I have recently set up classes with email addresses for the purposes of students being able to make contact with outside agencies where necessary for their PBL projects. A couple of students have started to email me. Today I received an email from a child who is off sick today. They just said hello. So I replied hello in return. They then started up a conversation asking if I had any fireworks last night and then I wished him well in getting better and that I would see him next week. Now, the reason I am posting about this is that I would like to sound professional minds out about whether or not this is crossing any lines? I want to keep lines of communication open with my students, but does casual conversation come under that? I want my students to feel comfortable enough with me to be able to communicate freely, but does phatic communion and personal conversation go beyond what a student/teacher relationship should entail? If I saw them on the street, outside of school, I would most likely have a similar conversation.
Please contribute your thoughts on this matter!