Some weeks, like those leading up to band camp, there will be numerous contacts made. Most weeks, however, I will try to limit my communications to sending out the link for the weekly-ish blog post. Once marching band season concludes, you really don't hear from me much at all until January and concert dates and such come up, but I will occasionally send out something regarding class activities or upcoming things that are not performances.
The usual scenario is that on Monday morning I will write a new blog post for the week's events and send a link via email. This allows a more permanent space for information, etc. so that people can access it any time.
For more immediate things that don't necessarily require a "permanent" home, I will probably send an email listing the information. This might include a reminder for students to wear white socks with their uniforms, for instance, or maybe a reminder about fees due for rental or uniforms.
I also have a direct phone number to my office (616-748-3130), and you are welcome to leave a voicemail. I am not a huge fan of voicemail for a number of reasons, but chief among those is my desk. It is not always a place that is conducive to finding the note I just wrote to call a parent back about an issue! Feel free to call, but I am not nearly as efficient with the phone.
Email "policies" that I try to adhere to:
- I usually do NOT check email after 4 p.m. or on weekends. Anything sent after 4 p.m. or after Friday will be read the following school day. This allows me time to be away from school and recharge, which I have found to be a very important part of being a successful (or at least sane) teacher.
- If an email asks something that several people are asking, I will probably add it to the following week's blog post, and that may happen without a personal response to each person.
- I like to reply/close out email issues within a day or two. No promises on 24 hours or anything, but I don't like letting things sit for a week, either. I try to keep my inbox to fewer than 30 messages.
This is an area which I like to let students bear some responsibility. In the event that there are schedule conflicts with athletics, or if students are concerned about a playing test, etc., I think it is important for them to make contact with me before the parents. It's not something I require at all, but please help me to encourage them to develop these skills by having them do some of the work that you are used to doing.
I also maintain a student email list separate from the parental one so that I can communicate classroom stuff during the week. These may be very different than the messages I send to parents - mainly due to the specific details in them. I expect students to check their student email accounts regularly for these communications as part of their classwork. In the age of digital communication and 1:1 iPads, they are expected to keep up with these.
Please feel free to set up an appointment to speak with me personally if you feel the need - whether that be for a specific classroom concern or just to stop in and meet me in person, I am available a couple of different times each day. My planning/conference period is 1st hour (7:45 - 8:45 a.m.). I also can make myself available after school if need be.