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Put Through the Ringer

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Epiphany in Baltimore is frustrated that parents are not just a phone call away. Limited resources left the inner city teacher struggling to find a way to connect with students' parents:

At school this year, parental contact is nearly impossible. I have no phone in my room. ... To call parents at home, we must use the English department phone. However, the line out was inadvertently cut a few weeks ago by custodial services, and now there is no way to call out from that office. Therefore, I had to go to the main office, and speak in the very public area there while I had a 25-minute, intermittently angry phone call with a parent.

He can't use his cell phone because of poor service and dropped calls in the school building. The lack of a phone line poses security issues as well; he had to run to tell administrators about a fight that broke out in the hallways.

Epiphany suggests this solution:

When the new contract this year is negotiated, I wish this would be written in -- that the school should provide a convenient line out for teachers to administer parent contact. It's just not fair to expect parental contact and then not give teachers the access to do it.
3 Comments

The Washington Post is reporting that Administrators at a Florida high school have placed one of their music teachers on a forced leave of absence for performing in an amateur production of "The Full Monty"

Not having a phone line available in the classroom goes far beyond the issue of not being ablet to contact parents. As a teacher, I know first-hand the importance of parent-teacher communication. Then to have only one phone line, for an entire department! Then that line is not working...From an educational standpoint that is too bad!

The security issue was mentioned - what if a fight broke out, or God forbid, something even worse (a bomb threat, an intruder in the building, etc). We have such STRONG lines of communication, guidelines, and protocal to follow where I teach - I just can't imagine it any other way!

There is another issue that wasn't mentioned - health! What if you have a health-related emergency in your classroom - and you don't have time to run down to the office to find a phone...

Everyclassroom, in every single school (no matter the classroom type or location) should have a working phone in place!

Cell phones are so much more affordable and, in this case, reliable! I suggest the school/district make sure every teacher has a cell phone and forget the land lines. There is not excuse for school systems not providing teachers with the ability to contact parents and more importantly emergency services.

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