Communication Changes

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October 10, 2015 by Dr. Robbie Barber

True story:  I have two children at stages of college in different parts of the country.  My mother decided to surprise and delight my children by sending them spending money in the form of a mailed card and check.  She was disturbed two weeks later when neither child had sent a thank-you note.  Now, she was expecting an email thank-you.  I think the time it takes for U.S. mail to arrive annoys her and she expects the grandchildren to keep in touch.  I finally sent a text my children and asked if they had received a letter from Grandma.  In the two weeks, neither child had gone near, nor even considered, their campus mailbox.  It is simply not in their routine.  Needless to say, both children sent a lovely email with current selfie to their grandmother and everyone was happy.

When I went to college (decades ago) I went by the mailbox every day.  I may not have gone on Sundays, but for the 4+ years of college, I went by the mailbox every weekday.

Now think about this.  E-mail was acceptable but sending money electronically was not.  Regular mail was expected by one generation and an exception by another.  It’s a matter of assumptions, lifestyle changes, and how we communicate.

Now think about school communications.  Do you communicate with your colleagues using email? Flyers? E-flyers? Morning announcements?  How do you contact your students and / or their parents?  How do you let your principal know information?

We have a plethora of communication tools.  Some of my teachers use Google Voice to contact parents.  Some of my classes use Remind or Edmodo.  Our Parent Liaison uses a calling tree to contact parents.  We have a school website and twitter account.  In some ways, there are too many choices and I am afraid that different people expect to be contacted by different methods.  Are communications in the digital age harder than ever before?  I think it is.  What do you think?

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