Parental Demands

In 13 years of teaching I have always been a good communicator with the parents of my students. I provide weekly emails, have parents invited into my Google classroom to obtain weekly progress reports, and send out monthly updates to failing students. However I have seen a shift in what parents want in communication.

I will state that this situation I am describing is not a student that I teach. However I have seen this trend spreading across the nation, states and county. There are parents that will email a teacher at, for example, 10:30 am. Then when the teacher has not responded they call the school. Here is the crazy part....they call the school at 10:37 am. Literally seven minutes later. How can you expect a teacher to get back to you that quickly? The teacher is teaching a class, eating lunch, or in a meeting. There is absolutely no business that I know of that would really expect an employee to have that quick of a turn around email without informing the employee that they were expected to receive a file at a specific time. Why are teachers now being forced into these rules?

Years ago I taught someone who emailed me at 10 PM and they wanted me to reply by midnight that very evening. Firstly, my contracted hours ended at 3 PM. Secondly, I am with my family at that time and you cannot assume at 10 PM someone is checking their email. Thirdly, I was actually asleep. My son walked up at 5 AM. I need sleep to be able to interact with the kids. I did not receive the email until I checked the following morning. I spoke to this individual at school that day. Those types of demands, especially from a child, shows how teachers are currently being viewed.

We live in a very technological age. I am typing this on my cell phone. However this technological age has made it very easy to stay connected to work, school, and each other all the time. There is no separation anymore. This leads back to something I mentioned in my blog post last evening, stress. You cannot escape the connectivity. With so much technology students and parents want teachers to respond to their questions or issues immediately. This is very concerning and leads back to teacher burnout and teachers leaving the profession.

Parents need to begin to realize that teachers, like them are people too. We have kids, families, friends, and lives. We are not connected to our phones or computers 24/7. Our contract states we have 24-48 hours to get back to you. So when a teacher does not reply quickly you must realize that it is an Electronic Mail. We will get back to you when we get the message. But please, give teachers a chance to read your message, formulate a response, and then reply to you. Give them that time. And...if you call a teacher realize they will get back to you during their planning period or at the end of the day. We will not ignore you, but we are professionals and should be treated as such.