Do you contact students via email?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you contact students via email?

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Email is a very common form of communication nowadays. It's convenient and quick and allows messages to be sent to multiple recipients in a matter of seconds. Given these benefits, it is perhaps surprising to find that the majority of teachers do not communicate with students via email.

There are probably many reasons why email isn't more widely used by teachers. Elementary school students are far less likely to communicate with their teachers electronically. Teachers may send emails to parents about particular students with regard to learning outcomes or classroom behaviour. Invitations to attend parent information sessions with guest speakers or to set up a personal meeting with the teacher can all be sent appropriately via email. Communication outside the elementary school classroom is usually done with the parents, however, and not the student.

Secondary students have more access to email than their younger counterparts so teachers can communicate more easily but many teachers still choose not to do so. There is an obvious time factor involved with communication with individual students. In a class of thirty students, who has time to send separate emails to each student? Mass classroom emails are a possibility but information that needs to be given to the whole class is most often given during classroom time.

Teachers must always be aware of displaying appropriate behaviour towards students, especially those of the opposite sex. There is a danger when engaging in email communication with individual students which might explain why almost half of teachers refrain from the practise. On a less serious note, perhaps teachers don't want students to know their email addresses. After a number of years several hundred students would be able to send their old teachers every piece of junk email going. Computers would be crashing every day.

Email communication is everything you would expect: convenient, quick, and inexpensive. The fact that every teacher doesn't use it to communicate with students means that there are underlying reasons to avoid it. As with many of today's modern conveniences, things aren't always as simple as they seem.