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If you taught before the time of email...
Old 06-19-2022, 06:22 PM
  #1

Was it better or worse? Admittedly this is stolen from a teacher FB group I'm in (in this particular one, I only lurk ). I was interested in some of the responses.

I have thought before about how absolutely freeing it must have been to leave the building and know that nobody has any way to contact you until you step foot in the building again. I know one can always choose not to check email at home, but IMO choosing not to look at it isn't the same as knowing people actually aren't contacting you.

A lot of the people were saying it was actually worse because there were so many meetings/no other way to communicate information. Or tons of paper wasted putting "memos" in physical mailboxes. Plus playing phone tag with parents and such rather than being able to just send an email.

So, what do you think?


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Old 06-19-2022, 06:29 PM
  #2

I like getting things taken care of right away and I hate talking on the phone. I love the immediacy and brevity of email/text.
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Old 06-19-2022, 06:29 PM
  #3

I like email. I much prefer to have it documented in an email rather than the parent leaving a message through the office for me to call her, and then taking 30 min. to get off the phone with her because she wants to tell me her life history. I don't have that much time with 30 other students.

Honestly, it doesn't bother me to check emails at home. I answer them if I want, but at least it gives me time to think about it if it something I need to process first.
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Old 06-19-2022, 06:54 PM
  #4

I also like email. It's much easier to get the same message to a large number of people quickly and I like having things in writing that I can refer back to. I suppose overall I've been fairly lucky in being contacted out of work hours, it's never been tot he point that it bothered me.
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Old 06-19-2022, 07:19 PM
  #5

While I like email for the above reasons, I do think that 15 years ago it was not expected that a person check their email during their off hours. That is true nor only for teachers but for many other careers, too. With the acceptance of email (and now texts) or personal time and it professional time has become the same. Parents of our students have the same problem.

Americans need to start taking control of our personal lives by saying no to these expectations but until all workers have some sort of protections like unions, it will not work. Right not too many people would lose their jobs if they don’t give their personal lives over to professions.


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Old 06-19-2022, 07:40 PM
  #6

Although email was around when I started teaching, it definitely was not the usual form of communication. I remember having to go check my box every morning and afternoon just in case there was important information. I also agree that there were more, or longer, meetings because of it. As for parent communication, I definitely prefer email but agree that we need to set expectations that it will only be responded to during school hours.
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Old 06-19-2022, 07:46 PM
  #7

I loved it when email became common because I rarely had to make phone calls! It was also so much easier to shoot out a weekly email than to write newsletters.

I really missed it when people stopped checking their email. Parents wanted me to text them, which meant giving them my personal phone number. NOPE!

I have never felt responsible to check work emails at home. I only did it if I wanted to, which was very rarely!
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Old 06-19-2022, 08:09 PM
  #8

I liked it for ease of communication.
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Old 06-19-2022, 08:11 PM
  #9

I text far more than using email. Its quick and to the point which is exactly what I like. Hubs is a talker so sometimes he says, “why don't you call and have a real conversation”. No..I don't need a bull#### session.
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When I 1st started teaching, email did not
Old 06-20-2022, 01:12 AM
  #10

exist. I think it made teaching a lot harder.
By the time I retired, we were getting massive emails sent to us from different people. Often the emails were requiring we do extra work. I don't think anyone knew or cared how much extra work other people had sent us.
My last P forwarded tons of emails to teachers from central office. Many were requirements, mandates, and paperwork with no explanation.
Often it was his job to organize it, but a group of us didn't have much choice. We pretty much did his job many times.
Also, by the time I retired, everyone assumed that you checked email while you were teaching. I was used to checking it before and after school, as well as during prep time.
I remember a few times people being a bit annoyed that I had not answered their emails asap. I never got used to stop teaching when I heard the ding notification!
Email was good for documentation and finding someone to cover my class, so I could take a quick break if needed.


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Old 06-20-2022, 03:00 AM
  #11

I’m going to date myself here. No email, no class phones when I started teaching.
I liked email because you had clear documentation of what you sent/said. However, I felt that it generated lots of unnecessary communication. Parents emailing about every little thing, Johnny got pushed on the playground, why did Kelly get a C on her test, Matt’s feelings were hurt when Susie said…
When they had to call the school office and leave a message and wait around for me to call back they usually decided it wasn’t necessary.
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Old 06-20-2022, 03:12 AM
  #12

I preferred email since it could be done throughout the day when I had time. I preferred not making phone calls like the early days. I learned to not check it after hours or weekends.
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Old 06-20-2022, 03:14 AM
  #13

I started teaching after the invention of email. I like email because of its ease of use, ability to contact many people with one message, ability to document, and flexibility of choosing when I read or send email. I wish more parents would use email, now they want me to text them or use social media. I have never text a parent with my personal phone, nor will I ever do that in the future.

