Answering the Phone During Class

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  1. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    If a parent calls your classroom phone during class time, do you answer it and talk to them or let it go to voicemail?

    I have at times picked it up, never while in the middle of teaching, just depends on what is going on in the class at the time.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I don't have a class phone. I wouldn't take away from teaching time to answer a phone call. ...and I consider all my time ith my kids 'prime time'...I can get voicemail during a break.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't. If there is an emergency, they should call the office.
     
  5. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I used to have a phone in my room but it wouldn't ring in - it would just go to voicemail and I could use it to call in.

    One day it just started ringing. It was really weird. I just ignored it, but the person kept calling back. After the third call, I finally answered it. It was a parent and she kept calling because my phone wouldn't go to voicemail. I explained that I was teaching and that I would call her back. It was just really weird how the phone just kind of did what it wanted that day.

    I don't have a phone at this job.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Our phone system is set up that we can't receive outside phone calls during teaching hours. If a parent calls, the call is re-routed to the switchboard, and the switchboard operator has been instructed to take a message. She isn't supposed to transfer calls into our rooms during instructional time.
     
  7. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Wow, you have a phone in class! And the parents have its number!
     
  8. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Yeah, that was my thought, too!
     
  9. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I have a phone, and generally will answer because I have no idea if it's a parent, or the office needing a kid. If it's a parent, I simply explain that I am teaching, and that they need to call me back. I cannot simply not answer because we get calls from the office, the nurse, the social worker, etc... and they need kids to come down.
     
  10. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

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    I do not have a phone in my classroom at my present job, but the other schools where I have worked I did.

    At my first job, the phone was set to go to voicemail during class time. School employees could press a code to override that, so I knew if the phone was ringing during class, it needed to be answered and I would answer it. Once or twice, I forgot to set the phone to voicemail and ended up answering when a parent was calling, but they were quick calls so it wasn't a huge problem.

    At my second job, the phone had a caller ID. If the call was internal, I answered it. If not, I let it go to voicemail.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I had a phone in the classroom when I taught elementary. It didn't really work so I didn't have to worry about it. I would just have it go to voicemail though. If the office needed a kid, they could just use the intercom.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    You cannot call directly in to our classrooms from an outside line. If there is a phone call for us during the day, it gets put to voice mail. If the caller says that it is urgent, the secretary will buzz in to our classroom to ask if we are available to take the call.
     
  13. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Our phones have caller id, so we know if it is someone in the building or off campus. I usually let it go to voicemail if its an outside call, and then try and check it later. But I have to check the phone every time it rings to see if it is from someone in the building.
     
  14. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I can't imagine being expected, or even allowed, to take a phone call, for any reason, while supervising children in any capacity.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I answer it and tell them I'll call them back. The phone rings 7-8 times, so it actually wastes more time to wait for it to stop ringing (it is LOUD) than to quickly answer it and tell them I'll call them back. Being the special ed teacher, I also sometimes get called out for emergencies (especially with my one emotionally disturbed student), so I have to make sure it's not the office also- and with things like that, they wouldn't be comfortable blabbing all that over the intercom.
     
  16. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    We don't have phones in our classroom. The secretary buzzes the intercom if she thinks it is pressing or we might be available.
     
  17. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    If the phone rings, I am expected to answer it. Outside calls are not routed through until after 2pm, so it will be something considered important enough to interrupt my class.
     
  18. Ranchwife

    Ranchwife Companion

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    We have phones in all of our rooms. I always have the phone set to voice mail so that I never have to answer the phone during class. The phone also has caller ID, so if it is convenient for me to answer the phone during class, I can always see who it is before I answer the phone. 99% of the time it goes to voice mail. If it is the secretary, I'll wait for the voice mail to come through or check for an emailed message. It chaps my hide each end every year that I get a nasty message from the secretary telling me to turn off forward to voice mail. She seems to think that I should drop everything and answer each and every phone call during class. We were doing walk through visits yesterday and a call came into the teacher who didn't have the phone set to forward and the secretary proceeded to call two times in a row - 8 very loud rings. I was glad the teacher didn't answer the phone. Someone came and got the kid that was needed. It was great because I was able to have a discussion with our principal about the phone calls from the office. Hopefully the constant ringing and annoying email will stop now!
     
