You can bring a horse to water part 2

I teach video production. One the biggest obstacles I have is the curriculum. The name alone screams hands on course. The curriculum is anything but hands on ( history, scriptwriting, law). In order to compensate for this problem, I try to move quickly through the book work. This leaves more time for hands on work. Sounds like a good plan right? In order to move more quickly I am trying a lot of new things. One of these things is Google Docs. So, I asked my students to get a Google account so I could share things with them. Last semester, I put me exam review sheet online. Normally, my students copy down terms during class time while I review. This year I pulled up my Google Doc of my review sheet on my video projector and passed out the laptops. While I was reviewing, the students took notes in the review sheet. It didn’t work perfect but it was interesting.

This brings me to my point, the morning of my review I emailed several people to tell them about my activity. I invited them down to see either the success or failure of my online collaborative review sheet. I was disappointed because no one showed up or even responded to my email. I realize that people might have had other things to do and that not every email demands a response. However, it would have been nice to have had a ” sorry I couldn’t make it, how did it go?”

This has become a major pet peeve of mine, people who do not respond to emails. In some cases, I don’t believe they are even reading my email, which is just insulting. I researched and read in business situations that email should be responded to within 24 hours. I am sure I have missed an email, on occasion, but I work with some frequent violators. From now on, I am going to reword all my emails to suggest that not responding is agreeing to something. For instance, I might suggest ” unless you hear back, you can pay for tonight’s meal”. Or ” I told my teenage son and his friends that you would let me know if you didn’t want them swimming in your pool while you out of town. ” So unless they open their email and respond they are agreeing to the statements.

The other option is a start a policy that states by not answering an email, you give the sender an option to write their own response from the receiver. So if you send an emailing asking for a day off, if they don’t respond to your own email. You could send yourself an email telling you to take a week.
That all for now.


4 thoughts on “You can bring a horse to water part 2

  1. Hi there,
    I can certainly share your frustration here but the suggested ‘if you don’t respond I take it as ok’ approach is a bit passive aggressive. I’ve had this done to me before and it caused a small war. Perhaps, as is the approach in this MOOC, you could try to establish a network amongst your colleagues, a few people who share an interested in development etc. you help them reflect and they help you etc. or maybe if no one is into it then look for a network outside of your work place.
    Thanks for the interesting post.

    1. Caleb most of what I said was in jest but it is frustrating when you can’t get a response to your email. I wasn’t talking about fyi emails but genuine I need help with this problem emails. If we want to be viewed as professionals we most conduct business in a professional manner. I have heard about people who just delete emails rather then respond. I sent an email requesting help with something last year only to get no response. A month later, I resent the same email and copied several other people. This time I got response, but it was too late to solve my problem. I prefer a bad response to no response. Had the person responded, I could have made other choices or prepared myself better for the upcoming situation. Where I work it seems to be a problem.

  2. Chris, I am a high school band director and I face similar problems. I too try to keep my class time focused on the “hands on” – in my case rehearsing with instruments. Having a class blog and students blogs really helps as students complete their written work and research on their blog outside of class and I’m able to give them one-to-one feedback through comments. Blogging also allows me to hear my students practice at home as they sometimes post videos and audio recordings of their work.

    As for emails – I send out marking period email newsletters to about 180 different emails each marking period using Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp tracks who opens and clicks on the email links. I find I’m in the same situation as you. Out of 180 emails 127 were not even opened at all. Out of those who did open the email, only a handful actually click on the links. The thing is – you need to keep sending those emails, newspaper articles, and get your class out into the spotlight. I find that most teachers and administrators don’t realize or understand that subjects like music or video production are important. We have to show them – “look at what students are learning!” Imagine if a math or English teacher had to prove to their peers that their subject matter was important? I feel you pain and frustration.

    1. I agree with keeping your class in the spotlight. If a math teacher has trouble explaining a concept in class one day no one ever knows. However, if you put on a bad concert or broadcast the the whole school sees the result of your efforts. Some years my students have brought a lot of recognition to the program. This year we are struggling. We added a extra class period to the schedule a few years ago. This extra period has added more students to my roles but they have to prioritize their work. The core subjects get more attention, so students spend little time on my work.

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