is a great opportunity for the children to understand their community/environment.

    The only loophole that I see here is the absence (or maybe not mentioned) of proper procedures on how to secure the “security” of the children. I am not sure how common or popular it is in Canada to ask parents/guardians who wishes to volunteer to submit a criminal record check.

    In conclusion, as a parent, putting my children to unsafe situations would be the most unthinkable. I used to argue with my fifteen year old son every time he asked permission to go here and there with friends, etc. he would say, `You don`t trust me, Mom,`with a matching sad face). I used to conclude conversations like this by saying,`Ì trust you but I don`t trust the people around you.` And the whole thing was sad… you know why? He learned to cross the road when he turned 14.

  4. While I see where the parents are coming from, and negating the issue that they were discussing, the problem that I see is parents calling teachers out on facebook. Facebook is not a forum for airing out dirty laundry (or it shouldn’t be.)

    The passive aggressive nature of the parents leads me to question the the level of respect that the parents have for the teacher.

    If we were to actually look at the learning opportunities that exist at Agribition, I can’t see the issue that the parents have with going. Many classes have gone to Agribition and actually gotten something out of it. Agribition is busy and more hands would be necessary. While sending children off WITHOUT any teachers may be a no no, we also expect parents to have some sort of ability to look after children – I mean their kids are still alive, aren’t they?

    I personally don’t see the issue with Agribition – the issue I see is the way parents are dealing with it. Instead of going to the teacher and voicing their concerns personally, they have made it into a huge public issue.

  5. I think it’s sad that this parent chose to voice her concern over a social network before discussing her issue with the teacher, it’s disrespectful and rude. This is also not a good behaviour to model to your child(ren).

    It’s hard to judge what this entire situation not knowing what the full letter said or did not say. However, from what I understand the teacher didn’t disclose enough information to the parents. Had the teacher gave more information and the purpose/ curricula connections to parents this reaction may not have come about. There are many other learning opportunities/benefits provided when taking students on field trips such as: respect, communication, team building, responsibility, etc. had this been mentioned in the letter the parents may think differently.

    On the other hand I think the parent should know well enough that a parent that does not feel comfortable supervising a group of 7 year olds is not likely to sign up as a volunteer. I believe having parent volunteers is a good idea because it creates a bridge between the parents and school. This connection/ relationship is good and beneficial for the students to see.

    I personally remember going on a trip like this many, many years ago when I was in grade 3 and I still remember it being one of the best field trips I have ever experienced. There was learning that took place before, during and after the field trip.

  6. Though Barbara and Margaret seem to be making valid points that warrant further discussion, I don’t think that Facebook is the right avenue for them to voice their opinions in these particular instances.

    First off, Barbara is slandering her child’s teacher in a very public way. Perhaps there is more to the teacher’s plans than Barbara suggests (or quotes)? Barbara is right to actively be involved in her child’s education and to contact the teacher or school administration with her concerns, however she should do this prior to broadcasting the “pitfalls” of a specific teacher online.

    Secondly, Barbara should (again) voice her concerns about the skating thing with the school BEFORE venting about it on Facebook, as she does raise some good points about the associated costs.

    Thirdly, Agribition is a hugely educational experience, especially in today’s day and age where society is so disconnected with where food comes from. Agribition should be celebrated and the learning should take place prior to, during, and after the field trip via relevant activities, etc.

    Finally, communication is key. Correspondence sent home to parents should include ALL pertinent information and if there are any questions or things left unclear, there should be easy avenues of inquiry from parents to teachers or administration and this communication should be actively encouraged by the school staff.

  7. I could understand how many of the parents would have their concerns about the educational value that this type of field trip contains – however, this should be addressed in the letter that goes home or through a phone call directly to the school. I would highly doubt that admin or teachers would agree to a field trip that had no value to the children that were attending. As for the skating trip, I think this is something that happens during a lot of elementary school years – allowing the kids to be active and develop new skills and interests. For a child that is 7 years old, I would find it hard to believe that they know exactly what they are willing to do or not. The parents should be open to helping their children experience different skills and activities to develop new interests and keep them staying active.
    The biggest issue with this is that it all happened on social media. As for parents, they are supposed to be models for their children – not starting an argument online for everyone to see. Not only is it unnecessary, but many people are more brave and courageous behind a computer screen than they would be face to face. An easy phone call to the teachers could clear up the issue, as well as allowing that school to be aware of the concerns that many of the parents were having.

