Is a backlash brewing against email?

Some teachers say online communication is driving up workload, exposing them to difficult parent-teacher relations.

With all the controversy in schools about the use of cell phones and iPods, the humble email seems above reproach. As more teachers rely on email to communicate with students, teachers and parents, is it becoming too much of a good thing?

An article in New Jersey's Daily Record reports that while teachers have gladly embraced online communication - teacher Danielle Kovach uses her website to post homework assignments, write a weekly column, show off top student projects and facilitate email - there is something of a backlash brewing. Some NJ teachers are objecting to email-based surges in their workloads. And longtime teacher John Capsouras says he would rather not deal with emails.

He said that he and other teachers worry about responses being edited, or altered, or showing up on MySpace.com, the social networking site where people post profiles of themselves and some students have created false profiles of teachers.

Recently, a teacher received an e-mail from a parent that was forwarded to the principal because the teacher was uncomfortable responding, Capsouras said. The parent was complaining that a test was too hard and that their child didn't have time to prepare because of a sick day.

"Most teachers say they'd rather deal with a good old phone call," Capsouras said.

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