Do You Give Parents Your Cell Phone Number? Why or why not?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Being 27, I'd say I'm part of the cell-phone/facebook generation, but I cannot imagine giving a parent my cell phone number or friending them on any social network! :eek:

    I guess because teachers are having more and more responsbility dumped on us and taking so much home to do (ie: i have to grade papers, enter them into the computer, then into my hard copy gradebook, then write "comments" on them like "your venn diagram is very informative" if I want to hang them up) that I like knowing that I don't have to talk to a parent during my evenings and weekends.

    I feel so accessible all the time -- parents don't mind popping in during your lunch break/after school/5 minutes before school to "chat", so having my cell phone as a last barrier is nice. E-mails can also be a pain because if you don't answer right away, parents complain.

    When a parent is transferred directly to my room, I feel a little irritated because I'm often in the middle of something and it's unexpected (99.9% of the time only the secretary and other teachers call us on our phones).

    I can see if a parent called my cell phone and I click "ignore" or don't click over from the other call I'm on, the parent being upset and complaining.

    One of my co-workers, who is also in her 20s, is the complete opposite. The majority of parents in her class have her phone number and she'll text them sometimes during the day to ask questions, give updates on their child, etc.

    More power to her :thumb: but I just can't see myself being that dedicated unless -

    1) I have a child with severe physical/emotional issues that require immediate contact with the parent

    2) I'm taking the students on an overnight field trip and/or on a faraway field trip

    3) The county starts requiring us too :lol:
     
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  3. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I live in a small town, and teach at a small parochial school, so it's a bit different for me. It is the culture at our school to give your phone number out for parent phone calls in the evenings. Since I only have a cell phone, parents have my number. I tell parents at the beginning of the year not to call after 8:30 and that I might not be able to get back to them immediately. I have never had a problem--I only get a few phone calls, mostly at the beginning of the year when they are getting used to routines, assignments, etc. (Although, I do often let it go to voicemail, and then call them back, especially for certain parents!)
     
  4. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    I block my numbers if I make after-school calls from home. 1) I don't want parents using those numbers and 2) I don't want my students figuring out that is my number!

    I have a friend who gives parents and students her # and lets them text her with HW questions. It works for her but makes me leery. She says it takes away from any excuses that she isn't accessible (or that kids couldn't do HW/projects bc of questions) -a lot of our families don't have internet but almost everyone has access to SOME sort of phone.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    If we're on a field trip and splitting into groups, I put my cell phone number on all students' and chaperones' information cards they carry with them...no big deal. On a typical day I only answer calls from those in my phone's contact list anyway—just about every single call is from my husband, sister, or mother—so if a parent decided to keep my number I wouldn't answer the call anyhow, I wouldn't respond to a message left, and wouldn't be expected to by administration. So, in general there is no need to give parents my number, but I don't guard it like Fort Knox either. :)
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    A few of my parents have it. Some of my drama students have it. When I take a group to New York later this year, those students and parents will get my number. I don't print it on my business cards, though.
     
  7. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I'm so with you on the leery part. It just seems weird somehow...as a kid I had a few teachers that would call my parents from their house and I always thought it was so weird to see their name on the caller i.d.

    That's a blessing you only get a few calls! My parents highly respect teachers since we have so many in our family, but I know they would've been the type to (as the kids say in this area) "blow up" the teacher's phone. They would've definately called the teacher at least twice a week about missing homework, bad test scores, etc.
     
  8. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    No, I do not give out my home or cell number. Never have and never will. If the school requires it then they can foot the bill for my cell and home phone.
    Reasons: 1. The parents can access me through email which I do check around 6:30 each night. Yes, parents know I check it at that time.
    2. I have voice mail at work where they can leave me a message 24/7. I can access my voicemail24/7.
    3. My spouse goes to bed very early because of his job. Therefore, I do don't want anyone calling and waking him up, nor do I want our limited family time taken up by phone calls.
    4. In my opinion 99 percent of the calls can wait til morning. For example, I sent home a note saying students can bring in a healthy snack. A parent called to say she read my note and wanted to ask if I was providing the snack or should she send in a snack each day. I explained the student needed to bring a snack from home. Next question, can I send in something like a candy bar or potato chips? No, the snack needs to be healthy. Next question, do you provide the students a drink, like a cup of juice or a water bottle? No, I am not
    that wealthy! Ridiculous!
    5. I have a hard enough time letting go of work when I leave. I really don't need to invite work to intrude on my personal life.
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    :yeahthat: If ever the administration starts requiring us to give out our cell phone numbers, I'm printing out your post because those are great reasons (though i can totally see the county shelling out for cell phones for teachers so we can be reached whenever they want us...talk about a Brave New World)
     
