When my friend Kirk wanted to win a writing contest, he sent out a Facebook message to everyone he knew. It annoyed some people, but he did end up winning the contest. Maybe he won just because he was the best writer, but advertising didn't hurt. My last day of school, I sent a message to former parents and students from the past several years. I am hoping for the best, but the possibility exists that my message will also annoy people. However, I guess it won't matter much at this point, and I believe that total silence while being laid off would be total acceptance that the bosses made the right decision.
I won't go through the whole email or how I was able to send it, but I just sent a message to all former students and parents that I was being laid off and that I would appreciate a testimonial about my work. I was surprised when one parent responded almost immediately that either my email account was hacked or what I was doing was inappropriate. I guess I'd figured that I'd worked for a district for a long time and that I could ask for some help in finding my next job.
Maybe I was wrong and I just needed to deal with being laid off without letting those I taught know about the situation. I guess I have a problem agreeing with the parent who said I should not contact former students or parents. Wouldn't most of you, facing lay off, contact those clients you'd worked for? I can see the argument that I should have been more specific -- the kid whose mom responded was a total jerk in my class-- but the fact is that teachers do not have giant lists of former clients to help them succeed when they go off on their own.
I guess my advice would be to make a list of those you've worked with that enjoyed working with you. If you lose your job, try to limit the messages to those you know will respond positively. I guess you might also have to accept the fact that some people will see you solicitation as inappropriate in some way. However, I guess I see firing a teacher with 12 years experience as more inappropriate that what that teacher might do to secure a new job, so I'm not going to lose sleep over a few parent complaints at this point.
Next day update: the district superintendent (who probably did not know my name until yesterday) emailed to say I was using district resources inappropriately. Besides the fact that the district used me inappropriately, I disagree based on the simple idea that I was updated contact info and not storing any emails. I let them know how I did it using a grading program and they said they wanted to contact all parents in order to apologize.
I guess it's another example of having to think like one of them if you're in the public eye. I guess if a politician or business ever got my email, I'd expect messages like the one I sent. I bet dozens of the people on the list were extatic to get store ads or coupons. However, a former employee wants to say goodbye and all hell breaks loose.