Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Email Free Tuesday - Is It For Me?

Our district has taken up the idea that people should talk with another more. The idea is being implemented by having two "Email Free Tuesdays" per month. Putting an automated reply on our email accounts can alert people to the initiative and simultaneously let them know why we won't be replying.

In a previous life I worked in corporate America. I understand that there are times that an email is sent to the person 26 feet from your desk and that you could have walked over there instead of sending the message. Having a day or two set aside that you are not chained to your computer would be refreshing.

Picking up the phone has also been listed as an alternative. While these ideas make sense in an office environment, they don't seem to make as much sense in a classroom.

There are 24 other people in my room, whom I am responsible for. I can't simply walk out the door and down the hall when I am looking for feedback, confirmation, or support. (Even if the person I wanted to talk to didn't also have a room full of people for whom they are responsible for.) 

So what about communicating with people in the front office? When I have a prep period I can walk to their office. My room is two feet closer than than the farthest room. The walking is good for me! 

What about when I do have students? The suggestion is that you phone instead of email. Well, having 48 ears listening to what I am saying doesn't do much for privacy or learning. I can unobtrusively let the office know if there is a challenge without announcing it audibly and calling everyone's attention to whatever it may be. I can quickly reply to a parent email without disrupting student learning on the infrequent occasion something needs to be addressed in a timely manner. I do not feel that the computer is an extension of my job as a teacher, but it is the best tool for some tasks.

Conundrum! Go against the initiative or become a recluse. Other ideas?

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