Why don't some teachers bother to reply to emails?(74 Posts)
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
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.
I don't understand what I'm meant to do next. They clearly just don't give a sh*t do they?
Ok I would suggest that you make an appointment to discuss what is concerning you. If the email was back in March then I would assume that you have had plenty of opportunity to bring it up directly with the teacher if you are that concerned. I am also guessing that the 11 plus is not the teachers concern especially. Why didn't your ds tell you the club was cancelled. I am also assuming that as all the other children knew the club had been cancelled the week before the teacher had told the children and they had all told their parents. I think that you need to accept that e mail is not the way the teacher prefers to discuss things and instead contact them directly either by phone or ask for an appointment.
Is email an official line of contact at this school? I foolishly gave my email to my class so they could send me some homework over the holidays and since then one or two parents have persistently tried to email me about school issues, when that's not how things are done at ours.
Can't you get heron the phone?
an appointment is Ok but I am now unsure if I'll even get a reply to that.
I haven't seen the teacher much since March actually - she is rarely visible in the playground, also she said she would get back to me, but didn't bother to. I didn't want to go in hassling her, but now I can see that she didn't have any intention of dealing with it anyway.
Why would the 11 plus not be her concern?
I don't know why ds didn't tell me. I presume he forgot. I don't think it's his job to tell me when a regular club is not on. The school always emails about other clubs being cancelled for whatever reason.
I have no idea which of the other children knew, or didn't know. There wasn;t anyone else there when I came to get him but then most people live near to the school or have other younger children to collect so would have been there anyway.
I don't think it is up to ds to tell me these things - they know he isn't that reliable. I assumed that's what parentmail was for iyswim
I think it'd be harder to get her on the phone tbh.
Yes email is how things are often sorted out at our school.
Sorry I meant to write, an appointment would be a good idea, but...
The trouble is some teachers really like to sort stuff out by email, others face to face or by phone, and very few schools seem to have a policy of one or the other, so you have to find out what suits each teacher best. Meanwhile many schools haven't yet taken on board that email is the only realistic options for some parents.
Yes...though ds had her in y1 as well and we emailed a few times then as well.
I don't think it is very good not to reply at all.
When is she supposed to reply? We're not given any time to communicate via email, yet the senior leadership team still send messages during lesson time then seemed surprised that we haven't responded by lunch.
I wouldn't email a parent with sensitive information anyway. You're much better off meeting face to face. Call the office and ask for an appointment.
She could just send an email saying 'Sorry but I haven't got time to reply by email - please could you contact the office to arrange an appointment' if that's the case.
Or is it normal just to totally ignore parents' communications?
I have never before been given the impression that they don't welcome email - every teacher has an email address listed under their picture on the website.
And surely she could have found time since March to tell me if I've got this wrong..
Email's a rubbish way to communicate with teachers - much better to phone before school, at lunchtime or after school.
I can go days without looking at my email, and there don't have to be many emails there for my Inbox to be full, which means I no longer receive emails.
Surely you could have found time since March to communicate with the school by another means?
No it isn't normal to ignore parents' emails. At our school the policy is to reply within one school day. Also teachers cancelling clubs send a message out to all the parents (we do it by text and email), plus it goes in the school newsletter (which goes out weekly by email) and is on the school portal.
I think you need to talk to the school about its lack of communication, and you should urgently chase up the March email non-response.
I am a teacher and the likelihood of a parent phoning through to my department and me being there to take the call is approaching zero. If a parent wants to speak to me they email and we arrange a suitable time to speak.
We are a big busy school of 3000 students though and I appreciate it might be different in a small primary.
I would not encourage people to contact me via email. As others ave said, there is very little time in the day to respond. I much prefer people to call and if I'm free I will speak to them and if not, arrange a time to call back. Surely it would be much better to have a conversation face to face.
At my school we would respond to an email by phone (we are advised not to get into email to and fros with parents as often issues are much more quickly sorted on the phone, you can hear tone of voice etc), but it's rude and disorganised not to do either.
However, in answer to your OP, I'd say 'for the same reason that most of the rest of the world doesn't bother to reply to emails'!
Thanks, all. Lots of very valid reasons why email might not be the best thing.