  19. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    In the schools I worked in, we did have a classroom phone. However, outside people coudln't call the phone directly. The calls went to the office and then the office workers would either transfer the call to our classroom or take a message.

    A lot of times, they would send the call during instruction time. Drove me insane. One school I worked at stopped calling classes all together but would email. Problem is, as a half day kindergarten teacher, I don't check my email at all while my kids are there. So, they would get SO FURIOUS at me for not checking my email and would PURPOSEFULLY call me and then say on the phone, "See, now I'm bothering you, but tell so and so that mom is picking him up (or some other message)." Sigh............

    If it's important, then I don't mind the phone call from an office worker. BUT one time, they sent me an email saying so and so is to ride the bus, sent 10 minutes before school was out. UGH, people bug me sometimes...
     
  20. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I'm a bit surprised at the hostility toward answering the phone that seems to be present from some of us here. I agree that answering a PARENT call during the day is not a good idea. But we are absolutely expected to answer the phone if the office calls. Our office is busy, and doesn't have any teacher-aides, so they cannot come out and get kids they need. Instead, they call, and we are expected to answer. And honestly, I like it that way. I used to work at a school where office aides came and walked into classrooms. Now THAT was annoying... they would knock on the door, walk in, drop off the pass, and 9 times out of 10, say hi to kids, or other kids would want to say hi to them. Bleh.

    I don't really see it as a big deal. It's usually no more than a 5 second phone call. And at the high school level, answering the phone while "supervising children" is really not an issue. We pause the notes for a few seconds, and they all just wait (or continue writing whatever is on the PowerPoint). If they're working on an assignment, they just keep going. It's never been an issue.
     
  21. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I have a phone and I always answer it. It's usually the office or another staff person that needs something. I've never had it be a parent. I couldn't imagine not answering it.
     
  22. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Our secretary would not put a parent call through during class time unless it is really important. If I am not lecturing, it isn't a big deal. My only issue is that I don't have a phone in my classroom, it is in my office and I can only see part of the classroom through the open door.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My cell phone is off. The kids' cells had BETTER be off and in their lockers.

    If a kid's cell phone rings, it's an automatic 5 demerits; no questions asked.

    If there's an emergency call for me, it goes to the switchboard. The secretary will get a sub to cover my class while I return the call.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    All calls come to the main office, and unless we are on planning period, they send the call directly to voicemail. They won't send them to us during class time.
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We also have an intercom system in the school. If the office needs a teacher, they won't use the phone, but will call in to the classroom on the intercom.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I get far, far too many calls throughout a given school day. It's unacceptable.

    The office patches calls from parents through and it's extremely frustrating when I'm teaching, pause to answer, and then have a parent demanding to know why her daughter didn't receive a great score on her recent project or what is being done to the student who called her daughter ugly the day before. I've expressed my opinion and it helps for a little while, but then the parent calls flood in again.
     
  27. beckyeduk8er

    beckyeduk8er Comrade

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    I teach preschool so my situation is a little bit different as I also have a full time parapro. I teach 2 half day sessions (without a break) and often get calls like don't put so and so on the bus. I give all families the school number with my extension. I say at open house and on the 1st home visit that I do not answer the phone during small group instruction (we get push in help for 20 minutes and all 3 of us work with a small group on a leveled activity). The office also knows this and if they call and I don’t answer someone just walks down to the room. I do return calls during free choice time if the children are playing well. The office doesn’t use the intercom in our building often-just for “janitor emergencies”
     
  28. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    A phone in my classroom.... man that would be nice for when I need to make a parent phone call. We have a phone in a supply room on a floor shared with 15 teachers.

