Mandatory email

Is it wrong of me to expect teachers and administrators to check their email once a day? We all check our boxes regularly for paper notes, mail, handouts, and the like, so email seems an easy step, right?

Is it wrong of me to expect teachers and administrators to check their email once a day? We all check our boxes regularly for paper notes, mail, handouts, and the like, so email seems an easy step, right?

A lot of my teachers are fairly savvy anyway, so I don't think this will be a big deal for the majority. It's that vocal minority that worries me. We all know that technology can never replace a good teacher; unfortunately, that thinking means that a lot of teachers have been slow to catch up to the rest of the 21st century in terms of the way we communicate.

I have a lot of teachers who still print out assignments that students email to them (or simply don't accept assignments via email). I know it's easier to bleed all over an essay when it's on paper in front of you, but our students will see a variety of comments and criticisms come back to them electronically when they hit the real world.

I've set a personal goal of a 50% reduction in paper consumption for our district this year. It's ambitious, certainly, but is there any reason that daily announcements can't just be sent out via email (or, better yet, just posted on a website)? Do the students all really need a paper copy of the syllabus or another copy of the student handbook that will get stuffed in the bottoms of their lockers? Do teachers really need another staff handbook?

This is 2008 and as our colleagues out in the business world start to wonder if email just might die at the hands of instant messaging, I'm here to say that it is (or at least should be) alive and well in education.

Email is your friend, folks. If your staff hasn't realized what an incredibly useful, tree-saving, time-saving, brilliantly asynchronous tool email is, it's time you showed them.

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