I’m a Teacher E-Mail Delinquent

It’s a good thing for me there isn’t a parent report card. Or at least if there is, I’m glad I’ve never seen mine. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think I would be failing everything. I’m pretty sure my kids’ teachers would give me an A in “Parent-Teacher Conference attendance” (okay, maybe an A-…there was that one time I forgot). But I’m absolutely positive I’d get a D- in “reading and responding to e-mails.”

Every August I resolve to engage more and check e-mails from teachers as soon as I get them. By October, my inbox…well, it’s cringe-worthy.

It’s not that I don’t care about my children’s education. Education is my jam generally, and their education is the most important thing in their lives to me right now. It’s just something about those e-mails! Send me a message about a field trip on an app like Remind? I’m on top of it and respond within the hour. Send me an e-mail about contributing to the fall class party? I probably won’t even see it until two days later, much less respond in a timely manner. (Seriously, my inbox is a disaster.)

And those teachers, superheroes that they are, always reply to my woefully late responses with warmth and cheerfulness. They let me off the hook with their “No worries!” and their “Oh, it’s perfectly fine!”

I honestly don’t deserve these saints.

It’s possible they understand what it’s like to have an overstuffed inbox and accidentally overlook a few important messages (and then irrationally fear them as they sit there in all their boldface, unread glory, silently judging…always silently judging). Perhaps they, too, have every intention of responding to that one e-mail once they get in touch with their spouse. Then somebody calls a meeting, and before they know it, three whole days have passed and somebody else has already claimed the cups and napkins.

Or maybe the teachers are just happy I manage to get the field trip permission slips back on time, and have decided to pick their battles.

I prefer to think that they are extending the same grace and understanding to me that they extend to the small humans I entrust to their expertise five days out of the week. After all, no one understands like a teacher that we’re all just out here trying to do our best. Still, though, as this new school year gets underway, I am once again resolving to be better. My children’s teachers take time out of their insanely busy days to engage with me, and that deserves acknowledgment.

Also, the day parent report cards become a thing, I’d hate to have to feed mine to the dog.

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