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Only Working Contract Hours: Step 1 Setting Boundaries


After 10 years of teaching, I was tired of the expectation that I'd answer emails at any time of day or night and even the weekends.  I realized that I was part of the problem.  When parents or students emailed at nights or weekends I would respond. By responding to them I was sending the message that I was working at all hours. 

Last year, I started setting my out of the office reply on Friday afternoons.  It was automatic and sent a simple message.  Thank you for sending me an email, I am currently out of the office until Monday.  I will respond to emails upon my return to work on Monday.  If you aren't sure where to start, I'd suggest this be your first step. 

This does not automatically stop you from receiving large amounts of emails on Friday nights or the weekends but it does however, stop the expectation that you will respond instantly or within a few hours.  It sets the expectation that you will respond on Monday.  

What I noticed last year and this year is that in the beginning you will get a large amount of emails but overtime the amount reduces. Typically, I get maybe 1 email a weekend if any at this point and they know I will respond on Monday.  

This is a great first step towards only working contract hours. Next up, I’ll talk about grading. 


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