I'm just curious really about why different schools have different policies about this and wonder what other people think. A couple of the schools I've worked in positively encourage parents to contact teachers by email and one allows pupils to email homework or queries directly to teachers. A third school that I know well does not allow direct email contact between teachers and parents/pupils at all. I actually welcomed the direct email contact, but I know some colleagues find it intrusive. I thought it would be interesting to see what other teachers do/prefer and whether it makes a difference if you are primary or secondary.
I'm secondary and through my school email address I have students who email their work, ask questions etc I also email regularly parents who have asked for regular updates on progress/behaviour etc. I prefer contact this way as students know that they can get help and they fully understand that I also have a family of my own and do not email at midnight and demand a reply; also the parents are very respectful of this and I think in terms of 'contactability' I work easier through email rather than phone calls as I can respond to emails whilst at home rather than spend ages on the phone at school which inevitably leads to discussions away from the reason for contact
I think the issue can be that if you send an email, patents have it in writing what you have sent! For parents who are particuarly difficult or litigious thus can then be used as evidence to support their case.
Works both ways though, I always think about my emails to parents and write them carefully and I'm amazed at the tone of some emails from parents. If every interaction is documented they can't then claim that you've said something that you didn't. I had evidence of every email I sent to a parent expressing concern about her son's progress which was very useful when she then complained about his poor GCSE results.
Email is so much easier than phone calls, I can answer them in my own time and think about what I want to say. I discourage students emailing me homework as it means I have to print it off - and I certainly wasn't impressed by one who sent me an email at 9pm on a Sunday night asking about the homework for the Monday morning!
I don't have a problem with email. It is quick and efficient, and much better than expecting me to take a phone call.
If the email was some kind of complaint, I would forward it, and discuss it with senior managers before responding ( or getting them to respond). Saying that, the parents in my school take any complaint straight to the head, so emails I might get will be about me personally looking for lost trainers.
just a slightly different point of view but I work for a different agency which works within schools and find that emailing teachers a big help. I don't want to disturb a teacher on their lunch or when you are grabbing a quick cuppa which will be the only one you get all day. Messages often get lost within schools as well. Emailing lets teachers get the information together and then replying rather than ring, find out what it is about, go off to get information, return call. I can also get information to the correct person within school as well.
Emails whether we individually like it or not, is now the way of the world. If students don't use this method to contact teachers then when they enter the world of work, they are already behind within the global market.