Parents want us to use social media for communication and I very rarely get an email from a parent. Our principal wants us to use TEAMS as our staff communication because we can put the app on our phones and send/receive messages easier. (Easier for whom? I will be 100% connected to work if I have a work message app on my PERSONAL phone. No way is that happening. ) It was never explained to us, nor can I figure out why TEAMS would be easier than email. I think having multiple accounts to check would be a nightmare, we all have school issued email addresses, lets use them, and those that want to put it on their personal phone can easily do that. I feel pressured to start a classroom Facebook page for parents which I will not do since I do not use Facebook and we don't have access to it on our school computers, so again I would need to use my personal phone. I miss the simple days of email that could only be accessed at school on school issued computers, not multiple messaging platforms that all need to be monitored frequently.

Last edited by all41; 06-20-2022 at 11:48 AM..
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Old 06-20-2022, 03:17 AM
  #14

I taught in a small enough community that I could never count on being free of school matters when I left the building. More than once I had parents trying to initiate a parent-teacher conference in the grocery store or gas station. For me, it was freeing to be able to say "You know, I have to be somewhere in 15 minutes. Could you please send me an e-mail about this?" And I agree: email makes it possible to have a written record of what was said. If a conflict is significant enough to be brought to administration, there's none of this "She never told me that" nonsense.

In theory, email should have made communication among staff members much easier. When I started teaching, if I wanted to confer with a middle school teacher, for instance, I had to hike to the other end of the building to their classroom because we didn't have phones, either. In practice, an awful lot of people won't read more than about two sentences. If you can't get all your information into two sentences, you'd better go talk to them in person, anyway.

And yes, this year our P started pressuring us to keep an eye on chat in Google hangouts. He had absolutely no explanation for why this was better than checking email regularly and, to my knowledge, he never communicated that way. It was just one of the nonsensical directives handed out that went nowhere. In a music classroom, I was lucky if I could hear the phone ring much less notifications coming in.

I, too, was a big NOPE when it came to giving out my personal cell phone number to parents so they could pester me at any time of the day or night.
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Definitely better without it…
Old 06-20-2022, 03:20 AM
  #15

While the immediacy of email allows things communicated quickly and efficiently, I hated being “on call” constantly. I had a principal who was the queen of the e-mails. Even in the summer, there was always something. You could ignore them to a point, but many times, there were things she emailed about the fall that would be easier to get a jump start on.

Parents also took advantage of emailing. Some of them couldn’t comprehend that you were teaching and could not respond right away.
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Email just a hassle
Old 06-20-2022, 04:56 AM
  #16

I too started teaching before phones in rooms and emails for communication. I loved it! Parents would have to call the office to leave a message for me. A message notice was placed in my mailbox and I could only check it twice a day. It was liberating.

Many parents simply wrote me notes, and I responded. I often responded with a phone call after school, on MY time. It worked well.

Nowadays it feels like parents and others not only use email to harrass teachers but also to say things that they would never say face-to-face. They hide behind a computer!

I'm now retired but have not-so-fond memories of constant emails from some parents (5 or 6 a day!), constant emails from the principal after hours (really?), and never-ending emails that could have been a simple conversation ("Do you have Johnny's math folder? Yes, I do."). My dang computer in the classroom made a pinging sound which could not be disabled when an email dropped. Pinging all day long.

The reverse of that was sending an email to someone else that was important and needed an answer. Days going by before that person ever answered, and these were fellow staff members.

I was a reading coach for a few years and would receive about a hundred emails every day. I used to dread going into my office each morning.

