In many of my courses at MSU, the idea of teachers visiting their students’ houses has been upheld as a great method of building relationships and learning about the student’s cultural knowledge. While I do see how meeting families in their homes would be beneficial, I am very hesitant about the whole thing for a few good reasons.
1. As a student, I would have felt very uncomfortable if any of my teachers had visited my house (with a few exceptions of those whom I was very close to or who already knew my family). Students cannot control their home life but they can control who they are at school. Seeing the student’s home environment may give you insight but it also could make the student feel exposed and vulnerable when he/she did not choose to be.
2. If the teachers visit the student’s houses, do the students and/or their parents visit the teacher’s house? It seems like the idea of the teacher going around to people’s houses could stir up some feelings of, “That person can come in, look at us, study us, and judge us, but we can’t go to their home” (whether the teacher is actually judging or not). I would like to add to this that, overall, students and/or their families visiting my home would make me very uncomfortable, but I admit that I have the attitude that my personal life and my professional life should remain generally separate, with some exceptions.
3. Doesn’t this enter into some gray area in terms of professional conduct? Or am I just drawing the lines too rigidly? Horror stories have me terrified of simply being alone with one student let alone driving them home or visiting their house.
4. Going off of #3, what if I visited my student’s house and saw something inappropriate or illegal? I would obviously be obligated to report it, and, in this instance, it seems that visiting their home destroyed the purpose of “building a relationship,” at least a good one. Unless, I guess, the student was happy about it being reported, but it seems it would still make the situation awkward.
Perhaps a solution to some of my concerns above would be to simply get written consent from both the student and the parents that a home visit is okay. Additionally, calling and scheduling a set time for the visit would seem to be an appropriate protocol that could decrease #4 at least.
I am curious about how many teachers actually do home visits and what they have to say about it.