Parents/guardians have access to my work email (also through our TeacherEase online communication and grade-book system), as well as my voice-mail from my classroom phone.
I like the idea that there’s a bit of space and privacy with my current system of communication — I usually email back within 24 hours and voice messages are returned within 48 hours, generally from my classroom phone; both these methods allow me to have an element of control over the correspondence, and frankly, some privacy, if needed.
I don’t know that I like the idea of parents/guardians having direct access to me 24/7, say if I were to give out my mobile phone and I’ve definitely heard enough horror stories from other veteran teachers when the professional and the personal life is mixed.
However, one of my colleagues at Teach For America regularly uses Google Voice and highly recommends we look into this nifty suggestion.
The video above seems pretty cool, and I do like a couple of the perks I now have from installation:
- Google Voice generates a new phone number for me to use, and also forwards the calls made to that new number to my mobile or house phone, depending on my settings. This way, callers don’t have my personal number, and it appears I can change my Google Voice number at any time.
- I can call from my cell phone, computer, ipad, what have you.
- I can create personal voice messages for different callers — for example, any parents calling from Hawaii’s 808 area code might have a more professional or work-related voice-mail greeting.
- I can record calls as needed for personal use, in case I need to follow-up with a parent/guardian later, or save a phone call to make sure all the issues and concerns are addressed.
- Google voice saves my voice-mail online, and transcribes my voice-mail to text, making it extremely more time-efficient for me.
- I can block unwanted callers, if needed
I’m not sure that I yet want to adopt the system as the last thing I want to do is open a can of worms and always be on call (sometimes, even I have my limits), but this idea is definitely worth looking into, especially for all the teachers and professionals out there who could benefit from the new features the program offers…