Why don't some teachers bother to reply to emails?

(74 Posts)
RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 16:44:38

I sent ds1's teacher an email in March - quite a detailed one, about maybe 4 paragraphs about ds having some difficulties with his work, and wondering how it will affect his 11 plus (he is y5)

No response for a few weeks - then 'I will talk to the senco and see what she says'.
This was in April - heard nothing since.

Meeting the other day with HT and class teacher - it was not mentioned, I forgot, they were probably glad I forgot. I emailed that night - asking how she had got on with the senco as I'd forgotten to bring it up at the meeting.

No response. This is over a week ago.
Then yesterday theclub she runs after school was cancelled (apparently this was known last week) and no email or letter was sent out resulting in my being 45 minutes late to collect ds.
School called me after 25 minutes of him sitting in the office hmm

I emailed politely last night asking why they hadn't let it be known the club was cancelled, also why no one had called for so long.

No reply.

I don't understand what I'm meant to do next. They clearly just don't give a sh*t do they?

ipadquietly Sat 29-Jun-13 13:34:45

The e-mail addresses are set up by the county, not the school. So, it's the number of teachers (and TAs and lunchtime supervisors) in the LA with that name!

teacher123 Sat 29-Jun-13 13:42:18

I have just started work in a primary school, having come from a secondary school and I am completely astonished at how little information is spread through email. I have asked for my email address (as a subject specialist) to be made available to the parents, as I would far rather deal with enquiries via email than try and squeeze in time to see a parent or worse still have to phone them! I don't have a phone in my classroom, so have to use my mobile (I use 141 to block my number) and it's a nightmare.

For example-I need the names of the hymns for Tuesday and Friday assembly. These are run by two different people, I am only part time, they are both senior management and very busy. Which is more time efficient, me emailing them both asking them so they can reply at their leisure or me having to spend time hunting them down at break time or lunchtime to ask them, and they won't know off the top of their head, so will have to email me back anyway!!

Also, it takes 2 minutes to check emails, if you turn the computer on anyway to use your IWB, why wouldn't you just check them quickly then?

In my last job policy was we had to reply within 24 hours, even if it was just an 'I'm looking into this for you' email.

RoooneyMara Sat 29-Jun-13 13:49:30

Oh I didn't know that about the LA, Ipad.

I think it's unlikely there is anyone else in the country, tbh, with the same name as it is very unusual.

But still, worth knowing!

BackforGood Sun 30-Jun-13 17:20:35

What I don't understand though, is, if you had what you presumably considered to be an important concern about your child, you didn't follow it up a few days later with a quick phone call to the office, to ask if they could check if the e-mail you sent to the teacher had actually got through and not been filtered into spam or whatever, as you'd not hear anything back yet. The last day of June seems an awful long time later to be still chasing this query.
Personally, at Primary school my dcs teacher's don't give out their e-mails but if the school is actively encouraging it as being the 'right' way to contact the class teacher, then it needs to be fed back in that it doesn't seem to be working.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 20:37:53

You're right - perhaps they do need to know. I hate causing a fuss though. I think she is just unable to answer my question, because she would probably need to do some research in order to do so and frankly she cannot be bothered. (it wouldn't take long and should have been done ages ago - it's to do with dyslexia)

I have checked back, and I was wrong - it was not March but mid April when I emailed her. She replied very briefly 4 days later.

That was the last I heard.

I chased it up on 18th June (so two months later) and she hasn't replied.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 20:39:23

The first reply was literally, I will speak to senco and ask her advice.

That was it. I kind of wanted to know what the advice was and how we could implement it...but I think that was a bit hopeful considering our school's horrendous attitude to SN.

BatmanLovesAllan Sun 30-Jun-13 20:50:20

I do think that the teacher / school should have paid more attention to your emails - they are coming across as quite rude

HOWEVER

I teach Year 5/6, and the 11+ has absolutely nothing to do with me. It is not my concern at all. I would be polite enough to email you back and tell you that though!

juniper9 Sun 30-Jun-13 21:04:29

It's possible she's passed it onto the SENCO, and the SENCO has done nothing with it, as opposed to the teacher. If you're asking a technical question about dyslexia, then the SENCO is in a far stronger position to answer.

MaybeBentley Sun 30-Jun-13 21:14:00

Maybe Juniper, or the SENCO has tried to contact the LA advisory for dyslexia, as they can't really diagnose, and they haven't got back to the school (notorious around here!).

Hulababy Sun 30-Jun-13 21:18:48

No direct email link to teachers where I work, nor at DD's school.
Have to go via office or HT if emailing or phoning, or speak direct at school itself.

TBH I prefer it that way.

I don't want to be answering parent emails over the weekend when I may be out, or busy with family and friends. I'd rather deal with parent queries in school myself.

BackforGood Sun 30-Jun-13 21:19:49

Yes, with your last couple of posts, I read it as the teacher having forwarded it to the person she feels most likely to have been able to answer your query (and telling you that). A week or so later, I would have been contacting the SENCo with an "I understand the class teacher was forwarding my query on to you, What have you managed to find out?" type of question, thus mopping up any confusion over who should have, but hasn't, got back to you.
Like Batman though, I'm not sure what the 11+ has to do with either the class teacher or the SENCo, but this may be because I don't live in an 11+ area.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:28:58

We're in Kent - that's why. At least I assumed it was something to do with them...if not then it's a bit odd!

