Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Sending Confirmation", the slow and painful way

I continue to be amazed by the processes used at my older daughter's school. I have no doubt that they are doing an exceptional job teaching her and providing her with all of the tools she will need (and in the end that's what's most important anyway), but sortof just like one of the administrators put it to me a couple weeks back, when referring to technology "it's like the new immigrants are teaching the natives".

Natives = my daughter's Pre-K class

New Immigrants = their teachers

So, a week or so ago I get a call to schedule an appointment for my younger daughter to have an 'interview' for preschool. Won't use this space to get into the 'hows' and 'whys' of a preschool interview, but I'm sure they will see she is not a violent threat to her future classmates and will be happy to accept her. So, I gave the registrar my preferred date and timeslot and she said to me "Ok, you've got it, I'll send you a confirmation."

At that point we hung up and I thought for a second, "wait, does she have my email address to send the confirmation?"

And then for a quick happy second I thought "well, they must have a database of all the students and families and I'm sure my email address is in there."

That was just a quick second because the email never came and after checking my junk folder a few times I gave up on it ever coming at all. The confirmation was actually coming (gasp!) via postal mail. I won't go into the thought of how many trees their are wasting handing their communications via paper rather than electronically, but it's also just so inefficient when it comes to sharing information quickly!

This first call took place on a Friday. The following Monday morning I called back because I realized that I wanted to change the appointment and push it back two days. So, we found a new date and she penciled me in (literally!)

She then said "you can ignore the confirmation that you were sent now that we have changed the date." Oh, thanks for letting me know, that confirmation hasn't even arrived yet.

What I would suggest to them to save them time, money, paper, trees, etc... (any one of these will do):

  • Send me an email! Save the paper and postage.

  • Setup an electronic calendar that can be shared when appointments are made. Use Google calendar and shared events, or an Outlook calendar with meeting invites.

  • If sharing the electronic calendar is too complicated, than trust that I will write down my appointment (or enter it into my electronic calendar) and you will also write down yours. We are all adults here (and this can be the first 'test' to see if my younger daughter comes from a family organized enough to be a part of their school).

I should remind myself that I spend most of my day in a happy technology bubble, and I shouldn't have such high expectations of the teachers at the school. I don't expect them to walk around with blackberries, communicate with other teachers via Yammer, and share their class information via Ning sites. But, maybe little baby steps....try to incorporate email a little more into your regular communication.

What if they find out that I'm criticizing them, and decide to keep my younger daughter from attending their preschool??

Something tells me they probably don't surf the blogosphere much, so my thoughts are safe...

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