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-   -   Classroom Management Parent communication boundaries (http://www.proteacher.net/discussions/showthread.php?t=623129)

charmed12 08-05-2019 09:59 PM

Parent communication boundaries
 
Hi guys,

I read about teachers using all kinds of apps to stay connected to parents throughout the day - even past the work day. I personally set limits and let parents know at the beginning of the year (and throughout the year) that I don't check email after 5 pm on weekdays, and Fridays after 4 pm + weekends. My auto email reply is always set every Friday for MY peace of mind..esp when I get that parent who emails 3-4 times a week. Best advice my director gave me when I first started teaching was: wait 24 hours - there is no need to reply right away. I would get anxiety my first year, hearing and seeing the notification on my phone after hours. So I took the work email off of gmail and set it up through the iPhone mail app but I have to go in and refresh to see mail..it doesn't alert me. That was a game changer. Parents who email me at night for an answer won't get a reply until the next morning. I know, some parents dont come home late etc etc..but guess what, nothing is THAT urgent (so far) that needs a reply ASAP. And parents who expect that - sorry, not a doctor who's on call.

So wondering: does anyone else set boundaries? I guess I feel if I don't set it and let parents know, then they expect it and get upset when I don't reply. So for my own sanity, telling them upfront makes me feel better. (I teach 4th btw).

I had to turn off the Remind "reply back" feature bc some parents were using it as email. GAH sorry no. I don't need my phone text tone going off 10 times in a row because you can't click your email app to email me..texting it is the same thing! Sigh. So my form is the school phone or old-fashioned email ;)

MightyTeach 08-06-2019 04:56 AM

Boundaries
 
I definitely set boundaries!! I check my email twice during school hours and each morning before I leave for work - I respond to parents only during school hours within 24 hours. I never text parents and limit my responses in my emails for legal reasons. If a parent should bring a lawsuit against the school - I could be served a subpoena for all text and email messages. At my school, we were advised to never refer to a student by name in our emails or texts. As you can tell - there have been some issues where I work - not with me but other teachers!

kahluablast 08-06-2019 05:00 AM

Me, too!

Many teachers now give out their personal numbers and text parents. I do not do that. I don't want to have to put my phone on silent or receive texts after school hours. I do encourage parents to contact me via email because I do not have to check in until I am ready. And just because I am ready to check it doesn't mean I will respond quickly.

LaFish 08-06-2019 05:52 AM

Boundaries
 
Yes, I did the same. I answered emails, phone calls, and notes in a timely manner usually within 24 hours.
There were some teachers that answered and sent emails/texts at ALL times. I donít know how they did it. One time another student was transferred into my room from another class. P said the parents requested a teacher that kept communication professional. Apparently, the other teacher was trying to keep lines of communication open via text messages but parents felt it was too much.

TeacherPK6 08-06-2019 06:43 AM

Here's what I do (though I don't really say anything about this to parents). :)

-Sometimes I'll respond to an email right away (if it's easy for me to do so), but if it's a more challenging email, I'm busy, or I need more time to think through my answer, I'll give myself up to 24 hours (or till the next business day if it's a weekend).

-I try not to check my email on evenings and weekends! There's really not anything that's going to come through that can't wait until the next time I'm at school. My grade level partners all have my phone number and that's what we use to communicate more urgent needs. Any district or school wide emergencies will also be communicated by phone.

-I do not have my school email linked to my phone at all. When I do check it at home, it's via my laptop.

-I don't give out my personal number to parents. The one exception is chaperones on field trips if we're splitting into groups so they can reach me if there's an emergency. When I do that, I note on the paper that it's for "field trip use only, please."
Hope you're able to figure out a good system that works for you!

Singvogel 08-06-2019 07:52 AM

legal gray area on personal phone
 
I don't check mail on my phone, either. I don't want to offer an opening to use my phone in an investigation.

It also really bugs me that the expectation is that my personal phone should be used for the district's or school's convenience. If they want me to have a phone to conduct my work, provide me with one! Admins get one. I had a colleague who used the fact that she used her personal phone for work as a tax write-off.

I do set boundaries by using Bloomz and setting my "office hours" on the app. Any text message sent after hours will let the parent know that I probably won't respond until the next day. I also set my classroom phone to go straight to voicemail. If there is an emergency ( a real one), they can call the school office.

Gromit 08-06-2019 07:57 AM

I used to respond immediately at all hours not because in thought the parent deserved it but because 1) I didn't want it hanging over me or 2) I didn't want to forget. I also didn't want to not read the emails until the next day because I didn't want to be blindsided ten minutes before class started.

But then I got the Boomerang app for Gmail. It lets me respond immediately but set the email to send within contract hours. It's the perfect solution. It doesn't give parents the idea that I'm available 24/7, but I don't have emails hanging over my head.

KetchupChips 08-06-2019 07:59 AM

Up front
 
I tell parents both in writing (intro letter sent first day) and at Back to School Night when I’ll check email. I ask parents to use Bloomz to email me. I like keeping parent emails and my school email separated. I also use Bloomz for class updates, notifications, posting of documents, and sign ups (excellent for parent conference sign ups). There’s quiet time that I can set up as well. Parent emails are replied with a message stating it’s quiet time and I may not respond back yet. Of course I can respond if I want.

I check email before school, after school and only during the day when possible. However, my focus is on the students and instruction. Urgent messages (like pick up information that the child needs to know) can be relayed through the office. So basically, I check email during my work hours. My quiet time starts 1 1/2 hours after dismissal. I don’t set notifications. There are enough distractions already.

I’m also at the door five minutes before the bell, greeting the kids. And I dismiss kids from my room so I’m standing outside. Those are also times parents can talk to me.

I believe in setting those boundaries. Of course I do have flexibility with parents and will often reply back quickly if possible. However, if parents don’t respect my boundaries, they will not receive quick replies, maybe not for 24 hours! <!--giggle-->

I will not give out my personal phone number, even when asked. No way!

Good luck and all the best in the new year everyone! :)

knit1purl2 08-06-2019 03:42 PM

I have zero notifications
 
I use Class Dojo and set office hours. I ask parents to email me. I tell them I should be able to reply by the next school day. Urgent questions should go through the office.

On field trips, I never give out my number. I tell them to call the school office in case of an emergency and they can call me. Our bus driver often shares their number.

I do my best not to check email on the weekend, or at least I ignore parent email until Monday.

Some parents are upset regardless of your policy.

Kinderkr4zy 08-08-2019 06:25 AM

I also set boundaries-ABSOLUTELY NOT TEXTS!

I have been using Bloomz and I set my quiet hours to 4:30pm-7:30 am M-F and all weekend. I might choose to look, but I will not answer a message during quiet hours. It sets up for that day that you are busy with YOUR OWN LIFE and arent able to get to messages-and then a parent goes nuts on you because you didnt answer then, and it was "an emergency". No thanks, if they know I never aswer after work, then they will know what to expect.


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