You may be right - she's passed it on to the senco and the senco is dotty so that might explain part of it - but why in that case didn't she just reply to my chase up, nearly 2 weeks ago?

I just sent a quick 'I forgot to bring this up at our meeting (about something slightly different), how did you get on with the senco?'

and I haven't had a peep since sending that.

There's no doubt about it, she's being rude - I just wish I could believe they gave a stuff about ds. Sadly the ones who aren't likely to pass are kind of already on the scrap heap, or so it seems.

Hulababy Sun 30-Jun-13 21:29:56

Our HT does communicate through email - weekly staff bulletin, other messages, etc. Its fine for me as I receive them on my phone, and I opt to have my home email included too, for ease for me. I rarely have access to a computer at school - not everyone does in an infant school I'm afraid.

Now, I use a computer all the time out of work, and always have my phone - so for me email from other staff is fine, and I am happy to deal with them out of work too.

I just don't really want direct email communication with parents. I am sure most parents wouldn't keep using it and it would be rarely used, but you can guarantee that there is always going to be one emailing left, right and centre about anything and everything.

Hulababy Sun 30-Jun-13 21:31:57

RoooneyMara - Do you know that she has definitely received all the emails? When you send an email do you request a read receipt? If none are replied to, bar one initially a long time ago, then I wouldn't be convinced they were all being received anyway. Maybe worth asking her in person if you can.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:34:52

No, I never send read receipt requests because they seem a bit out of place - a bit demanding if you like. I am certain she already sees me as demanding and I don't want to up the ante.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:35:49

Plus I imagine she would refuse to read them at all if I did that grin

Schmedz Sun 30-Jun-13 21:36:01

I can't imagine how 'phoning to speak to a teacher would be easier than sending an email. If they are teaching and can't respond to email, how would making a phone call be any better for organising contact?

At least with email you can read it when you are not teaching and our school has a policy to respond within 48 hours. Obviously there are certain matters that are inappropriate to discuss via email, but at least email can be used to set up an appointment.

I would be making an appointment with the HT to discuss your concerns, OP and to clarify why there is such poor communication from this teacher..and maybe to even start to sort out your concerns about your DC.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:37:49

and my latest one was sent via the main office, which I know gets my emails as I have to email them when the children are absent. No reply to that either, though she secretary LOOKed at me when she opened the gate the other day - I think she wanted to say something but thought better of it.

I can't wait till ds leaves this place, I really bloody can't wait.

RoooneyMara Sun 30-Jun-13 21:39:35

Thankyou Schmedz. Might be an idea.

I appreciate all the replies - I can see that in many instances it's fair enough to do things by other means, it's provided a very interesting insight into how schools operate.

diabolo Mon 01-Jul-13 13:01:24

It is a sad state of affairs that e-mail is not consistently used within all schools, either internally or for communication with parents.

I've worked in school admin (same school) for 9 years now, and whenever we try to implement better /quicker / more efficient ways of getting paperwork completed, there is a core of about 10 teachers who simply will not use e-mail or Google Docs (or whatever) which means the new systems fail.

Instead of being made to use e-mail by the SLT, everyone simply carries on using the old ways i.e paper notes in pigeon holes that get lost or left laying around the school etc.

I think it's a farce and make no secret of my opinion. I'm not very popular with some staff. grin

RoooneyMara Mon 01-Jul-13 16:45:41

Well I can see why they don't. It could become overwhelming. That's the thing; it does offer a far quicker, more efficient and all round better way of communicating.

That means that they will have to do more of the communicating, and it might detract from the time they have available and other stuff will suffer.

OTOH it might be of massive benefit and save them time instead.

I've used it to make complaintes before (only once or twice) and I can almost see the fear in their eyes when I say 'did you get my email?'

BECAUSE it requires a response I suppose. Our school is very very hot on trying to bullshit you into believing their way is the best, or that something didn't happen like it really did, or that you are wrong and misguided in your thinking, and so on and so forth.

The favourite tactic is to get you into a small, overheated and overcrowded 'meeting room' with far more members of staff than is necessary, against just you.

You end up agreeing to anything out of desperation to escape...however patronising, unfair and patently untrue it is.

MidniteScribbler Mon 01-Jul-13 23:31:06

I just don't really want direct email communication with parents. I am sure most parents wouldn't keep using it and it would be rarely used, but you can guarantee that there is always going to be one emailing left, right and centre about anything and everything.

There's always going to be one of those parents. I'd much rather they do their diatribes via email when I can sit down late at night with a glass of wine and address it in peace and quiet they getting accousted in the classroom every afternoon. Plus, everything is in writing then so I have a backup if they ever try "but Ms S said......"

TinaSurrey Mon 01-Jul-13 23:58:20

Our school is very very hot on trying to bullshit you into believing their way is the best, or that something didn't happen like it really did, or that you are wrong and misguided in your thinking, and so on and so forth

<waves> We must know each other. This is EXACTLY our school! Their second favourite tactic (despite requesting on school website that we use e mail to contact teachers) is to ignore emails where replying would require them to a) apologise, b) admit an error, c) admit a deliberate deception/lie

cansu Tue 02-Jul-13 06:35:06

Why did your email require research? I think it is possibly the nature of your requests that is causing them to not respond. If you are asking the teacher about things she has no experience or knowledge of then it is highly likely that she will pass these things on and maybe the second thinks your requests are unreasonable and prefers not to say so.

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