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I am a new high school teacher in a major city teaching urban children. A colleague of mine uses her personal cell phone when she needs to call parents, but most of my current coworkers deliberately use the school phone to call parents. I realize safety may be an issue using my personal number (though it seems low-risk), but convenience is sacrificed using the school phone. There are no school or union policies on this issue. I am wondering if there are any factors to whether I should use the school phone or my personal number that I am not considering.

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    Get a second phone. You want to be able to turn the phone off. – Captain Emacs Feb 22 '17 at 2:16
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    You could get a google voice phone number and set it to only forward it to your personal phone during work hours. – enderland Feb 22 '17 at 2:20
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    "There are no school or union policies on this issue" or there are none you know of - have you talked to your department head or principal (not sure where in the world you are or what management structure your particular follows). If there really are none - your school should think about drafting a policy. Easing communications between parents and teachers is mostly a good thing - but is open to abuse. – HorusKol Feb 22 '17 at 2:51
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    +1 for google voice. A great way to control access to a "business" number. – Laconic Droid Feb 22 '17 at 3:03
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It's best to keep work and home life separate, particular as a teacher since you're dealing with children and families.

Most schools will not give out a teachers personal number to a parent unless there is an urgent pressing need for it. There are several good reasons behind this rather than it being arbitrary.

First and foremost is that the child is a pupil of the school and any interaction between parents and teacher should be done via the school for the safety of the teacher, the family AND the school. The teacher is an employee of the school, not the parents. So the two should only interact in controlled circumstances in normal work. There should be no need for private interaction outside of an emergency situation. And there should be no emergency situation outside of school hours when the child is under the physical supervision of the teacher.

So in the absence of any protocols against it, it's still best to go with the school as an intermediary rather than give out your number. Low risk is a matter of perception. It would only take one incident, however twisted, to potentially kill both your career and reputation.

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Many people don't give their private phone number to their employer, because work is work and private is private. My employer has my phone number, so they can contact me if there is an emergency, and they know what is an emergency and what isn't, so that's fine.

In your case, you are thinking about giving your phone number to a bunch of people who you know nothing about. They are people that you can't expect to behave professionally, because they are not professional. Don't do it.

  • It is true that these parents often do not have a sense of what is appropriate. Thank you for your input – electronpusher Feb 22 '17 at 14:35
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I don't know if this works in your country, but in France we can temporarily mask our phone number when dialing someone, by pressing #31# before the phone number you want to dial. For example you want to dial 123-456-789, you then call #31#123-456-789.

Doing so, you can call any parent you want using your own mobile phone, but without letting them know your phone number. If you need the parent to call back, let them know they can call the school and they will put you through.

  • This is good, but only a temporary solution. – cst1992 Feb 22 '17 at 12:16
  • why so? OP can even save parents' number in his phone with the prefix saved. OP updates his phonebook once a year at back-to-school time and voila. – le_daim Feb 22 '17 at 13:11
  • For reference, that is *67 here in the States. – Prodnegel Feb 22 '17 at 23:13
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Do you think they should, or shouldn't, be able to call you with after-hours issues?

If they shouldn't, don't give them your personal phone.

If you trust them not to abuse it, or if you are willing to not answer or tell them to call back at a better time, you could give them the cell number.

I really don't think the other concerns are as significant as this one.

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    You really only have to make a wrong call on whether they will abuse it once. – user42272 Feb 22 '17 at 4:52
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    Do you want your students' parents calling you after you have gone to bed and expecting you to deal with their issue right then? – HLGEM Feb 22 '17 at 21:39
  • Or when they're drunk? – Kilisi Feb 23 '17 at 10:15
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I don't know how it is at your school.

But at my work all calls are recorded. (This is legal where I live.) For me that's a big reason to never have conversations with clients(parents) on my personal phone. (or basically any cellphone.) That way whenever there are misunderstandings you can always listen back the call. Also, because it's recorded it makes you think better about what you say.

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