    But, to answer you question, if I did have access to a phone, no I would not answer it during class time.
     
  29. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Wow, I cannot begin to see the logic in passing these calls through. So, basically you're supposed to stop in the middle of a lesson and have a conversation with a parent while the rest of the class either 1- sits quietly and listens to the call, or 2- gets noisy, cause, hey, you're not teaching so why not just chit chat about anything and do anything because clearly whatever you were in the middle of wasn't important enough to keep doing.
     
  30. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    We have a phone... It is the way that the office contacts us with information throughout the day. I always answer it, but our secretary often calls to see if we can talk to a parent, or she will just send them straight to our voicemail. Our biggest problem is that the phones don't ring correctly and it is hard to hear them :)
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I observed a teacher yesterday who was having a hard time keeping a hold on her class. At one point, a student had a question and she called on her, right when the phone rang halfway through the girl's question. The teacher immediately picked it up to my surprise and had a short conversation.

    When she was done the student forgot what her question was. I was a bit dumbfounded, and from that experience, I've resolved to pick up the phone and hang it right back up again so the ringing doesn't disturb my class. (Or press the voicemail button if that is an option.)
     
  32. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I would think that picking it up and hanging it right back up would just make the person call back again. I know I would since I would just think that something happened and for whatever reason the call didn't go through.
     
  33. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    True.

    I could pick it up, scream "STOP CALLING!" and then hang up, but then problems arise when it's the office or the principal. :lol:

    I think most phones in schools have an option to send the call straight to voice-mail though.
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Good luck with that. I think it's a terrible idea and will probably result in you getting reprimanded by your supervisor. What if the call is from the school nurse asking for a kid who forgot to come take his meds, or from the front office calling a student out of class because his parent is there to pull him out of school for a family emergency? Be careful with your plan. I can almost guarantee that it's going to backfire.
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Hm. I didn't consider that.

    I guess in that case, I would simply tell the Office people to never patch through parents during class time and send them to voicemail. That way, I'd only get important calls from the office, nurse, etc.
     
  36. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We also have Caller ID on our phones, so when certain teachers call, I've been known to ignore it.
     
  37. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    It's great to think through what we think of as an ideal situation. The reality is that teachers work within school systems and each school system sets things up different. Ultimately I couldn't imagine having to answer a phone call from anyone other than internal people about very quick and important messages. But some have stated that is not the case in their school. Just because you tell the office your wishes, often it is common procedures that end up being what ultimately gets followed, especially if it is a large school.
     
  38. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well, anyone could make the argument that if it is "common procedure" for parents calls to be directed straight to the classroom, then it is disrupting instruction. Therefore, the common procedure needs to be changed and a policy needs to be put into place for ALL teachers.

    I'm sure there are VERY FEW teachers that want to be contacted by complaining parents in the middle of class, and with such dissatisfaction, a complaint made to the principal along with follow-through will elicit a solution.
     
  39. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You may not have the option of just telling them not to send phone calls to your room during instructional time. Different school communities value different things, and some of them value teacher reach-ability and communication above other things. Hopefully you'll find yourself in a school that understands the value of instructional time, but you may not. It's important to keep in mind that your principal and/or district will probably be the ones making the rules about whether you receive phone calls during class, not you.
     
  40. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Absolutely! I was reacting to the line that you would simply tell the office staff not to do it. That might be a first line of thinking but ultimately might not be as productive as you might expect. My personal stance is that I can't believe parents can even call classrooms to begin with. BUT having said that, I recognize each school has its own culture and sometimes it isn't exactly what we want. You can't ignore it, but sure you have the right to ask for change and give your reasoning. You may or may not get it.
     
  41. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    At my previous school we had phones in the room. It would ring differently for internal or external calls. I usually put the phone on mute, therefore it would ring & go to voicemail. Since internally we used the phone as an intercom it wasn't a problem. (that part I couldn't mute) If who ever was calling needed privacy they would just ask you to pick up the phone.
     
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