HOLLY WAINWRIGHT: A war has broken out over a parent-teacher email.
Reader, the woman who wrote in that parenting forum is Type 1.
And the thing that drives Type 1s mad is that to them, acknowledging an email is such an effortless, tiny courtesy, they don't understand how it could not happen. They don't understand the overwhelm that comes with yet another thing in the box.
Turn your notifications off, say the Type 1s. If the teacher doesn't want to read the email at 11pm when I send it, don't see it to the morning.
I would, say Type 2s, if I knew how.
Email has become work we don't consider work anymore. How many of us plough through our inboxes on a Sunday night? Or on weekday evenings in front of Junior Masterchef? How many of us catch up on admin emails (like sending something to the teacher) just before we go to bed? How many of us can't help but respond to that notification that pops up when you're at dinner/on the toilet/playing with your kids at the park/reading at bedtime?
Almost all of us, that's who.
The war about whether it's okay to email out of hours feels both retro and hyper-current at the same time.
Retro because we are never not communicating, so why would emails be any different?
In an age of working from home, an Out Of Office auto-reply seems almost laughable. What has whether or not you're in the office got anything to do with working, anyhoo?
And hyper-current because we're all trying to claw back some sanity as this year limps to its inevitable conclusion (it has to end sooner or later, right?). And asking to not be bombarded with work things at midnight seems like a very sane request.
But is it possible that, at the bottom of this email stoush about teachers and parents, I actually found an elegant solution? Something that doesn't say to a stressed-out educator YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO ME NOW. Something that doesn't say to a busy working parent WHY CAN'T YOU DO THIS ON MY SCHEDULE?
I have a line on my signature, wrote one woman in the comments, that says:
"I have sent this email at a time convenient to me, please reply at a time convenient to you,"
Well, that sounds a bit reasonable for 2020, doesn't it?
BRB, changing my email signature.
What do you think? What are you emailing the school about and when do you expect a reply?