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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?

cansu Fri 28-Jun-13 16:49:44

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.

GetStuffezd Fri 28-Jun-13 16:51:53

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?

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 16:54:42


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

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 16:55:25

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.

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 16:55:57

Sorry I meant to write, an appointment would be a good idea, but...

DeepRedBetty Fri 28-Jun-13 16:58:01

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.

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 16:59:22

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.

juniper9 Fri 28-Jun-13 17:28:14

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.

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 17:58:52

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?

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 17:59:58

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..

Euphemia Fri 28-Jun-13 18:02:54

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?

Cerisier Fri 28-Jun-13 18:13:49

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.

Cerisier Fri 28-Jun-13 18:19:04

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.

indyandlara Fri 28-Jun-13 18:23:55

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.

Phineyj Fri 28-Jun-13 18:26:39

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'!

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 19:05:52

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.

Happymum22 Fri 28-Jun-13 19:26:46

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.

zingally Fri 28-Jun-13 19:34:59

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.

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 19:36:59

Thanks Happymum...zing, it's a school email address with their name added at the front iyswim.

Not their personal mail.

LauraPashley Fri 28-Jun-13 19:39:23

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?

RoooneyMara Fri 28-Jun-13 19:51:25

From their website :

'To contact a teacher directly, simply send an email to the teacher using the following format:

(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.

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 20:01:36

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!

juniper9 Fri 28-Jun-13 20:04:13

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.

ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 20:47:36

juniper how does the HT communicate with staff if some never log in? shock
Why does age excuse you from using e-mail?

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