Teachers and Basic Technology: Should It Be Mandatory?

shutterstock_144342805It’s important that I begin this post by saying how much I love and revere teachers. I respect the teaching profession so much that I decided against joining the field after earning my degree to do just that. My heart just wasn’t in it as much as it needed to be to fully honor the profession.

I believe the best teachers teach because they’ve been called. As the possessors of gifts that include a love of learning, purpose in their passion, and a desire to positively serve their community, there’s no doubt that teachers are everyday heroes.

So it came as a bit of surprise that so few teachers at my children’s school choose to use technology. Now I know the public school system is hurting financially (monthly school paper drives, anyone?), but the teachers at my kids’ school have access to technological resources that few choose to utilize…like email. Yes, email.

For the last seven elementary school years I’ve listened to all but one of Boy Wonder’s teachers warn parents at Back-to-School Night, “Don’t email me. I don’t do email.” Excuse me? What do you mean you don’t do email? This isn’t 1997, and even my 6-year-old does email.

It can’t be that these teachers don’t know how to use email; they’re choosing not to school email addy be damned.

But what about the working parents who are unable to chat during school hours? What about the parent who communicates better via email than over the phone (points to self)? What about the parent who has a non-urgent question? Do I really need to dial into the school office to speak to a receptionist who will then patch me through to my kid’s teacher’s voicemail so I can leave a message where we will then play phone tag for the next four days when all I wanted to know was whether my child would be quizzed on chapter 2 or 3 this week? Really?

And don’t even get me started on the classroom web pages. I don’t know if every public school in America is lucky enough to have classroom webpages where teachers can post assignments, calendars, and general information for parents and students on their school website, but ours does. And a fat lot of good it does. To this day, only one teacher out of the combined nine my children have had, has chosen to utilize this option. What a crying shame.

Boy Wonder’s current teacher admitted, “I don’t use the classroom webpage thing. I’m retiring next year so I’m not going to bother with all that.” To that I say, not ok. So I’m asking, with the tools and resources available, should teachers have a choice?

Listen, I’m a huge believer and supporter of the public school system and my kids attend a freaking great one, but this just doesn’t sit right with me.

As someone who worked in corporate America for years and years, I never had a choice when it came to technology. The efficiency and accuracy of our daily communication and output depended on our ability to keep up with current technology. We didn’t have the luxury to remain complacent in the tools we used and for good reason. If we are to meet the ever-growing demands in business and in life, we need to use the resources available to help us do that! And aren’t the classrooms the first place to start?

Does your child’s public school use basic technology? Does your child’s teacher email?

Teachers, what are your thoughts on emailing parents?

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