How to appropriately respond to a student e-mail?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DKM, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. DKM

    DKM Rookie

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    I was in contact with parents and managed to form great relationships with some of them and their children. I used one of them as a reference when I looked for another teaching job in a different state.

    I e-mailed two parents with my professional e-mail I use at home. One of the students got a hold of that email and sent me this letter:

    "You totally win best English teacher!

    My English teacher this year is so strict, way beyond what's necessary. She isn't mean, but she is definitely my least favorite teacher. So how're things with you? I'm still excited from Doctor Who season 7 premiere, "Asylum of the Daleks", which I thought was pretty good.

    Your faithful student, ****"


    I taught eighth grade. I had a GREAT relationship with this student. However, he wrote to me without mom's e-mail attached. My last school (where I knew the student) teacher who was accused of having inappropriate contact with a different student and it has made me incredibly wary of how I confine with them.

    I do want to write back to this student, but it would be on an unmonitored e-mail and want to be very careful.

    How can I go about this? Should I write back to him? Should I include mom in the e-mail?
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I'd email back, rave about how awesome the season premiere of Doctor Who was, and CC the mom.
     
  4. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    If you chose to write back, definitely include mom in the e-mail.

    My students have my email address. Sometimes they email me with questions they have. When I reply to them, I always BCC myself so that I have the whole exchange, in order. They all get saved in their own separate folder.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    'Have a great year'. Cc mom and let it go. I wouldn't respond to any further emails.
     
  6. DKM

    DKM Rookie

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    Thought I had mom's e-mail... but it appears that I no longer do. :(
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Would someone else at school have it? Is there a younger sibling?

    If not, I would simply drop it without a response.
     
  8. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    If you send a response, can you do it through the school email system so it seems more "official"? I don't see anything wrong with sending a short good luck email, but I wouldn't do it from a personal email address.
     
  9. DKM

    DKM Rookie

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    I quit the school system (hence how only trusted parents got it). Guess I'm gonna have to drop this one... what a shame :(
     
  10. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I wouldn't communicate outside the school e-mail system. If the lawyers for your district find out they will not be pleased.
     
  11. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Maybe I'm being naive, but I really don't see what the big deal is with just responding to the student. You did say this is a former student, right?

    I've had a couple former students email me with something similar - saying hi and thanking me for being such a great math teacher and preparing them for high school. I always responded and never CCd their parents, or even thought about doing that.
     
  12. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    I only communicate via official email with both current and former students. That way everything is archived.
     
  13. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Personally, I would respond. Just print the email.
     
  14. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    Yeah, I don't see the big deal either. I would respond and probably wouldn't CC mom on it.

    You can't get caught for doing something inappropriate if you aren't. Responding to that email with a short update and response about the show....I don't know. I don't see the big deal.

    I keep in touch with one of my kids from last year who is a freshman in high school.
     
  15. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    I think it's probably pretty sweet and well-intentioned. A quick "I am well. Good to hear from you." would be fine
     
  16. DKM

    DKM Rookie

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    I communicated the parent and somehow the student got a hold of my e-mail. I know it's weird that I no longer have the parent's e-mail and that is because I cleaned my address box over the summer and did not think I would be contacted later on. :) Unfortunately, I could not contact with an official e-mail when I lost my teaching job last school year (they delete accounts when teachers leave the system).

    Thanks though.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, goodness gracious! Just hit "respond" and wish him a great year. :)
     
  18. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    ... as long as you haven't been explicitly told not to respond. I think my policy is to CC admin, and keep it limited. It's tough... :(
     
  19. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    While you can't get caught if you're not doing it, people can get the wrong idea. Personally I don't have a problem e-mailing former students, but given that the OP is from a school where there was an inappropriate relationship incident in the past, people get put on high alert. We had the same thing at the HS where I work and I'm always extra careful too.
     
  20. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I'm with you. I detest all these " God forbid we treat each other like human beings" attitudes. We have somehow let the small minority of
    morons and pervs ruin it for all of us. I refuse. If a former student contacts me in some way, I reply just as if we were talking face to face. @&#@# the lawyers.
     
  21. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Here is what I don't get. Supposed a teacher is accused of something inappropriate with a student. It's discovered that the teacher and the student exchanged emails, interacted on Facebook etc.

    Every one of those emails, posts, messages, become evidence and are examined by those charged to investigate the accusation.

    The only thing is that the content of those emails, posts, and messages contain nothing that would indicate an inappropriate relationship. They are precisely what a teacher would be expected to say to a student in person or write as comments on an assignment.

    Wouldn't this electronic fingerprint actually serve to exonerate the teacher rather than implicate them?
     
  22. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Actually, that is safer than face to face conversations. They could say anything about that but these are what they are in black and white. I guess I should be more paranoid but life is too short to be looking over your shoulder all the time.
     
  23. teresateaches

    teresateaches Companion

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    I agree. I quick hello and a conversation about a TV series. I don't see the harm and I would prefer it be via email, official or not, because at least I have a "paper" record of the conversation.
     

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