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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Email Teachers

I was a school guidance counselor for nine years, so I have the perspective of a parent and an educator. I know what it's like to manage a classroom full of children, and I know what it's like to deal with them after school as well.

I try to establish a system for communication with my kids' teachers early in the schoolyear. For me, there is absolutely no doubt the best way is email. At the beginning of the year, I ask for (or investigate to figure out) their email addresses. I send THEM an email, and ask them to respond, so both our addresses are in each others' email accounts.

My daughter's teacher also sends weekly notes home in her planner, which has been very successful so far. But sometimes I want to have a connection that circumvents my kids. Their perception of events is often different from that of the teachers, and that of mine, so communicating directly is very important. It also opens those lines of communication so that it's a very easy thing for teachers to zip off a note to you as well. The time and effort it takes to make a phone call, is far greater than an email message, which can be responded to at convenience.

And anyone who's ever visited a classroom knows that it's nearly impossible to have a useful conversation there.

I don't want to discover at November conferences that either of my kids are having trouble academically. I try to be proactive with my kids' education.

Works for me! UPDATE: Please share communication tips that have worked for you. This is the perfect time of year to start doing a great job of keeping contact with teachers.

For more awesome tips, visit Rocks in my Dryer.

14 Comments:

  • I love emails, emails are my lifeline to everyone, including family members. And I'm glad the school system has been in touch with us, parents, with emails. It's great communication line and cut down on the need to kill more trees with memos.

    By Blogger Waya, At 8:39 AM  

  • We are extemely lucky. Our school system has a program in place, where, with a user name and password, we can check our child's grades ON LINE, each and every day. AND -- this year, they added a new feature ... we can have it all emailed to us. So, I now get 2 emails a day ... his grades, by class; and then each class, the grades that were put into the grade book. (so I can see what HASN'T been done, or WHY a grade is the way it is). And THEN:) I also have it set so it automatically emails me if his grade in any class drops below 90% (but you can chose any number there)-- red flagging me that I definately need to be checking to what is going on.

    This definately "works for me" :)

    By Anonymous Carolyn, At 8:53 AM  

  • That is such a great idea. I hope that I can establish something like that for Little Princess next year.

    By Blogger TC, At 8:59 AM  

  • Oh and guess what? I am celebrating my blogiversary today!

    By Blogger TC, At 8:59 AM  

  • Thanks for this encouragement. My son's teacher left 1/2 way through the 1st day to go have twins. I actually find myself uncertain whether I'd rather have her come back after maternity leave or not - she's going to be exhausted daily. I've been reluctant to put a lot of energy into getting to know the substitute, but I think I need to get over that quickly.

    By Blogger Carol, At 9:01 AM  

  • As a former teacher, now SAHM, I couldn't agree more. It was much quicker to communicate via e-mail, and therefore, more likely to happen regularly.

    By Blogger Bessers, At 9:27 AM  

  • I love this suggestion!!!

    By Blogger lrlwreath, At 9:32 AM  

  • Kelly, I've discovered your 2nd WFMW tip. I love this one!

    Our son hasn't started school yet, but when he does, I intend to try to schedule a tour of his school, meet his teacher (s) in advance to introduce ourselves, and at that point I'll ask for an email address. I also intend to do my best to volunteer time on occasion in Snuggle Bug's classroom, if they'll let me.

    Thanks for the tip. I'm bookmarking this one because it looks as though you'll be getting a lot of other great tips that I'd like to remember!

    By Blogger Overwhelmed!, At 10:09 AM  

  • I love email! My son's Kindergarten teacher is great about letting parents know what's going on, usually through notes in his bring-home folder, but encourages all parents to email her, and she responds really quickly. I hope all my kids' teachers are as wonderful as this first one!

    By Blogger Mommy!!, At 10:31 AM  

  • I'm all about the email communication. Great idea.

    My Blog
    Email Me

    By Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment, At 10:52 AM  

  • When David started kinderg. we had issues, and I found that it was great to check in with the teacher often via email. Even when things were quiet, I would send her an email with a "how are things?" and a "thanks". I would also tuck in handwritten notes of thanks from time and time because I know it's hard to keep up with everyone. It's been a great way to keep things open!
    Good post!

    By Blogger Amy, At 11:44 AM  

  • Kelly, I had never thought of that1 What an awesome idea. I like the idea that unlike trying to call a teacher, email is so convenient and can be dealt with whenever the teacher is available.

    By Anonymous Mary, At 1:50 PM  

  • As a teacher, I prefer to communicate with e-mail because it's so quick. Last year I had a parent with whom I had to communicate daily to keep her middler schooler on track. At the end of class I'd do a status check with him and zip off an e-mail before he even left class. I swear I can do that faster than dial the phone.

    I've been a little worried that e-mail might be impersonal, so I am glad to see that there are some parents who think this is a good idea!

    By Blogger happychyck, At 8:21 PM  

  • I have to back you up on this one. I rarely have easy access to a phone, and the voice mail system is a pain. Email, however, is always available. I can usually email parents back within the hour, definitely within the day.

    By Blogger Magi, At 10:27 PM  

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