The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

EDUcullen: Why Teachers & Parents Shouldn’t Email Each Other


Why Parents and Teachers Shouldn’t Email Each Other

Peter Cullen

As an educator, I felt bad for everyone involved when a Canadian care centre (following government rules) fined a mother for not providing enough grain in her children’s lunch.

What’s the damage?

  • the centre’s reputation
  • employees’ stress
  • admin’s anger (I presume)
  • parents’ confusion

I wondered, “What could have prevented all of that?” And a past incident reminded me of the best answer: a phone call.

You usually communicate with your child’s teacher via email, or notes in an agenda, right? It’s pretty fast and it’s convenient because you’re so busy. But do you feel info is sometimes lacking this way? Are notes often vague? Does it result in a lawsuit?

Yes, lawsuit. That came up in an excessive email exchange with a parent one time. Why? Because print can’t communicate as well as a telephone call – which is why I don’t use or recommend email to explain recess disputes or what led to a student’s tears during lunch.

How many friends have told you about their blood pressure spiking because of an email? Accurately conveying sensitive or uncertain information is an important school-home issue. If it’s a familiar one for you, you’ll enjoy the full text of Why Teachers and Parents Shouldn’t Email Each Other.

Next class: an easy-to-use website for your child to produce proud work for the grandparents.

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2 comments on “EDUcullen: Why Teachers & Parents Shouldn’t Email Each Other

  1. Claudia
    November 28, 2013

    I absolutely agree. But at the same time, I feel that when working at an international school, teachers should also keep a record of the conversation that’s taken place between you and the parents. In the past, some parents have turned a phone conversation that’s not recorded against the teachers. The best solution would be to have a follow-up email to summarise a phone conversation, and have the parents reply if they agree with the content.

    • MrPeterCullen
      November 29, 2013

      Yes, I totally agree, Claudia. That is most ideal. From an administrator’s view, I’d love to see staff do this. The amount of time, though… Tough to balance!

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