Should teachers give out their phone numbers to parents and students?

Should Teachers Give their Phone Numbers to Parents and Students?

Teaching Tips

If you were a teacher, would you comfortably give out your phone number to parents and students?

For most teachers, giving their phone numbers to students seems more like a recipe for trouble, they will not want to be victims of crank calls.
We live in a digital world today, where phones have caller ID features – like TrueCaller- to deal with crank calls, thus teachers have nothing or little to worry about.

I understand that teachers will want to leave ‘school’ at school. Anyway who would entertain a student calling during dinner time to ask a homework question?

During my teaching experience, I usually give out my phone number to students and strictly stipulate that it is for emergency purposes only.

I argue that teachers should feel free to give their phone numbers to students and parents.

I remember a certain instance where I punished a student at school over an indiscipline case, the student must be the kind that is really mollycoddled at home, and the parent called me after the child reported the issue threatening me over punishing his child. I understand how cosseting some parents can get, and did not want to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Since then I have not experienced such a situation again.

Reasons why you should give out your phone number to parents and students?

There are several instances where I have had parents and students reaching out to me after school hours;

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1. In the case of an emergency.

For instance, a student falls ill and is calling to excuse him/herself from attending classes.
On another occasion where we had gone for a school trip and accidentally a student was left behind by the school bus. Luckily the student had my phone number and was able to contact me before we had gone far.

2. Parents following up on their student’s school progress.

While some parents have tight work schedules and are not able to come over to the school and check on their children’s progress, a phone call would still help.

3. Homework questions.

Not all students are crooks. Determined and hardworking students can request clarification or help on homework.

4. Students taking the time to appreciate my work.

I must admit that this was very encouraging. While most students are not able to thank their teachers on a one to one basis, a text message would serve the purpose quite well.

Problems associated with teacher giving out their phone numbers to parents and students.

There are also several downsides of giving out your phone number as a teacher.

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I have experienced students calling me in the odd hours of the night. Some conceal their identities while others do not. Such students intend to disturb or irritate you. Others can however play tricks with you.
Although most students call to get academic help, I must admit, others are interested in sexual seduction or relationships.

We once interrogated a form one girl who had consistently and tirelessly tried calling and texting one of her male teachers. The girl ignorantly admitted that she was trying to seduce the teacher for money and sexual affair.
Such incidences happen in almost every school both to female and male teachers.

Parents and Students can decide to give threats through calls and texts. This can happen if you’re part of a disciplinary committee or you simply made a decision or gave an information against the party.

In Conclusion:

I strongly support the topic of discussion, it made my teaching experience much easier.
I find no convincing reason for teachers to withhold their phone numbers from students and parents. Because it’s a kind way of showing how much you care.

When teachers decide to give their phone numbers to parents and students, in the end, it’s their decision to respond or not, to the calls and messages.

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I have worked in several institutions across the country. In one school the administration advised teachers not to give out their personal phone numbers to students, but I still did.

I would not want my unavailability to be a barrier to my students’ success. I am always willing to sacrifice some extra time for my students if they really need it. But whenever I am busy, I screen my calls and develop a communication schedule with my students.

However, despite giving out my phone number, I still manage to maintain a clear boundary between me being a teacher and them as parents or students.

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