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Expectations are the enemy of teachers, not emails

Discussion in 'Personal' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Are emails really the bane of teachers’ lives? One headteacher believes that emails offer teachers flexibility when working outside of directed hours, but dealing with managers’ expectations is the real problem that needs to be tackled:

    ‘According to the NASUWT, teachers are “electronically tethered” to school because of email. General secretary Chris Keates despaired that the education secretary had done nothing to resolve the problem. But what exactly does she expect him to do? Surely, she can’t be arguing for the Department for Education to micromanage every school? That doesn’t seem like the union's usual angle.

    The situation seems all the more odd when you look at the union’s recommendations: it suggests that teachers only read and respond to emails during their directed time. That seems an odd request to me.

    …The problem with blanket rules about times is that it creates too many unintended consequences. One of the advantages of teaching is the flexibility of the work outside directed hours. There are all sorts of teachers who find that email allows them to achieve a bit more flexibility with their work, allowing them to enjoy a bit more of their life.’

    Michael Tidd is headteacher at Medmerry Primary School in West Sussex.

    What do you think? Do emails offer you more flexibility around dealing with your workload or does it reduce the opportunity to switch off from work because you are always seen to be easily contactable by SLT?

  2. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    So adding emails to the time outside directed time required to meet the requirements of the job? If the HT demands that emails are dealt with then they become directed time.
    agathamorse and BetterNow like this.
  3. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    No good the NASUWT shouting the odds about this. They thought that 'whatever extra time' was worth less than £600.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    I'm sure there are many headteachers who believe (or are prepared to try and convince others about) all kinds of barmy stuff that make the job of a teacher more difficult and demanding while making themselves look better.
    agathamorse, BetterNow and cissy3 like this.
  5. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I used to bin emails and wait for a second demand. I certainly would not action an email sent to me at home when I taught.
    The heads obviously have too little to do and possibly poor personal skills in that they cannot speak to staff on a one to one basis.
    I worked in one school in which emails became a list of demands, often for bits of paperwork. I just filed them as if they cannot ask me for items then I can't be bothered to read their emails.
  6. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    I do not read or open emails outside of 8.30 - 5.00 and as I am teaching for most of that time there really isn't much chance to act on them until PPA time.
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    ...and coming back to the title of the thread.

    It is expected in many schools that emails will be read and acted upon within a short time of receipt whether that be in the evenings, at weekends or in the holidays.

    Emails are a godsend for the underemployed, self-important manager with poor people skills.
    agathamorse, oldsomeman and BetterNow like this.
  8. fraisier

    fraisier Established commenter

    I am taking a very French approach on this: https://community.tes.com/threads/i...stress-and-email-volume.787722/#post-12766813

    It deeply irritates some people in my school but to hell with it, I am sticking to my guns, this email and data perma-shower has become ridiculous. I’m no hero, I'm taking calculated risks, I will retire soon, either 2020 or 2021 (I haven’t decided yet, it'll depend on a few things and how the cookie crumbles in my school) and for reasons I won’t go into (but mainly to do with my school’s problems to recruit, and retain – not a bad school but even decent schools have that problem these days), I know they won’t try to make my life more difficult than necessary. Last time the Head of MFL had to advertise for a French-Spanish teacher, he got 2 replies – unsuitable ones. The supply teacher who filled in the position meant well but was dreadfully out of his depth. We had a similar situation 2 years before in our dpt and it's the same in Maths, Sciences and a few other areas.

    Unfortunately, the younger members of staff in my school don’t have my latitude to rebel as the system has gone them firmly by the proverbials, unlike lucky me who can afford to be a maverick for the next two years. So, instead, the young uns vote with their feet. To wit, they leave. To the private sector or abroad, or leave teaching altogether, a great shame as many of them are very talented I find. Our Head of IT will be leaving in the summer, a talented young man who is very popular with pupils and staff alike. But who has had enough after 10 years of teaching for too many reasons to list here but I'm sure you have an idea. He’s planning to run a B&B with his wife in Yorkshire. Not because he loves cleaning other people's mess and getting up at 5 or 6am to prepare breakfast etc. for (what I imagine is) a pittance but because they've both had more than enough of the situation in teaching.
    agathamorse, maggie m and BetterNow like this.
  9. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I don't have e-mail on my mobile phone - too intrusive. To my mind no school should expect that, even when the technology exists.

    I used to deal with school e-mails whenever it suited me on the home PC, as with most school work that lasted beyond the formal working day. That's just how it was.
    Oldfashioned likes this.
  10. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    I hardly ever respond to them at work, let alone at home. If it is important, the sender can come and find me and talk to me. If it isn't, they'll never notice I didn't respond. The latter probably happens with about 90% of the emails.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    My approach too. I remember my late father teling me his work load management strategy long before email. He was supposed to clear his desk each night, the expectation being he would stay to deal with memos .At 4.30 dad would throw everything he hadn't dealt with in the bin. He thought most of it was rubbish and if it was important someone would speak to him. This very rarely happened.
    oldsomeman and agathamorse like this.
  12. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    Emails out of hours clearly add to workload and stress levels. This is why I would never have them on my phone and why I won't check work email at home.

    I once had an argument with a director of learning in a FE college about my lack of checking emails at home. I was the acting head of dept and she thought I must be checking them at all hours. I explained that nothing in the college was life or death and first thing in the morning when I got in was fine. I ended up putting in a complaint against her as she constantly went on about it.
    agathamorse and BelleDuJour like this.
  13. Braindead101

    Braindead101 New commenter

    My policy is to wait until the request has been made for the third time before responding - that proves the person sending the email really is interested in the response I make.
    I don't have work emails accessible at home as a point of principle.
    agathamorse and BelleDuJour like this.
  14. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I work p/t and only ever check emails when I'm in school, NEVER from home.
    When I began teaching there were no emails...............and the world of education did not come crashing down because no-one could be contacted outside of school.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    I only look at emails 8:30 to 15:00. I also have about 8,000 emails in my inbox. Maybe I should do something about that.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    And the HT or DHT wouldn't have phoned you 11 o' clock on a data matter too often.
  17. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    There should be a delete-all option.

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