However I still stand by the point I was trying to make, which is - in response to Euphemia's post - why was the ball in my court, after she said she would 'see what she could find out'?
I'd have thought either a message asking me to meet with her to discuss, or a brief email saying something rather than complete radio silence requiring me to 'chase her up' about it.
Cerisier - you put it better than me. Thankyou.
Some schools put more emphasis on email than others. Some I have worked in do everything by email and we had to reply to parents within a day. Others, email was barely used, the accounts rarely checked and no rules regarding replying to parents. Some teachers found it odd when parents emailed.
I agree, you should get a reply within say 3 days. This is 2013 and technology is very developed now. Weird that she replied then didn't follow it up though.
I'm amazed you had an email for the teacher... No school I've ever worked in has required the teachers to be contactable from parents via email.
Thanks Happymum...zing, it's a school email address with their name added at the front iyswim.
Not their personal mail.
We're not allowed to give our school email addresses out to parents. Have you checked with school that this is an "approved" method of communication?
From their website :
'To contact a teacher directly, simply send an email to the teacher using the following format: email@example.com
(please note that this particular address is an example and will not reach us!)'
I think that is pretty clear. Also they should have let me know years ago if it wasn't the done thing. I don't email them constantly - perhaps once a term, once a year even.
I can see that some probably don't really choose email as their preferred means of contact however I'd appreciate a swift reply saying just that, if it's the case.
Just being ignored is unpleasant and makes me feel helpless.
Are you absolutely sure they're getting through? (The school seems to have missed all 3 of your e-mails, and received none!)
The first initial / surname is often followed by a number, used when people have duplicate names. For instance, if the teacher's name is Joe Brown, his e-mail address may be jbrown654@st-custards, etc, there being another 653 jbrowns around!
Lots of the staff in my school, especially the older ones, don't even know how to log into their email. So they wouldn't be able to send a 'sorry I can't reply' reply.
It may be on the school's website, but that doesn't mean the teaching staff use email as an everyday thing.
Being ignored all together is rude, so maybe you need a different approach. Saying that, it's only a few weeks until summer. Once you find out next year's teacher, make an appointment to see them.
juniper how does the HT communicate with staff if some never log in?
Why does age excuse you from using e-mail?
Surely in a primary school they (HT) can speak to them (teacher) face-to-face. I think its a sad world when communication has to be electronic.
We're two form entry. And we stay in our own classrooms, so if she wants to see us then she knows where we are...
I very much doubt my Head knows how to use the email system. I have never received an email from her.
I didn't say age was an excuse, I said it was one of the factors. Lots of the older teachers are not tech savvy, nor do they have any interest in technology. Getting them to use the whiteboards is hard enough.
Even our lunchtime supervisors have school e-mail addresses that they use!
Phew - at least they're using white boards!
(BTW I am a very old teacher! )
maybe E-mail gets the message to everyone in one second. A HT walking around the school to give the same message to every teacher will take ages (and she's bound to miss someone!)
Email is an expedient system of communication.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
maybe E-mail gets the message to everyone in one second. A HT walking around the school to give the same message to every teacher will take ages (and she's bound to miss someone!) Email is an expedient system of communication.
Sorry, I am too busy teaching children to be reading my email.
Interesting discussion isn't it, thankyou everyone...she did get my first one because she replied to it (after a few weeks, it may have been a shorter time, I can't recall now)
I don't know what's going on, but communication has got noticeably worse in the last year and I don't know why.
I'll have a word when I see her.
How long does it take to read an email?
Seriously, ipad? You really think it's acceptable for a teacher to read email in class?! Never!
I see my job as working with the children for the five hours per day they are in class: email is for other parts of the day.
I would actually think it is a very good way to contact a teacher. You've outlined the problem and if she doesn't want to converse on email then you can arrange a time that is convenient to you both. Not getting a reply (of any sort) within a week is just plain rude (if she has definitely received it).
This is actually how most of the modern world operates.
Having said that, some people are just plain useless at coming back to you. I spend most of my life kicking people up the backside to provide info/answers. "Yeah, don't worry the CEO only needs it for the Board Meeting on Monday... You sit there and enjoy your cream cake..." Gah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
euphemia Who said anything about reading an e-mail during lessons? There are other opportunities - before school, break, lunch, after school.