  10. 5throx

    5throx Rookie

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    There's not a chance in this world or the next I would give that number out (or friend a parent on facebook). The only parent with whom I am friends with on facebook and who has my cell phone number is one of my teammates whose daughter is in my class (she doesn't want to teach her own kids), but under normal circumstances I don't tell parents or students my phone number, I don't friend anyone on facebook unless I know exactly who they are and that they have no connection to the parents or students in my class.
     
  11. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    That's a blessing you only get a few calls! My parents highly respect teachers since we have so many in our family, but I know they would've been the type to (as the kids say in this area) "blow up" the teacher's phone. They would've definately called the teacher at least twice a week about missing homework, bad test scores, etc.[/QUOTE]

    I forgot to add that we don't have a phone system at school. So parents can call us, but can't leave a voice mail (only a message with the secretary for us to call back). I also don't have e-mail at home, so I can't check it in the evening. I do tell parents that e-mail (or message through our online grading system) is the best way to contact me, so they usually only call to ask things like HW questions. I know one other teacher had to have a conversation with a parent about when they should call, and when they could just e-mail or send a note.
     
  12. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    The only parent that has my number is the Room Parent. In friendly words, I told her to only use it for Room Parent responsibilities that can't wait (Maybe if she's out shopping for an upcoming party and needs clarification on something).
    I will add that I do not answer phone calls from parents. I had a mom get my number because she was a teacher at my same school. She went on the staff phone tree and got my number. I ignored every one of her calls. I did email her the next day saying I got her message and I'd answer her questions via email.
    I told my parents I am off at 3:45 every day and on weekends and not to expect an answer back on the email until I return back to work. I also then said that in reality I don't leave work til 5 and I am usually working on the weekend so they probably will get an answer, but not to expect one. :)
     
  13. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I am mixed...I give some parents and not others. It depends on the relationship I have with them.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I absolutely wouldn't do that. That's just my personality. I tell parents that the best way to reach me is through e-mail, and they'll get a much quicker response that way. I check my e-mail several times a day at school, and several times at night too. I do have a phone with voicemail in my classroom, and of course I do give that number to parents, but still tell them I'll be able to respond more quickly via e-mail.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My contract day ends at about a quarter to two in the afternoon. I'm not going to be making myself available all afternoon and evening long to field calls from parents when I'm not getting paid for that. Perhaps this is a simplistic view of the situation, but it works for me. I think that we teachers do far, far too much for far, far too little pay. If we stopped being SO accessible and SO ready to jump at a moment's notice, maybe we'd have a better time. Certainly from a personal perspective being available to parents at all hours of the day and night isn't good for me. My afternoon/evening time is for my family, not for anyone else's family.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    No. They have the school phone number.

    I give them my school email address.

    I've never had a request for my home/cell number, and I wouldn't give it.

    The only time I've ever given that info out was when I was coaching Speech and Debate. (before cell phones.) A kid who was too sick to compete would call me to tell me not to hold the bus. In 18 years of coaching, not one kid abused it.
     
  17. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    No, but my teacher friend in New Jersey(charter school) does. The school gave her a cell phone and students can call her until 9 p.m. She says she only get 2 calls a week. I don't like that idea!!
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Parents of students in my class can leave me voice mail which goes directly to my email or send me an emil. The school office has my cell number if I'm needed at any time I'm away from the building. My tutoring families have my cell number..so my number is 'out there' but generally only friends and those with whom I work call me on my cell.
     
  19. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I give it out to chaperones on field trips and parents of my club students so they can contact me when we are away at weekend competitions. When I coached a non-school team that my students were on, I also gave it out to the team members. They called me on rainy days to see if the games were canceled, but they never abused it.
     
  20. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I have a few parents of former students on my fb and one current parent (when I friended her, she was the parent of a former student, but I've since had two other of her children in my class).

