It’s common to receive an email from your teacher concerning an assignment or project. To make it easier, educational institutions go the distance to include teachers’ respective email addresses on their syllabi, school websites or learning management systems.
Students are encouraged to reach out to their teachers with any academic problems they might have and teachers are encouraged to provide students with the necessary support whenever they can.
But are there any limitations to email communication between teachers and students? Are teachers allowed by their institutions and districts to email present and past students for any reason?
Are Teachers Allowed To Email Students
Yes, teachers can email students from their district/school emails or through their learning management systems. However, the majority of educational institutions and districts prohibit communication between teachers and students on social media sites, public video game platforms, and other private messaging services.
These regulations are meant to protect both teachers and students. Male teachers especially, who are easily seen as suspects should refrain from contacting students on their personal emails.
The school’s email will ensure that a record of any communication would be available in the event of an issue or accusation. Teachers who contact students via their personal emails or social media platforms risk their jobs and teaching license.
While there’re cases where a teacher who was relocating may have given a personal email address to their students, it’s still considered inappropriate to communicate with former students unofficially.
In such cases, it’s advisable to provide your former students with your official email address provided by your new school as opposed to providing them with your personal email address.
This will ensure that any communication between the teacher and their former students are appropriate and kept official. Students, in this case, should also be advised to only contact the teacher via their student email addresses.
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Why Teachers Email Students
Districts and educational institutions have policies in place to protect both students and teachers. This is especially true when it comes to how they interact with each other. And while email communication between teachers and students is allowed, there’re limits instituted by districts and schools.
Teachers are allowed to freely communicate with students via school email to communicate reminders, course content, and questions, and help solve any challenges they may be having on any particular topic or subject matter.
To Communicate Reminders
Teachers can send emails to remind students of an upcoming test, assignment, project, or reading material for class. Such emails are not singular as they’re usually sent out to the whole class. Students can even “reply-all” in such emails and all students in the class would be able to see the contents of their replies.
Submit Course Content
At the beginning of the semester or term, teachers may send out emails to their classes with the course syllabus attached. Even in cases where the syllabus can be found on the school’s website or learning management system, a teacher may also forward the syllabus.
Pose Questions Related To Activity
A teacher may send out emails to students over an issue with an assignment or class work. A typical example is a student who submitted the wrong file for an assignment. Most teachers would reach out to the student to alert them of the error.
Provide General Information
Should a teacher have any general information for their class or individual students, emails are considered an appropriate way to communicate with students. Keep in mind that all email communications between teachers and students should be done through the district or school’s email.
Why Teachers Shouldn’t Email Student
With numerous instances of teacher-student relationships publicized over social media and other news platforms, it’s no surprise that districts and educational institutions have and continue to institute policies to protect both teachers and students.
While electronic communication between teachers and students may seem innocent enough, some districts have implemented regulations forbidding teachers from interacting with students outside the school’s learning management system, or school-issued email address.
In the case of social media, some districts even recommend that teachers refrain from following or friending their students on these platforms.
While teachers are allowed to email their students, it’s only allowed through the district or school’s email. Teachers are expected to only contact students on the official school email address.
Any teacher who contacts students through their personal email addresses is in breach of the district and school regulations. Offending teachers could face consequences ranging from a warning to suspension.
Communicating with students outside the official school email is risky as any accusations leveled against the teacher by the student may not be easily disproven. Unlike school email addresses where the administrator would be able to retrieve deleted emails, personal account emails may not be easily retrieved.
No one would be able to moderate the kind of conversation between teachers and students on their personal accounts. As a result, teachers are forbidden from even friending or following students on social media.
Teachers are also forbidden from playing video games with students unless they’re district-approved classroom activities.
While most students might not accuse a teacher of inappropriate behavior without reason, there have been cases where teachers have been wrongfully accused by students. In the event of a student accusing a teacher, simply losing your job becomes the best-case scenario as you stand the risk of incarceration, and losing your license.
This situation becomes especially dire for male teachers who are easily seen as predators, especially at the lower education levels.
As a teacher, you must safeguard both your reputation and livelihood. Teachers run the risk of losing more than just their employment if any problems arise. They can lose their teaching credential and even end up serving some time in jail. It’s important to safeguard your teaching license after years of education.
Emailing a student with your personal email could give a third party the wrong impression. Parents who have no way of ensuring that such communication between their child and the child’s teacher is proper may simply consider it inappropriate.
After all, communication via the school’s official email would provide some peace of mind as they’re assured of the teacher’s intent. On the other hand, knowing that their child is texting with their teacher on Facebook, Instagram or another online platform is cause for concern.
Is It Illegal For Teachers To Text Students
Teachers are learning to adapt to the habits of modern students who rather prefer texting to checking their emails. After all, texting is interactive, and with the introduction of emojis, it’s considerably more fun than typing a long essay in an email.
Unfortunately, parents aren’t very happy about teachers texting their children. This is especially true in the case of male teachers texting female students or female teachers texting male students.
To protect both teachers and students, most districts have implemented policies forbidding teachers from privately contacting students irrespective of their gender. So, to answer the question, we’ll say:
No, most districts forbid teachers from communicating with students except with the district/school-issued email or learning management system. Teachers who text students are in violation of these policies unless the school or the student’s guardian gives their consent.