Email is the next topic on the Together Teacher schedule. I have joined up with Kelly @ An Apple for the Teacher to work through the process of becoming a better organized teacher. So far I can many improvements, but I still have a way to go. The process has been wonderful, and I highly recommend reading The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin. She does not prescribe a certain product that you have to go out and buy, but rather helps you through the process of looking at the various things that often get us into a mess.
The current chapter helps us look at email in such a way that it will no longer be our enemy!!! I used to love to check my emails, but lately it has become such a job!!!!!! I looked at my inbox and could not believe that I still had several unread messages from back in 2012! What the @#$! I have been so guilty of signing up for updates to various teaching websites, shopping sites, and just random stuff. Then, I get so overwhelmed with the sheer number of emails I get - hundreds a day!!! Really!!!!
I think the best advice that the author gives us is the right to Declare E-mail Bankruptcy! Wipe that email box clean - just this once. Start from scratch and get things set up the way it needs to be. I know - scary right. Surely there is something there that I really need!! But heck, I bit the bullet and pushed that delete button! How in the heck was I going to find what was in their anyway. Even when I did a search I often could not find what I needed to anyway! Will there be something I miss - probably. Oh well!
But you really don't have to start there. She walks you through a way to get organized without being that drastic. You can put your emails into a folder and deal with them a little at a time. That way if there is something there, you might find it - eventually.
The basis of the system is to set up folders within your email inbox. She suggests a few folders, but you can adjust it to meet your needs. Her suggestions are:
- Follow-up - for those emails that take more than 5 minutes to address. Make sure you also note it in your Weekly Worksheet or Comprehensive Calendar though.
- Projects - if you have any ongoing projects you are working on. This will help you find those emails when you need them.
- Meetings - for agendas and other info related to different meetings you might have.
- Administrative - for non instructional matters that you might need again
- Processed - this is that place where you can store those old emails that you are afraid to delete.
- Others - these you will set up to meet your needs.
Once you have the folders set up, this is where the hard work comes into play - you have to create good email habits. You have to decide how and when and how you will check your emails. Don't make it a time-waster! It should be part of your regular routine. She has a suggested STAR method to checking emails:
- Scan for senders and subjects
- Trash non-relevant emails
- Archive relevant emails (use those folders)
- Respond to what's left
Our author also gives us suggestions for writing better emails. How great is that??!!!!
There is so much in this chapter, but I am just eating it up. I wish I had found this earlier. Maybe I would not have had to delete over 8,000 emails!!!!!!!
Let's heard about your email adventures! And don't forget to get your copy of The Together Teacher.