The teacher's email address

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Miss Bliss, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. Miss Bliss

    Miss Bliss Companion

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    Jul 15, 2007

    I will be teaching in a new school located in an affluent area next year. I was told that each teacher has an email address and the parents have access to it.

    Being the tech savy person that I am, one would think I would enjoy this idea. However, I forsee several potential problems. For example, a parent may email me at 7:30 AM, then when school starts at 8AM the parent approaching me and saying...Why haven't you responded to my email yet? Also, I think parents will contact me too much through this system because it is convenient for those who work in offices.

    How do you politely/professionally put limitations on your email system?
     
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  3. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Jul 15, 2007

    When I was a LTS I received an email account and gave it to the parents to use. Then, this past year when I had my own classroom, I didn't have a school email account, but I did give the parents my email address where I can be reached. I haven't had any problems at all. In my experience, most of the parents didn't contact me by email, but the handful that did didn't abuse it at all.
     
  4. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    That's never happened to me. The only time was when someone's e-mail was down and the person thought it was me not responding.
     
  5. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jul 15, 2007

    Actually, I love email. Way better than the phone for fairly cut and dried stuff. I think you do something like you do with the phone - make a generic statement that emails will be answered by the next business day or after *whatever* pm. Parents are reasonable - they are often pleasantly surprised when I get back to them within a couple of hours (my planning period).

    Good luck!
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I've never had a problem with parents abusing email. I have a school email account and a "school" account for home that I give parents.

    I try to have 24 hour turnaround on all parent emails.

    I had one parent call me at home once because I hadn't responded to her email from the previous week. My husband was livid and didn't let me talk to her, but I thought it was strangely amusing . . . the parent worked in my building, and I'd been out sick for over a month by the time she called. LOL
     
  7. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jul 15, 2007

    I, also work in an affluent area and the parents have my school email address. I have never had a problem with parents abusing the e-mail. In fact, I prefer to email parents rather than call them when I have a cut-and-dried issue, such as "Johnny didn't have his major project today. Is there something I should know about?" Sometimes parents ask me to email them weekly with updates on their children, and I explain that it would be impossible for me to remember to do this, but if they email on Thursday or Friday afternoon, I would be happy to respond to their specific questions. It works for me.
     
  8. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Jul 15, 2007

    All our teachers have emails, and they send a class email / check parent emails once a day at nap time. I have never heard a parent complaining about not hearing back soon enough. They realize we're there with the children, and that we do have outside lives.
     
  9. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jul 15, 2007

    i've never had an issue with it either. i have on the other hand had issues with my school emails being bounced from email providers such as yahoo and hotmail because those servers thought that our county was spamming. When we were just doing as we were required: sending out weekly automated progress reports to our students parents.
    Most parents are pretty tame on email. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 15, 2007

    I'm pretty certain all public school teachers in Kentucky have a school email address (firstname.lastname@county.kyschools.us). I absolutely love it; if the school didn't provide one I certainly would. I check the message several times each day and respond as soon as possible, usually within a couple hours. Phone calls at home? :eek: Emails at home? Sure! I think it is a great convenience, and parents have yet to take advantage of. If they have a question or concern, I want to hear it!
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I imagine that you'll have very few, if any, problems with email abuse. I'd do my best to always respond on my next available prep period, and most parents were delighted that I got back to them right away.

    For those parents who expect an immediate response, just politely let them know that you will always do your best to get back to them by the end of the next school day. It's irrational for them to think that you will or should just drop everything and send them an email, and I think most of them will realize that once you set guidelines.

    Most importantly, be sure that you do follow through with emails. Even if you don't have the answer right now, send a short note to let them know that you're checking on things and will be in touch with them by a certain date. I know some teachers at my school who don't respond in any sort of timely or predictable manner, and it's really hard to even know if they received your email.
     
  12. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Jul 15, 2007

    All schools in our district have email too. I LOVE it. If there is ever a problem it is handled quickly. I wouldn't have to wait until after work like I would with a phone call. I have never had a parent to abuse email.
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 15, 2007

    Several times this year the secretary put parent calls through to my room during instructional time, even though the handbook says that will not happen. To be honest, I wasn't very happy about that. I'm teaching class and then have a parent call who just wants to see if her son is feeling any better, or when exactly the open house is. The secretary even put through a salesperson one time! So, point is, I'd so much rather deal with emails than phone calls when emails work just as fine.
     
  14. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    Jul 15, 2007

    Just let parents know at the same time that you give them your email address what your policy is for returning messages. Ex: "My email is blahblah at blah.com and I check emails at the end of every school day." Or, "I check email twice a day." That way, they can't expect an immediate response.
     
