How clear are your parent communication systems?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2021

    I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing some a-hole behavior without intending to.

    Like many, I don't give out my personal number. I just don't see a reason to. There was always a school phone, not to mention handy technology options.

    But I'm teaching virtually from home. We all have Gotoconnect numbers. I use the browser. We call. We text.

    Am I supposed to tell parents this is not my personal number?

    Again, I use the browser. When I'm done working for the day, I close the browser and am oblivious to any attempted communication until the next school day. I'm very clear about my office hours.

    I'm finding a surprising number of after-hours call attempts and confused texts about why I'm not responding. Nothing intense, mind you, and I repeat my office hours. But I'm getting the impression they think they're calling and texting and it's going to my phone...

    To be fair, there's an app. It's in my phone, even. But the notifications are off because it's annoying to have my browser and phone ringing to go off at the same time.

    I know many teachers use Remind, Bloomz, and such. I've seen my kids' teachers office hours. But these are, of course, obvious apps.

    Should I be more clear about exactly where their calls are going, or just keep honoring office hours?

    I'm not annoyed or anything, just wondering if I'm somehow being a jerk for giving the impression I'm ignoring a phone call/text.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 25, 2021

    Some people just expect teachers to be on call 24/7. I never responded to communication after office hours. I even had an auto reply restating my office hours.
     
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  4. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Sep 26, 2021

    By office hours on your home page, can you type a message to let the parents know it is a school app and not your cell phone? Then explain you'll get back to them the next school day. I think it is best to let them know. Not that they have any right to contact you at night, but some parents seriously do not know better. :)
     
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  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 26, 2021

    It would be to your benefit to yourself and to the parents to ensure they know that the "phone number" they are using is a work number that you do not check between the hours of .....

    I've known teachers to give numbers that they check after hours and respond in the evenings and on weekends. Parents may not know that this number is a work number only. Of course, there will be other parents who do expect a response.

    Letting them know may help the issues. Then you have to figure out what the bulk of the calls are about and if something you have said or done has spurred on the calls or one, if the parent is reacting to past experiences such as a teacher who expected all homework to be complete (not just attempted) regardless of the level of the student or the quality of the homework or two, if a previous teacher set the expectation that they are available 24/7.
     
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  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 26, 2021

    Thanks for the perspective. I'll brainstorm some ways of wording that on my page.

    Like I said, no one has been mean, just confused, sometimes a little desperate. I do think there are enough teachers out there who do respond that it muddies the norms, and I think a good number of the younger parents grew up in a world where calling/texting outside of official hours was somewhat common.
     
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  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Sep 26, 2021

    I would let them know that it's an app and that you don't receive the messages outside of your office hours. I would bet that at least some percentage of the parents are thinking that you'll see their message is "important enough" and will respond right away. Letting them know you don't see the messages in the evenings may make this percentage of parents feel better. I would keep in mind that there will still be another percentage of parents who just flat out don't pay attention to/read anything you send out, and will continue to contact you at all hours wondering why you don't respond. Nothing you can do about that. If you're getting a lot of evening/weekend messages, I might be inclined to put up some sort of automatic out of office reply for certain hours of the day.

    I do think there are many teachers who respond to messages/contact parents in the evening which probably adds to the confusion. Nothing you can do about that either, but don't feel guilty for not being one of those teachers. I do the vast majority of my work during contract hours. The one thing I generally will do at home is emails. I just don't like to be surprised (if I were to wait until the next day to check) and most of the time it honestly doesn't bother me. However, I realized that may be setting a bad precedent with parents (just because I have time to respond this evening doesn't mean I will next time they send a message), so I started typing my reply and doing the "schedule send" thing for the next morning so as not to give the impression that I'm available 24/7.
     
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  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Sep 28, 2021

    Nope. Be clear about your office hours (even though they KNOW what they are and they are ignoring them) and tell them that your app gets turned off at 4pm or whatever time you choose and you will not see the message. If they know you won't see the message until your office hours start again they won't think you are not answering them on purpose.
     
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  9. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Oct 1, 2021

    Could you use a different form of communication. I have used classdojo and remind. I much prefer classdojo. Yes there are other components to classdojo but I love the messaging part. You can set office hours (quiet time) I don't really I just leave my notifications off I just check it frequently. But I am the type of person to send texts late at night because I remember something so I try to reciprocate by being available. (It's my choice to read the texts I dont have to) This year I have to use remind which as a parent I really liked but I am not really happy with it as a teacher. There are a few features on dojo I love and not being able to use it is maddening. I like to send pictures of what we are doing in class I can send them in remind but 1 at a time on dojo i could send 5.
     
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 3, 2021

    I use Remind and ClassDojo for mass texts, which is handy. The phone number seems to have become the favorite choice for parents, though, as it allows calls.
     
    Neil Robinson likes this.
  11. Neil Robinson

    Neil Robinson New Member

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    Oct 15, 2021

    I agree, Remind and ClassDojo are very user-friendly indeed.
     
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