Slice of Life: Still Living In An Email World

In some ways, I am built just right for this shift to Distance Learning. I write that somewhat tongue-in-cheek since I miss my students so much and know this (points to computer) will never replace that (points in general direction of school).

But technology is something I have long explored and utilized, and feel quite comfortable with, for myself and with my students, so the shift in the respect of how we do things online isn’t so bad.

Except for the emails.

Even with full use of Google Classroom, which contains discussions pretty nicely enough, the sheer load of emails coming in, from administrators, from colleagues on my team, from parents and family members, from students (from technology companies, somehow temporary avoiding the spam filter to pitch me the next best thing for my students) … it’s all overwhelming at times. I am just as bad on my end of the email chain, sending out regular emails to students as a complement to our video chats, to remind of this and to urge them to do that.

If I am looking at my school email bin and taking a deep breath of near despair before diving in to follow the threads, I wonder how my students are doing with their school email (which is something new for them, activated once we left school for Distance Learning, although they have had other Google Apps for Ed platforms for use all year).

I know for a fact that email is NOT their first choice of communication and for many of my sixth graders, this may be the first time they either have any kind of email of their own or have needed to rely on it for information and connection. Some barely glance at their email. Others are finding it another way to connect with classmates.

I have a colleague who has resisted Google Classroom for assignments during this time and instead, assigns content and asks students to write responses in Google Docs (sometimes more than one each week) they create in their accounts, and share it with him. Just thinking of the avalanche of email notifications they must be getting from our 75 students each week makes me groan under the weight of it all.

We’re still living in an email world. Take that, Tik Tok.

Peace (the bin is nearly full),

  1. “…the avalanche of email notifications…” Yes, an apt description, indeed. The inability to stop by a colleague’s classroom to have a quick conversation, or physically write something on the whiteboard in front of students is frustrating. And the way you describe the experience for your sixth graders, oy! This must feel so strange to them. Maybe we should shift all of our teaching to Tik Tok dances?

  2. Emails! Group texts! All the information coming in is staggering and you are right, an avalanche! I am glad that my fourth graders do not have email, that would be too much for them!

  3. They pour into our lives non stop. They overwhelm us at times. Some are welcome, many are not. Emails are egregious! On a brighter note you have introduced your students to a broader concept of communication within the on-line world. The capacity to step beyond your comfort zone obviously varies between individuals, but you will no doubt gather converts. Kevin, you and your students remain risk takers- that’s what is important.

  4. Yes! And it all makes me very distracted! I was complaining about being too distracted to read in my kindle app on my phone and my friend said, “of course! That’s where all the communication is! Constantly!”

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