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40 Hour Workweek

Uncategorized   |   May 5, 2014

Should teachers give their cell numbers to parents?

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Should teachers give their cell numbers to parents?

By Angela Watson

One of my favorite things to do on the blog is to pose questions about various issues in education, including controversial topics, and read the viewpoints of teachers from across the world.

Over the years, we’ve talked about whether teachers should complete school work during holidaysuse collective punishment, and sell the materials they create. We’ve discussed when does “boring” mean “unnecessary” within the context of curriculum and whether schools should buy technology that teachers don’t want. We’ve also debated whether principals should honor parent requests for specific teachers and if the toughest kids should be assigned to the best teachers.

Touch screen mobile phone, in hand on white

Today I’d like to see what your thoughts are on giving out your mobile phone number to your students’ parents. To make it easier and faster for more people to participate, I created a multiple choice survey, but I’m not collecting this data for any purpose other than discussion on the blog.

Take the one question survey below and see how other educators voted. Then leave your comments below if you’d like to explain your opinion. Thanks for participating!

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. I have no problem giving my cell phone to all of my students’ parents. I ask for and call them on theirs, so I feel they too should have the same access to me. In the 3 years I have done this, I have had absolutely no problems whatsoever. Caller ID permits me to screen calls as necessary, so I can choose to take calls or let them go to voicemail. I especially find that texting is a quick and easy way to send brief communication to parents that I KNOW they will receive (Johnny is bringing home a behavior referral ticket that needs to be returned tomorrow, etc) instead of the notes that mysteriously disappear before reaching home. I still send home notes/newsletters, but often follow them up with a reminder text for parents to watch for them. I use Remind101 for group texts, which again ensures that all of my parents who have cell phones (all but 1 out of 25 kids) receive my messages.

  2. I do not have an issue with giving my cell phone to the parents of my first grade students. I feel as if I make that step to create availability for parents, I help with creating a stronger bridge of trust. Considering it is a personal number, I believe it shows that “I want to make myself available for you if you ever need that connection.” I have never had an issue with a parent abusing the privileges of calling my cell phone or creating a situation I felt insecure with them having my cell phone number. Worst case scenario, I have the ability to ignore and block numbers. Typically at the beginning of the year I will go over how I would like the flow of communication to go in my classroom and I explain that email is always the best way to start. However, I understand emergencies arise and you may need to get a hold of me for something, if that is the case, use “this number.”

    1. This is great, Ryan! It sounds like your students’ parents sense that this is something extra you have offered in order to build rapport and trust and really respect the privilege of having your number.

  3. I do not give out my cell or home phone. If parents need to contact me, they can e-mail or call the school. I can actually respond to an e-mail a lot quicker than a phone call. I I don’t contact my children’s teachers during non- school hours. They attend school in a district other than where I work. Do you call your doctor or lawyer during non-working hours? We are professionals and should be treated as such.

    1. I agree that I can respond to emails faster than phone calls. I like to have everything written out, anyway, for documentation purposes. I always feel like what’s said via phone calls is subject to our memories, and emails are a concrete reminder.

  4. I choose whom I give my number to. It’s a judgement call, but most of my parents keep in touch via txting. We are a partnership, I am approachable and should a parent need to reach me on the weekend or evening, then that time must suit them. I’m not that precious that I turn off from my job at 5pm Friday and back on Monday. I’m a mum, teacher, neighbour, coach and wife, I don’t clock off from any of these, it works for us in our small town and community.

    1. Interesting, Megan. I’ve been reading a lot about how there is no such thing as work-life balance: we only have one life, and we shouldn’t try to compartmentalize different aspects of it. I wonder how this plays out practically for you, though–how do you keep from bringing the stresses of school home with you?

      1. Yes, there are stresses, some heartbreaking, some that just simply drive you crazy, but mostly I am laughing about my crazy day. We share a lot of our day with each other at school, support networks are key, just to put stress and concerns into perspective. A problem shared………

  5. I am a special education ED teacher. I have found it useful for parents to have my cell phone number. Rarely do parents call me in the evenings or on the weekends, but, when they do, it is usually important. I always reserve the right to answer or call back when it is convenient for me. I plan to give out my number next school year too.

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