So, how do we balance this?
Some teachers opt to create "Teacher" facebook accounts using School District email addresses that do not have any connection with their personal accounts. Others use services like Edmodo and Schoology. These services do provide a safer, alternative route to maintaining communication amongst faculty and students. In fact, they also provide easy avenues for parents to message teachers and keep tabs on student grades. I have seen teachers use a variety of online products like these to keep in touch outside of the classroom; it helps students remember what they are supposed to do and provides another way of getting help for low-income kids who might not have a college student babysitter or parent to ask for help on math homework.
Some teachers worry this kind of communication will become untenable, taking too much of their planning time or, even, their off time. I I worry about that as well - how will I balance my own family's needs if I am constantly being bombarded by those my students? Perhaps it is worthwhile to think about how much less time one might spend staying after school tutoring if quick questions could be answered in short online messages; or perhaps an online forum would allow some students to mentor others in their processes.
I don't know what the exact answer is going to be, but I definitely want to help craft it so that my students and I have some ownership over the solution.