    I generally don't give out my cell number to parents. I can't say that I wouldn't, it's just that the need doesn't outweigh the potential headaches at the present time.
     
  21. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I don't give out my cell number. It is pretty much reserved for family and for making it easier for me to make my own appointments during breaks in my day.

    My home number is in the phone book if someone really needed to get hold of me. There are times I have given a parent my number without thinking about it, such as when we are on a field trip or maybe they are running late and call the office, the secretary will check with me and I will give them my number to call me.

    I broke down last year and started emailing parents. I didn't want to be in that position, because then they feel you are obligated to answer them in what they think is a timely manner, and I often don't use the computer at all at home. But, those parents were extremely respectful and the email worked great. I am using it again this year, and have sent mass emails in lieu of notes home (had lots of computer problems at home and school so could not print anything!).

    These parents are also respectful and don't bug me. If I had someone bugging me, I would quickly wean them off email by asking them to stop by before the bell or after school to talk.

    And I have to say, I think it is the height of rudeness for anyone to expect you to get on the phone when you are conducting class and in charge of supervising and teaching a room full of kids! Our previous secretary would interrupt my lessons constantly via the intercom. grrrr. When she started transferring parents into my room, I nipped it in the bud quickly. Told her she may NOT interrupt my class for a parent call unless it is an emergency. She may take a message and I will call them back.

    Our new secretary never uses the intercom! Sigh.
     
  22. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    At my school, we have phones in each room so the parents can call us at school (most don't).

    I have had to call some on my cell phone though because our system is set up to not call long distance and a lot of our new-to-district families still have out of area phones. So I have to call them via my cell. I haven't had any call me though, so I guess it's no problem for me.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jus thought of this- I've never been asked but have gotten a few more "involved" (to put it nicely) parents this year. There are other teachers in the building that do give out cell numbers. If you don't give yours out, what is your response when a parent asks for it, especially if they bring up that other teachers do allow them to call their cell phones? How do you say no without sounding like, "I just don't want you to bother me at night?"
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You don't have to justify not giving out your personal cell phone number to parents. You just need to tell them that they can contact you via email or leave a message at school and you'll get back to them as soon as you can. If they persist, just repeat yourself, and keep repeating yourself until they back off.
     
  25. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nothing wrong about not wanting to be bothered at night. If a parent requested my number, I kindly said I'd need them to email, and they persisted...well, I'd have no problem saying home is home, not my place of employment.
     
  26. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I do not give out my cell number to parents. I don't want them calling me at all hours of the day. One of our teachers does and parents were calling her this summer while she was on vacation. Blech.

    Parents can email me or call me at school and I'll get back to them ASAP. That's enough for me.
     
  27. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    How does that work for you? Have you ever had a parent become upset that they didn't get the number but say you gave it to Little Sally's mom?

    Even though I'm a teacher, I could see myself being upset by that because it doesn't seem fair (even though realistically, life never is and as you know all parents are NOT created equal)
     
  28. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have never had a problem with parents becoming upset.

    My husband is an Ag teacher. Most of his students have his cell phone number. He spends a lot of time in non-traditional settings, so it is important for his students to be able to get ahold of him. Some of his students have my cell phone number since I act as sponsor for several of his trips. It has never been a problem.
     
  29. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Whenever I call parents in the evening, I always call from my cell phone. I've never blocked my number and I've never had a parent call me because they had my number.

    Last week, though, I called a parent and she asked if she could call me back in 10 minutes. I said, "Sure. You've got my number."

    A few years ago, I had a parent who'd email me at 2 or 3 am on an almost daily basis with random questions/comments/concerns about her son (no--she didn't have a job, so it wasn't like that was the only time she could email me). Needless to say, this parent did NOT have my cell phone number. She had some major issues, though!
     
  30. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    For a long time our school put out a directory that gave out our HOME NUMBERS (it was a cell for me even then, as I have not had a home line in like, 8 or 9 years.)

    The administration realized this was crazy... however, only once during the couple of years that was the case at my school did a parent really call and harass me. A few times I got calls about incidents or questions about homework. Mostly, they never called.

    Then, we had a no personal information thing going on. Parents were given our classroom phone numbers and work email. This is okay....