  8. I believe this parent should have voiced her opinion to the teacher, instead of publically embarrassing her. That is why blogs are a good way of communicating with parents and to ask for suggestions and ideas from them as well. The parent would have been able to voice her concerns with just the teacher and the other parents instead of exposing it to social media.

    Schools rely on parent volunteers. Growing up I had not gone on a single field trip without at least one parent volunteer. Without volunteers, the children would never get to experience things like fieldtrips because it is impossible to recruit other “trained and educated teacher[s] who are used to keeping track of all the children in their class” when they have a classroom and twenty students of their own. Also, I am aware everyone is entitled to their own opionon, but if you can leave your children in the hands of a thirteen year old baby sitter, I’m sure your children would be fine with a fellow parent; who has more experience than any adolescent.

    I don’t think it would have mattered where the proposed field trip was (they mentioned the Science Center and IMAX being a better idea) the teacher would have still requested for parent volunteers, as there would have still been twenty seven year olds and only one teacher. The teacher should have been clearer outlining the fieldtrip in her letter to avoid confusion and conflict like this – maybe the teacher had very educational, fun, and safe activities planned for that group at the Agribition. After all, the teacher does know the benefits of this field trip, or she wouldn’t have requested it.

    Parent and community involvement has grown over the past few years. It is now frowned upon to choose not to include your students’ parents in their Childs educational journey. Parents want to be involved in every aspect of their childrens lives, and asking for volunteers to act as a chaperone is an AWESOME way to include parents and make them feel welcome and appreciated in their child’s school life.

  9. I can understand where the parents are coming from. However, I feel that the way in which they addressed their concerns is an issue. The use of social media as a means to express something that should be addressed formally to the teacher/principal/school board is what leads to problems like this. By addressing the issue publicly first, the concerns escalated from a field trip to Agribition, to include events in other classes such as Phys. Ed and outdoor skating. I think that parents should use organizations like PTA and public School Board Meetings to address these issues because it will then be brought to the teacher’s attention in a manner that does not seem like an attack. In my opinion, I would appreciate a professional complaint about something in my classroom rather than finding out about it via social media.

    I find that to eliminate field trips like Agribition would take away a significant experiential learning opportunity for our students, one that I have participated in numerous times throughout my years at grade school. It brings people together and to an environment that they may not be familiar with but are looking to experience. This is what brings teachers above and beyond the material, when they organize events for their students to learn outside of the classroom, and apply what they have learned.

    That being said, I think that as future teachers, we should anticipate reactions like this from the parents and it will help us in seeing their perspective as we compile information regarding the upcoming field trip. Further, I believe that part of the parents’ concerns is due to the lack of information given by the teacher regarding the role of the chaperones at Agribition. I find that communication is key to the success of any organization and/or classroom- it ensures that everyone involved is kept up-to-date about upcoming events. Parents are always thinking about the safety of their kids, and I think that teachers need to do everything they can to assure parents that the field trip is going to be a safe, educational, and creative learning opportunity.

  10. I think that if parents have any concerns they should addressing them to the teacher, principal, etc because addressing them on facebook is not going to help at all and the teacher won’t know how concerned a parent feels about the field trip if the parent doesn’t come forward and express it to the teacher. As far as taking kids to the Agribition its self I believe it is a great way to learn about the students province outside of the classroom and it not a waste of time and not an excuse to get out of teaching.

  11. I agree with both the parents, sometimes the notice is to short or teachers want us to buy expensive things just for two hours. I have been through this situvation and at times my husband was out of town so I had to do all the running around alone.

    I do not agree about posting things on face book and making it public, but I think some parents any where in the world ,love to find faults with the teacher. Nowadays things do go out of perspective because of Media and cyber net.

    Sometimes, it is good before the term starts parents are informed about the feild trips so if their are any concerns they have time to come and speak to the school authorities and situvations like this can be avoided.

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