  15. srh

    srh Devotee

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    The parents who emailed me routinely were also the parents who volunteered in the classroom. They KNEW why I couldn't always respond immediately. By the same token, they were always surprised and happy that I responded as quickly as I did--I treated emails as seriously as phone calls whenever possible. I check several times a day, since it is always up and running and I put in a l-o-n-g day!
     
  16. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2007

    I have found that I much prefer emails, too, over phone calls. I can't recall anyone expecting a reply sooner than I could manage it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
     
  17. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jul 15, 2007

    I do give parents my email address, but in the same paragraph, I ask them not to email me for urgent things, and to send a note in with their child or call the school office instead. I tell them that I check my email periodicially depending on our schedule, but am not available to check it on a constant basis, so important messages may be missed. Then I tell them that I will check it at least once a day, usually at lunchtime.

    This happened to our Kdg teacher this year: a parent sent her an email at 2 PM telling her to keep Johnny off of the bus because she was coming to get him instead. Of course, the teacher didn't have time to check her email before 3:30 dismissal, and the kid went on the bus. Mom arrived 5 minutes later. She tore off down the street, but the bus beat her there. No one was home, and the kid was brought back to school...but not until the rest of the run was completed, 35 minutes later. Mom is waiting at the bus stop, hysterical because now they've missed an appt. of some sort, and she's not even sure where her kid is. That mom was really upset with the teacher, and with the school, for the rest of the year.
    Kim
     
  18. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I teach in a low-income area and it's not very frequent that the parents send me e-mails. But, I did let them know that "time-sensitive" information should not be delivered via e-mail. This would be dismissal (bus/walk/pick up), being sick that day, something to be sent home with the student that day, etc. They are welcome to write to me at any time but know that we are not allowed to access our e-mail while there are students in the classroom. I respond to all of my e-mails before school, after school, or during lunch.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2007

    When you give parents your email address let them know that you generally check before school and during preps but that this can change due to meetings and other administrative tasks. You should check your email at least before you go home each day and assure parents that you will get back to them as soon as possible.
     
  20. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2007

    In your note to parents or syllabus, indicate that emails will be returned within 24 hours from the time read.


     
  21. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Jul 16, 2007

    We all have e-mails and the addresses are publicly posted on our web site. I have many parents who use e-mail to contact me, but it has never been a problem. There is a statement on the web site that tells parents that we have 2 business days to respond to all e-mail and phone calls. This is also in the handbook, told to them at back to school by my principal and by me, and I have it in my newsletter each week.
    I prefer e-mail for somethings because that way you never have to play phone tag and you have documentation if needed.
     
  22. Miss_snugs

    Miss_snugs Rookie

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    School does not give us an email address so I do not give one out. I think if you set guidelines - emails will be answered within 24 hours, please send notes or call if something needs immediate attention (like transportation home or something like that) then you will be fine.
     
  23. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    We have them too...and it is nice for small messages that are cut and dry...much quicker than making a phone call!
    I tell my parents that I make all efforts to check my e-mail at least once a day and to return all messages w/in 24 hrs. I also tell them that if they dont not hear back from me it is probably due to some tech. problem and to just call the school or jot a note and put it in the kids folder (the good 'ol fashion way!)
     
  24. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Oh and I also tell the parents....DO NOT e-mail me if the message is time sensative (ie....jon is being picked up, do not put him on the bus) b/c I probably won't get the message!
     
  25. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 16, 2007

    If you can edit the signature part of your email, you may want to come up with a couple of sentences that briefly state you policy there. That way it's attached to every email.
     
  26. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    At the beginning of the year, I let my parents know that all emails/phone calls/notes will be responded to within 24 hours. This lets them know that I will get to them as soon as I can, but it may not be immediately, especially when email is such a quick form of communication. Nine times out of ten, they hear from me on my prep or right after school.

    As I monitor students, I also quickly glance at my monitor to make sure that no "time sensitive" emails have come through that I need to be aware of. I never get a chance to sit and read through emails while the students are in class.
     
  27. moonbeamsinajar

    moonbeamsinajar Habitué

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    My daughter will be a senior in the fall. The school district she is in has e-mail addresses for each teacher. I have sent her teachers messages, but only when I wanted to say something nice about what was happening in class, or when I really appreciated something. I have never sent anything other than that. If I had an issue, I would rather talk on the phone or in person, rather than by e mail, since you cannot "read" body language, or tone by computer.
     
  28. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    I put my email address on my weekly newsletter. You'd be surprised at how few parents do email (at least that's the experience that I have had). Also, I wouldn't worry about if they ask why you haven 't responded in the morning (from your example). They should know that you are busy and that your job is to teach, not check you email every 20 minutes. Check it during your planning time, recess, or lunch. OR let the parents know that you will do your best to get back as soon as possible but that it may be at the end of the day before you are able to get back to them. Tell them this at open house. We can only do so much. They cannot expect miracles or immediate emails.
     
