Do you respond to parent emails over break?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TrademarkTer, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Feb 18, 2018

    We are on break until Thursday.

    Yesterday evening I received an email from a parent who emails me very frequently, and is rather needy (and sometimes a little rude). The email was basically a nothing-burger email just asking me how her daughter was doing in my class (she knows very well how her daughter is doing---I post the grades online the same day they take the assessment so no one has to wait around for feedback from me....ever.)

    I am very Type A about responding to emails almost immediately as I know it annoys me when people take forever to respond/don't respond, but I am debating if I should respond to this email now, or wait until Thursday when I am back in school. Part of me wants to wait out of principle since it is break (and I don't want to encourage more emails from this parent), but it also kills me on the inside waiting LOL.

    Do you ever respond to emails over break?
     
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  3. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I don't. I am someone who works a ton beyond working hours but I don't want parents to think I am reachable 24/7 so even if I write the email during a break, I only send/ reply to emails during regular working hours. With a parent like this I might consider adding an auto-reply/out of the office to my email when I go in on Monday for the future - saying I only reply during working hours.

    In 15ish years, I've broken this rule once. I had a student email in a panic about an assignment and knew the impact not replying would have on the student/family so I replied and said - how lucky you are, I never check my email on the weekend but just happened to today so this one time I can reply to your email - here's my reply. I won't be back online before Monday. See you at school.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I sometimes respond to emails outside of working hours - but it depends who the email is from and what the purpose of the email is. With a parent like the one you described, I'd wait it out.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I would pretend it is on my work computer, that I haven't accessed during the break, and then answer after break without any apology as to why it wasn't an immediate reply. If you think about it, an apology for something that is scheduled, such as the break, makes the parent appear idiotic. They may be, but it is poor manners to point it out. ;)
     
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  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Feb 18, 2018

    Fix a auto-reply...
    "I hope you are having a wonderful break like I am. I will return emails in a timely manner once I'm back at school. If this is a real emergency, hang up and dial 9-1-1." OK... not the 9-1-1 part. ;)
     
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  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    It depends on the parent. Most don't email or anything. If it was a needy parent, I would definitely wait.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2018

    As a general rule, no, but I do make exceptions depending on the situation.
     
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  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2018

    Nope.
     
  10. JimG

    JimG Companion

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    Feb 18, 2018

    Simple fix: don’t check your work email while away from work.
     
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2018

    Also a general rule of no, though I could imagine exceptions.
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2018

    No, I don't respond to parent emails over break. The only reason I check my work mail during break is because I have my grad school emails forwarded to my work email. Those breaks don't line up.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I'm in my 8th year of teaching and I've finally wised up enough to just not check email over breaks. I will typically check the night before we go back, just because I don't like surprises, but I don't check during the rest of the break or during weekends anymore.

    Previously, I would find myself checking just to "make sure there's nothing important there." Well, that only works as an anxiety relieving tactic if there actually is nothing there! Then, like you I'd feel the need to respond right away or it would bother me. It's really better to just not check in the first place.

    I wouldn't respond to the parent, because then you're setting yourself up for being on call 24/7 in the future. I also agree with the suggestion to put an automated out of office reply on your email for future breaks.
     
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  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I see no problem answering work emails over my break. I actually enjoy responding to people who contact me!
     
  15. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I read emails over break, but very rarely reply to them. For example, this week I sent 2 emails to all parents that we would have school Mon. I told the students several times (middle schoolers) I reminded them on Fri. A parent texted me to ask if there is school Mon. I did not reply.
     
  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Bwahahahahaha!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  17. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I find that responding to emails while not in school just adds to the neediness of the parents. I seem to have to train the parents and the students each year to accept responsibility and not depend upon the teacher to solve all their problems.
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    This is a very valid point. However, I LOVE interacting with parents — I find it very enjoyable. Maybe I’m weird, but I love answering parent and staff emails.
     
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  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2018

    Nope
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I can appreciate this comment. I also enjoy communicating with parents, which is why I have a job keeping the same student for several years. I do enjoy the relationships we develop over the years.
    However, a pet peeve of mine is not accepting people (students or parents) who expect me to be their personal secretary. When my own children were young, we had a wall calendar in the kitchen. All important school dates and notes were placed on the calendar. I had no excuse to not knowing what was going on and neither should my parents now.
     
  21. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Feb 18, 2018

    I check my email several times during a break. But I also use classdojo so parents can text me anytime. I pride myself in the fact that I have great communication with my parents. Although this can backfire. Case in point. This very weekend. I took Friday off to attend a family get together out of town. As my husband and I sat down to dinner I decided just to check my dojo messages (I have the notifications off) Normally there is nothing there, but I got a new little one a few weeks ago and the class is just different animal since then Anyway to make a long story short I spent about 20 minutes texting two sets of parents trying to calm them down. This is a very very rare incident. Sometimes being this easy to contact does take time away from family.
    p.s. i know i could have put down the phone but it was a pretty serious situation that I felt needed to be taken care of.
     
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