Use E-mail to Communicate with Virtually Everyone
Electronic mail, or e-mail as it is commonly called, is a system that allows you to send and receive near-instantaneous “letters” using your computer. E-mail is the opposite of so-called snail mail, the standard postal delivery of paper-and-envelope mail — still a crucial service yet not preferable when a vital communication needs to be sent and responded to within a few minutes. E-mail can be sent over the Internet or it can be sent to colleagues via an intranet, a local network set up just to handle e-mail traffic within your school or district.
Many people don't realize that e-mail — perhaps the single most-popular service offered over the Internet — actually dates from 1961, well before the Internet as you know it came online. At that time, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS), allowing scientists worldwide to swap files and information.
Use e-mail to communicate with fellow teachers and administrators to complete any number of professional tasks, including many of the following:
Plan lessons across the curriculum with teachers in other subject departments.
Inquire about the dates, times, locations, and content of upcoming seminars and workshops.
Ask about the dates, times, and locations of employee get-togethers.
Compare notes on how well particular students are doing academically in various classes.
Compare notes on how well particular students are doing behaviorally in various classes.
Provide a heads-up to administrators regarding incipient problems with certain students.
Do initial and ongoing planning with colleagues regarding concerts and school programs.
Do initial and ongoing planning with colleagues regarding off-campus field trips.
Ask colleagues for assistance with difficult disciplinary issues.
Ask for assistance and information during emergencies if phones appear to be nonfunctional.
Also, if you are willing, you can include your e-mail address in your introductory letter so parents can contact you with questions and concerns. Your workplace e-mail address is issued to you by your district; memorize it, or keep it written down someplace handy. Regarding your password — you can't access your e-mail without it — memorize that, too, but also keep it written down where no one can find it. Briefly check your e-mail each morning or each afternoon and try to adhere to a policy of answering each e-mail the same day you receive it. True, this is sometimes difficult, but make same-day replies one of your professional goals.