  29. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    Like previous posters, I like having school e-mail available for parents. I haven't had many parents e-mail, but I do like it better than phone calls. If I didn't have a school e-mail I would've opened another account just for school things. I also have a classroom website for parents and students.
     
  30. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I caught that right away with this summer school teacher. her emails didn't even have a subject!

    From the first day, she never answered a question with a straight answer. I look back, and realize she did the exact same thing with my emails!
     
  31. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    As a grad student, I learned computers are definitely ruling the world! The university communicates to students almost exclusively via email! The instructors will contact students before class begins via email. We are told that if we ever try to contact an instructor using our regular email, the instructor will not respond. This is to protect us both, so they say!

    Email protocol, is something that needs to be respected. Set the tone, and stick to school guidelines and personal comfort as well. If you respond to one parent at 10:00 p.m., don't be upset when they start sending you messages every other night at 9:45 p.m., and call you the next day when you don't respond!

    From a college student's point of view, I learned to use BlackBoard, and love the fact that I can attach papers, and send them out! I would not recommend this for elementary students. Maybe high schoolers, but that is a policy you must discuss in school. You may have habitual procrastinators, whose parents swear their kid just finished the work. Yes, we know the parents did the work!!! And beep, just like that...it's sitting in your inbox. How will you handle that?? Gee, you are using up your ink to print their term papers??

    Just keep in mind, anything you send along school website will and can be used against you. Therefore, stay professional...I know you will. But resist the urge to USE ALL CAPS, and don't be sarcastic! Somebody will catch on...and next thing you know, you will be called into the office the next morning!

    good luck. Emails are just electronic memos. Treat them as such, and you will be fine.

    edited to add: And...please don't forget to spell check. Nothing a parent loves more than to catch us making typos!!!
     
  32. lowiq

    lowiq Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2007

    Email abuse does occur. I had two parents of two dif.children who came to visit me at school. They seemed angry with me. Subsequently they emailed me. When I suggested times we could meet with the counselor, there were always excuses....they were to busy at work or whatever.
    One would constantly pick apart every little thing I did concerning her son. I answered every msg. she sent. I was always nice. Once I did tell her that the answer would take some time - then I spent four hours at school over Thanksgiving vacation to answer that concern.
    The other parent wanted to know how I was treating her daughter differently than other students. She explained how her daughter was different. Her emails got way out of hand. She would send msgs that were crossed out (using word attachments - you can cross out), and her msgs seemed like a crazy person trying to show rudeness. Of course I saved all of these msgs as documentation.
    Finally I had a student who was pretending to be a parent emailing me. This was discovered by a teacher or some staff member. For the longest time I thought it was the parent.
     
  33. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Jul 25, 2007

    All of our grades are available online, and I link my school email to it. I honestly have only gotten three emails from parents.

    Just use the email rules of etiquette. 24 hour weekday turn around time, SPELL CHECK, sensitive issues in person
     
  34. ValinFW

    ValinFW Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2007

    One thing I do like about email is that a paper trail is automatically created. The documentation takes care of itself. That said, you definitely need to be careful about what you write. Read and reread before clicking send. Sometimes my neighbor and I proofread for each other before sending a message on to its intended recipient.
     
  35. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sorry this is so long...

    I am actually looking forward to using email as one of my tools for parental communication. It will not be the only tool, just one of them. Having worked for a computer company, I learned a few lessons about professional email usage.

    1. Never say anything in an email that you can't back up or that you wouldn't say in front of your principal (boss).

    2. Because the tone of typed text is generally perceived to be more negative than positive, make a conscious effort to write your email with a positive or friendly tone.

    3. While you should definitely keep the email professional, it can often be beneficial if you use "friendly" fonts or font colors.

    4. I would hesitate to send pictures via email because you never know who is on dial-up or broad-band, or who is using the library computer.

    5. Depending upon what program (if any) you are using for your email (I like Microsoft Outlook), there may be the option to either create a signature, in which you state your email rules such as reply time periods, etc., or an automatic reply that "bounces back" to the person emailing you, with a predetermined message. You can use the autoreply to remind parents of your email rules, etc.

    6. I don't know how many of you use Incredimail, Outlook, or Outlook Express, but all of these have the capability of using "stationery," which is often beautiful or cute, and that many people love. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that many people get their email online (web-based mail), and if certain color fonts are used (that look gorgeous when you create the email), they can't read them at all! I loved Incredimail, but had to quit using it because I could never tell whether the receiver could read my messages before I sent them (the format, etc.)

    Stepping off the soapbox now...
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2007
  36. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jul 25, 2007

    you know PW...we do have an icon for soap boxes now!

    I didn't think you needed it...
     
  37. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Thanks, Master pre-K!
     
  38. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I think you are pretty in purple
     
  39. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Aww, now you've got me blushing!:blush: :eek:
     

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