How many of you parents receive regular robo-calls from your child’s school, those automated phone messages sent home? I receive three of them a week: one from my son’s elementary school principal, one from my other son’s middle school principal, and one from my principal.
What began as an efficient way to communicate with parents about school events has turned into a regular running show that intrudes into one’s personal life, the calls occurring on the same day at the same time. Almost all of the messages are of the non-emergency kind (thankfully) and are mainly repetitive of what’s on the school’s website or physically sent home to parents via the students. It is very easy to tune out the recorded messages which is not what the people sending the messages want to hear.
However, our lives are overflowing with messages these days, visual and aural. Look at how many spam messages you get on your computer, junk mail you get stuffed in your mailbox, TV monitors in your face at restaurants, market checkout stands, and gas station pumps. Everybody wants to get our attention.
The problem is, when you do the same thing over and over, soon the message will not get through. When you have one person jumping up and down waving one’s arms, it is attention getting. But when you have five people doing it, it all becomes a blur, a kind of white noise.
Just because you can send a phone message home to all students doesn’t mean it’s effective communication.
I wish that those who have the technology used it more prudently and wisely for when a truly important message needs to get to parents, many may have already hung up.
BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of "Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher." He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.