    However, THIS YEAR I gave my families my cellphone number. Why? If I make a call home, my number IS going to be on their caller ID. If we go on a field trip, I put my cell on the information sheet that I give chaperones.

    Since they have "sneaky" ways of getting my number anyway, I would rather just give it up front with some perimeters for contact. I put it right in my welcome letter. I just know if I see an unknown number from that area code (which is different from where I live) I will screen it and let them leave a message. Most everyone who calls me is in my phonebook anyway.

    No one has called yet, but I have made some calls TO parents from my cell.

    I almost NEVER remember to check my work voice mail! If a parent only contacted me on that number, I would never get back to them in time.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    The ONLY time I've EVER had a parent use the number to call me back was this past summer.

    I was teaching an SAT prep course and her son passed out. We were renting a conference room in a Church; there was no administration or anyone else around. I called her from his cell, and she took him to the hospital.

    I called her from my cell that afternoon to ask how he was, but they were still at the hospital. She returned my call later that evening. I was so glad she did.
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Parents (and students) have my school phone number and email and they are encouraged to use those means of communication. I've only given out my cell phone number a handful of times--in all cases it was because of potential emergency situations. I'm the only one in our phone book with our last name, so if someone wanted to reach me at home, it wouldn't be difficult at all. No one ever has.
     
  33. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    No way! I do not have an "on call" job, so I will not be on call 24 hours a day. I can not think of an emergency situation where a parent would need to call their child's teacher at home (with the exception of something like Alice's situation). Any questions can be asked through email or can wait until the next day.
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree, DP. I don't expect to have phone calls anywhere other than at school. When I have given my number, it has been in cases of students and families in crisis, where waiting until the next day wouldn't have been an option.
     
  35. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't give my cell phone number out because I don't want any parents calling me on it. They can reach me at the school or my school email.
     
  36. student1st

    student1st Rookie

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    Heck no! I made the mistake of calling parents from my cellphone and I still have a parent ,who child has passed on to another grade, to ask me questions related to school policy during summer break. The school was open why didn't she call them I do not know.
     
  37. mstomica

    mstomica Rookie

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    I don't give my cell numbers out to parents. I tell them to reach me at the school or email me. I use to but I stopped because some parents just over did it . They felt they could call me for any and everything. Or they would text me about everything that could think of, it got to be too much for me so I stopped. I had a co worker who gave her number out to the parent and the student of this parent got the number and started calling and hanging up, playing on the phone and she had to end up reporting him. My home number use to be in the phone book and students would get it out of there and call me when I first started teaching, so again, it was just too much!
     
  38. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I had a parent find me on Facebook last night and send me a personal message. I was shocked. TOTALLY inappropriate.
     
  39. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    A lot of my parents have my cell number because of the number of trips we have. We have trips that are out of state and several days long. I get calls about trips, etc. One good thing is that I really don't get a cell phone signal at my house unless the phone is on the shelf by the kitchen window and most just don't even bother to call me because of that. They will look up my home number and call sometimes.
    Most of my kids have my cell number, mainly because of our trips and summer activities. I really haven't had any abuse it.
     
  40. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    No, I never have. And as another poster stated, I never will. My parents can reach me via email or my voice mail at school. I am entitled to a private life.
    If my district ever wanted me to hand out my number, I would seek the advise from the union, or my lawyer.
     
  41. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I don't give out my cell phone number or my house line. My apartment address is actually in our family directory, but thankfully no one has ever driven to my place to ask me something :)

    My private school (with rich families) does not expect me to answer emails after 3:30. The rule is the teacher is allowed 24 hours to answer your e-mail-- so if you send it at 5pm and teach doesn't answer it until 9am, you can't complain (or well you can but the principal is not going to want to deal with your nonsense).

    Do I still answer emails? Yes. If its a homework question or technology issue, I will. If its "I just want to complain about what a bad teacher you are", they are put on the waiting list. I'm too tired and can be in a bad mood after work-- I want some "me" and family time. (Understandably)

    Btw I'm 26 and so I get facebook/email/texting, but I am your child's professional educator-- not your friend or buddy, so I wouldn't even think of adding or accepting a friend request at Facebook or even dare text them (that doesn't seem very professional to me). There's communication and then there's "break the boundary of professionalism" communication.
     

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