Are emails ok to send as "parent notes"?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by woobie5, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. woobie5

    woobie5 Comrade

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I would like to communicate with some of my parents but don't have time for phone calls (first year teacher) is it too impersonal and unproffessional to send an email?
     
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  3. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

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    Email is great! I do it with the parents that have an email address and they appreciate it, especially if they are at work. If it was something more serious I would suggest a face to face meeting or at least a phone call.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Have you started school yet? I do find that making one phone call home to a parent of each of my kids is a proactive step...I've been doing it for years- Within the first 2 weeks of school, I call each home to 'welcome' them to grade 2, tell them their kid is off to a great start and I'm so glad their kid is in my class- goes a LONG way...you CAN find time for this, and it is time well spent.

    It is not unprofessional at all to email parents-but try the above as well.
     
  5. kacieann

    kacieann Companion

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    I normally use e-mail after I have spoke to parents. I feel as though parents want to hear your voice first.
     
  6. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Basic info is fine for email, but if its a touchy topic I would make the phone calls. I am very tech-y so I like to do email, text, and website info. Sometimes though, a phone call is needed. I'm 6th grade (elem) so parents are ok with less phone calls.
     
  7. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I agree with the above. If the subject is sensitive or may lead to future problems, protect yourself by printing them out and putting them in a file. Be careful with how you word things - without hearing a person's voice, sometimes we misinterpret things. My principal is bad about this - she is always thinking I am sarcastic when I'm not (usually) so now it is face-to-face or phone calls to her!
     
  8. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    I think for most things email is fine, but make sure if something is really important that you take the time to call parents. It shows you really care and are dedicated to working with parents.

    At my school, we had a teacher who had long conversations over email. She didn't want to call because she was more comfortable through email. These conversations were long, drawn out and didn't ever accomplish anything. I think calling makes the conversation quicker and will help problems get solved faster! Make time to make calls when needed.

    I also agree with czacza. Call in the beginning of the year. I want to make it a point to do that, and call the parents of EACH child a few times throughout the year to tell them something positive about their childs progress.
     
  9. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    I was a first-year teacher last year. While I agree you will be busy, you should never be to busy to make "sunshine calls" at the beginning of the year and, as another poster mentioned, calls during the year just to touch base with parents.

    Crazy as it may sound, not all parents will have access to a computer or e-mail. Seriously.

    And, as yet another poster mentioned, it is very hard at times to communicate via e-mail, especially about touchy subjects.
     
  10. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I use email most of the time. My old principal said if things are getting sticky a phone call makes it too easy for the parent to twist your words and it becomes a he said/she said issue. She said to only respond in writing/email and to ask the parents to do the same. I do like to make positive phone calls at the beginning of the year and periodically during the year.
     
  11. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Parents and I don't discuss touchy subjects, but I am completely fine with receiving e-mails.
     
  12. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    When I said "sticky", I mean issues where a parent is accusing you of something(i.e. an unfair punishment) or demanding that you do something (like re-give their child a test). I just realized that my statement was unclear.
     
  13. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I actually tell my parents that I prefer notes or emails as the best forms of communication- I have a 45 minute commute and traffic can get hairy in the morning, so I prefer that they email me. However, I don't hesitate to call if necessary.

    Also, on back to school night, I give parents a form that asks how they prefer to be contacted- phone or email- and it gives them places to leave their info. Then I input all of the emails into my email contact list:)
     
  14. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I always try to make a sunshine (positive) call at the beginning of school too. It is even more special in kindergarten for parents to hear that Johnny has adjusted well and made friends and that Tanya is always happy to help out when the kids haven't had any formal schooling before. In general, e-mail is much easier to respond to for short, simple messages, However, if it is a behavior issue or an academic concern, I would go with a phone call. If it is truly sensitive, I would have a conference in person.
     
  15. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I agree...email is one way to communicate with parents. However, remember, every thing you send in an email is official school documentation. Most districts I know of keep emails up to three to five years. Yes, even after you delete them, the district has evidence of them on their server. Try hard to make as much personal communication as you can be it in person or on the phone. It will help you feel more comfortable and confident and parents will get to know you as one willing to communicate using various avenues.
     
  16. Mrs.Z.

    Mrs.Z. Companion

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    Since I sound like a 12 year old on the phone, I let parents know I am a big emailer. I ask them to communicate with me this way if they would like a quick response. I like to have a few minutes to think about my responses before I respond to an issue, and this gives me the chance to do so. I have had a few that don't email, and that's OK. I'll send them notes. Also, I like to call in the firsdt few weeks to open the lines of communication so to speak.
     
  17. MissNikki

    MissNikki Comrade

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    I think it really depends on the culture of your school district. In mine, we use email for absolutely everything so this is a very good option. I do the majority of my parent communication via email. It also allows me to better document and print out information from our discussions.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 30, 2009

    My school requires that we send a letter home a week or two before school starts and that we call home within the first week or two of school starting. We then must have a contact with the parents at least once a month, unless they are getting a report card that month.

    Most parents are perfectly fine with emails-- you just have to be careful and find out how often a parent has access to a computer. Very serious situations--- such as you know the kid is failing a subject, has gotten into a fight, etc--- should be done over the phone.

    Most schools require that you stay after for about 15-30 minutes once the students leave to work on things. That's usually when I found time to make a phone call.

    I would also recommend that you NEVER call from home--- since this is work related, you should only use the school phone (you don't want parents having your personal phone number).
     
  19. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    I love email. I can type something up and hit send if I forget to put a note in the backpack. :)
     
  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jul 31, 2009

    This is going to sound bad, but calling at the beginning of the school is sometimes the only time I will be able to talk to a parent on the phone. The phone numbers listed on the information card usually work then, but may not work a week or so after school starts. Some families never do have a working number so make sure you send something in the mail to those families.

    I had some families that never answered the phones. While I am not sure of the reason for all of those families, some of the kids said they didn't answer the phone because of bill collectors calling.
     
  21. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    I personally think that you need to make time to make phone calls. No teacher can be too busy to talk to the parents of the children in their class. I think making the time to do that, call parents - especially when they call you or ask you to call them, is really an important part of being a good effective teacher.

    However, there are plenty of other times that an email is totally appropriate and timely. I email my kids parents all the time, but I also do make phone calls.
     

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