I remember when I first realized that we were really going to go all the way and just do it. The week before school started, Alexandra and I decided to communicate with our parents via email. We stressed over the implications..too informal...too risky? What if they do not get the email reminder about the items to bring on the first day of school? We took a deep breath, pressed send and have not looked back once.
Alexandra, Marisa and I share a mailbox that is solely used for parent emails. We each check it multiple times throughout the day and each reply to emails that come in. The ease with which parents can now send and receive emails via mobileme, blackberries and iphones is evident in the number of emails that we receive throughout the week. We have had some unfortunate incidents where information has been lost or not received but these instances are rare and the spam mailbox is usually at fault.
We send everything from save-the-dates, monthly newsletters, invitations, general requests, assignment information, observations/issues/concerns/praise about the kids and more. The parents have gotten in the groove of looking out for our messages and do respond in kind. We have asked them to follow-up with a phone call, if their email is about that day's dismissal.
If you have not gone paperless, I strongly urge you to do so even if your school has not. It is incredibly efficient and a great way to communicate with your parents.
If you are like me, you may have to write your messages on Microsoft word and attach or paste them into the message. The first time that I tried to write a message directly in the message box, my time ran out and the server logged me out automatically. But Alexandra and Marisa are good at shooting off a quick email and getting right to the point.
Of course there are major rules that you should consider following regarding email etiquette.
Here are a few:
1. Get to the point and avoid long sentences.
2. Use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and keep your language gender neutral.
3. Answer all questions and answer swiftly.
4. Do not write in CAPITALS!!
5. Do not leave out the message thread.
6. Read the email before you send it.
7. Do not overuse REPLY TO ALL.
8. Do not use abbreviations and emoticons.
9. Do not request delivery and read receipts.
10. Do not use email to discuss CONFIDENTIAL information.
Good Luck and Happy Earth Day!!!!