Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My Lands! A Letter-Writer Responds...

I am excited.

I found someone who still claims to write letters. Wow. And I'm assuming that we're not just talking about the occasional birthday card or note accompanying a box of hand-me-downs, but actually letters. Like they used to do back in the 80's.

The letter writer (concerning my recent thrill concerning the prospects of the imminent death of voice-mail):
I don't understand this post. Are you saying that we should all communicate electronically? Goodbye to letters and phone calls and hello to only emails and tweets? Whoa. I'll pass.

Thank goodness the pony express managed to get me this message only minutes after I posted my original comment online!

Kidding aside, no one is trying to take away your letters or phone calls (though I, for one, probably won't be able to read your handwriting and I really don't have time to gab on the phone). Moreover, in terms of being an effective teacher-communicator, I definitely see little use for voice-mail. Email and Tweets are ample and effective ways for sharing information quickly with parents. I've been boycotting voice-mail for six years now and have never had a problem effectively communicating with a parent.

And I could only imagine that were I to leave messages on their voice-mails, they'd just be deleted anyway; email gives me a clear record of what was sent/said/responded-to and when it happened. Which means more accountability and less excuses both for the parents and for me.


  1. Ha! Thanks for responding to my comment with such wit. Seriously though, I know we live in this tech world and we think everyone else does too, but it's just not true. Around 80% of my students and their parents have internet. Do I just forget the rest?

  2. But more than 80% probably have cellphones. So Tweet 'em. You'll keep a record of your Tweets, and they'll receive a text message. They can set up their SMS feed at the public library.

    If they've only got a landline, then by all means, of course -- call them. But in terms of Internet access, there are options.

  3. Not to keep going back and forth, but I feel that I must get to my real point: human. Technology takes us farther away from true human interaction. I enjoy technology; I use it in some way everyday in my class; it's convenient, blah blah blah. But it's okay to take a break, back away from a computer screen and actually use your voice and/or your body to communicate with another human being. That's not old-fashioned. That's human. There are things I can't say to you (or to anyone) through this blog or email. Certain connotations and tones and emphases...You're in a 1:1 school. You're one in a billion. You're not the norm. You're the exception. A lot of people are saying, "Hey, get with the times. Computers are the present and the future." On the other extreme, "Hey, these internets are the devil." I'm at neither extreme. There is a middle.

  4. I've got responses to this debate:

    @AtlantaTeaher1976 - How businesses do you know that don't use a computer or some sort of technology on an hourly basis? Most businesses have a computer for each person who works there. Why should we not model this method in our school and prepare our students for what is ahead of them, like it or not.

    At the same time, I'm trying to instill the concept of a quality, hand written thank you note. We, as individuals write thank you notes for all kinds of things (classroom guests, field trips).

    I really see room for both but truly believe we do students a disservice if we aren't modeling the "real world" in our classrooms. (I'm not a 1:1 classroom)

    @Teachpaperless - I picked out one in your post that is very important. TIME. Educators don't have enough time. Too much testing, too many meetings, too many mandates and programs. When do parent calls, home visits and everything else fit in?

    Thanks for letting me spout off my two cents!


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