In the OP's case, I would complain to the school if they are encouraging communication by email, then emails are going ignored. That's unacceptable.
In my school there's a school email address which is publicised, but teachers' addresses are not. The HT communicates with us verbally, in the classroom if it's urgent or in the staffroom at break- or lunchtime otherwise. She sends us an email every week outlining what's happening in the coming week (external visitors, assemblies, etc.), but she never uses email when she's looking for a quick response to something.
Wow euphemia I am gobsmacked.
I can't imagine how I would remember all the information I get by e-mail, particularly if it required immediate action.
Are you a primary teacher ipad? I've just become a parent governor and the last meeting had a policy explicitly banning staff from reading emails when children are around. And I spent a day in school ... the teachers didn't pause all day (they did send me to the staff room to get myself a cup of tea, but I wasn't allowed to bring them back a cup of hot drink!) so I doubt they'd have time to log on to their emails during the school day. The teacher said she checks once she gets home, so even at best the communication from the HT would be read hours later.
I don't read e-mails when the children are around!
I don't pause during the day (which means I spend very little time in the staffroom to receive messages from a roaming HT).
I do check e-mails when I get home, or before I start in the morning (or in PPA time).
A 'few hours later' is generally fine for most e-mails. Why would that be a problem?
I can't believe there are schools out there not using e-mail for communication!
ipadquietly, if you're in the NUT or NASUWT then maybe you should read their advice about checking emails in your own time. It's part of the action short of strike action.
Incidentally, although I am a union rep, I check my email a few times a day, but that's just because I'm a nerd grin
oops... too many square brackets
-and dodgy, made up code
Haha Union rep too (the non-striking one).
An email doesn't require an instance response and no one is suggesting that teachers should be checking them during the day when children are around.
Some very strange reactions on here. I don't understand why so many teachers are against email. It saves me masses of time. I ask a question on email at work (which takes me 10 seconds to type) and I get an answer. If I ask the same question in person or over the telephone it can take 5 or 10 minutes because the conversation normally includes random crap that I don't even need or want to discuss (i.e. weather, how I am today, how last week's conference went, blah blah blah).
carol. I agree...very strange (and scary). I thought teachers had passed through the bad patch when half a training course was taken up with switching on the computer.
As you say, e-mail is such a time saver: it ensures that everyone gets it and you have proof that you've sent it! Triple whammy!
We are expected to distribute cards with our school email addy to students when they first come up in year 7.
It's also made explicit to parents that all email addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org, & parents are positively encouraged to contact individual subject teachers using this.
If a parent emailed me, I'd usually be expected to respond within 24 hours. It might just be an acknowledgment saying I'd ring/reply properly later, although I usually try just to deal with emails once only, but certainly if the parent then contacted the HT to complain that that I hadn't replied at all within say a week, absolute max - I'd be given a bollocking.
We provide a classroom handbook to each student at the start of the year, and each teacher includes their own prefrnces for being contacted. Some prefer a call, others are on email. I say that I welcome emails, but to please be aware that I do not check emails during the day, but will provide a response within two working days. This gives me the chance to get the email at night, and I may respond immediately, or I may need to consult with my head/other staff/etc the next day and write a response the following night. I also state that email may not be checked on weekends or school holidays, so please be patient during those times (although I do check on weekends and most days on the holidays except for my three week "no work" break during the summer holidays).
If you haven't received a response, then ask. No point sitting and fuming about it.
Thanks everyone. I have chased it up (10 days ago) and not received any response to that email either.
This is why I think they don't care. Anyway as suggested I'll try and find her somewhere, at some point, and collar her about it. She'll say 'I'll get back to you'.
Are you sure the name hasn't got a number after it that you've missed? Is the teacher's surname a common one?
yes, it is only a small school, though I appreciate the idea.
I think I just replied to the last one she sent me, anyway!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I do think that the teacher / school should have paid more attention to your emails - they are coming across as quite rude
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!
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plus I imagine she would refuse to read them at all if I did that
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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......"
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
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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