If you've never taught without email it was a kinder, gentler time.
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Old 06-20-2022, 05:18 AM
  #17

I started teaching in the no email/cell phone/ internet era. We survived. All these things do make life more convenient. I don’t have email notifications on my phone. I check it when I feel like it. In a few years there will be more technology to help all of us.
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Old 06-20-2022, 06:07 AM
  #18

It’s been around since I started to teaching, so I can’t really compare. Still, I like that I can get a heads up about upcoming deadlines, meetings, trainings ASAP so I can plan accordingly. My work email is 99% internal communication (from school and district) since we have ClassDojo to communicate with parents, so I rarely have to email them. With ClassDojo I set contact hours and I’ve never had a parent take advantage of it, so it works.
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Old 06-20-2022, 06:28 AM
  #19

I too started teaching before computers and email. Lots of paper memos in the old days so I prefer email for the similar reasons others mentioned. I am one who rarely checked email at home after hours or on the weekends. Now, if a colleague texted and said you need to check email, I would. I refused to have work email on my phone.

I was not at parents beck and call. I still go by the 24 hr. rule--I have 24 hrs to reply. I used dojo and against by better judgement sometimes I would check if I had a notification. Majority of the time it was a quick reply so no harm done.

I did tell my student teacher that this job is now becoming a year round, "24 hr" job, sadly so one has to set boundaries.
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Old 06-20-2022, 06:57 AM
  #20

Your post brought back memories of the Principal's Update, which was a typed and copied memo in our mailboxes each week.

Nostalgia aside, I much prefer email for communication.

For parent communication, I prefer a communication app like Remind.

And I choose my hours. If I want to respond on the weekend, I do, but I don't feel obligated.
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Old 06-20-2022, 07:34 AM
  #21

Oh yes, the weekly bulletin and various notices in our mailboxes. Email made communication so much easier and efficient.

And yet, so many faculty and staff still found a way (excuse) to ignore them.
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Old 06-20-2022, 07:44 AM
  #22

Geez. I still remember making carbon copies.

Email is a much more convenient way of communicating with admin and colleagues. But I also think it has contributed to a less “human” component to teaching.

I never/rarely used email to communicate with parents about a student. We were advised not to by our union. Phone calls and in person only. I used REMIND to share pictures and events and schedules.

And it definitely saves on paper.
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Old 06-20-2022, 08:43 AM
  #23

Email made much more work to keep track of. Paper in my box took more work to produce for the sender so I remember fewer tasks. Throughout my career I always felt that thorough parent communication was important so I shared my phone number. That was pre-cell phone days so if they called it always went to an answering machine. Parents were told calls would be answered within 48 hours and I never had problems with this protocol.
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slightly off topic
Old 06-20-2022, 02:00 PM
  #24

Our principal sent an email to a few of us after school end for the summer. I was kind of in awe of the teacher who actually had her "away" message on. Good for her!
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Old 06-20-2022, 05:34 PM
  #25

Quote:
I was kind of in awe of the teacher who actually had her "away" message on. Good for her!
The downside to that happened at our school. A teacher went on 12 weeks of maternity leave and had that same message set for emails. She was still out when her contract went through an email. I called her to let her know, but if I hadn't she wouldn't have signed her contract and lost her job.

I guess the great thing about emails is that you can read them when you want, unlike phone calls.
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Old 06-21-2022, 05:33 PM
  #26

My first year teaching, they were just starting to insist everyone use their email accounts. That year we were still handwriting IEPs- that REALLY sucked, we were living in the computer age, but handwriting IEPs and had to carbon copy them.

There was way less parent contact, I had a smart phone before I had a classroom phone. So overall everyone was less accessible. I’m not sure that was a bad thing, but I’m so thankful for computers, google drive, etc….I’m not sure how I survived in those dark ages.

Sometime during my first 5 years teaching, I actually had a string from my classroom attached to a bell in another teachers classroom so I could let her know if I needed help. I had the severe behavior kiddos, and they put me in the most isolated classroom we had with no phone and the intercom system didn’t work. I had no way to call for help. …..now thinking back, I wonder if they were trying to drive me away �� (it didn’t work)
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:28 PM
  #27

Quote:
That year we were still handwriting IEPs- that REALLY sucked, we were living in the computer age, but handwriting IEPs and had to carbon copy them.
I am VERY glad I missed this era. A former AP used to be in sped and she would talk about having to handwrite write IEPs on triplicate forms. The sheer amount of work that must have been- and what happens if you need to make a change?? That's horrible to even think about! I very likely would not have stuck wtih sped if I were having to handwrite IEPs.

I know "they" are saying typing is going to be an obsolete skill and some schools aren't even teaching it anymore. I just can't fathom what that's going to look like. Typing is so much faster than anything else we have. I guess whatever the "new tech" is will be something I would never even be able to dream up, but I'll be very curious as to when that actually gets here...
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