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The Email Battle

 


    One trend I've noticed over the last few years is how quickly you will receive a negative email yet when going above or beyond nothing is mentioned.  I believe this is happening for several reasons and there are ways to make progress here.  First, sending a negative email is much easier to express frustrations than doing it when you see the persons face or talk to them on the phone.  As technology has changed, it seems to have become less personal which I think is contributing to this situation.  Second, I think the learning loss is playing a part in students current struggle/success.   In the math classroom, many of the skills we are currently teaching are skills the students would have been virtual when learning.  I'm not saying virtual learning is or was bad but for some virtual learning was hard so they may have missed the skill or need additional reinforcement.    Third, teacher expectations have risen.  Teachers are working before and after contract hours with students, which use to be appreciated as it isn't a requirement of them but now it seems to now be expected and frowned upon when not done.  

What can be done about this?  

    First, I'd recommend responding to negative emails with a phone call.  I've found that while it may take more time, an understanding can occur pretty quickly.  Second, if you don't have time to call that day, I'd send email setting up a time to discuss it over the phone.  This allows the student or parent to know you received the message and have a set time to be ready to discuss.  Third, this goes both ways.  Each week I try to send both positive emails and improvement emails.  While this takes time, it helps with student and family relationships if they aren't always hearing about negative things but also positive occurrences.  Some examples of the positive emails/calls, I pick 1 assignment each week and acknowledge students who earn certain marks, make improvement, or seek help if they do not do well.  I also look at student engagement during lessons and acknowledge those students who have participated or ask questions.   

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