Cell Phone Manners and Etiquette for Teachers
Most of the discussions today about cell phones in school are centered around students with cell phones. While this is an important topic, it is also essential that teachers consider their own cell phone etiquette in a variety of school settings. Not only is it necessary for teachers to exhibit good manners with their phones so that classrooms, meetings, and professional development sessions run smoothly, it is necessary so that students get a good example of cell phone etiquette at school.
- Don't answer your phone in front of your class or text while working with students. This is one of the most important cell phone tips for teachers. if you expect your students not to use their phones during class, set an example and give them the respect of doing the same. If you need to send a quick message, do it while students are working on something independently. When I was teaching, I had my husband and close family call the school directly when there were emergency situations (i.e. illness, car trouble).
- Don't answer your phone or text during meetings. Regardless of the type of meeting (i.e. parent-teacher conference, co-worker planning meeting), leave your phone alone unless there is some kind of emergency. If you know that someone may need to get in touch with you during that time, let the other people in the meeting know before it starts.
- This same principle applies for professional development sessions. You would think that teachers would understand more than anyone how important it is to give presenters your full attention. Sadly this is far from the truth. If you are restless during a session, find a more discrete way to stay occupied, such as doodling. If you absolutely need to use your phone right away and can't wait for a break, leave the room to take care of it.
- Use discretion when communicating with other staff members via cell phone. It is absolutely fine to communicate with other staff via cell phone outside of school. However, it is important to use discretion when discussing information related to school. In general, it is best to discuss this information through the school phone system and/or school e-mail accounts.
- Use even more discretion when communicating with parents via cell phone. Some parents may prefer to communicate with teachers via text message, which is okay. Again, just use discretion about the topics that you discuss through this communication method. If you feel it's necessary with either parents or teachers, document conversations or get print outs of texts.
- As a general rule, don't give out your cell phone number to students. With that being said, there may be exceptions to this rule, particularly for middle or high school students. For example, if students are out on their own during a field trip (i.e. in a museum), you can give them your cell phone number. Some teachers give contact information to students who are graduating and may want to keep in touch, which is fine.
- Unless you're waiting for a call or message, don't check your phone during lunch or other breaks with teachers. I am really tired of being at social functions where people are constantly checking their phones. Enjoy the time to interact with others and take a break from technology.
- Don't leave your phone out, unguarded, in your classroom. This may seem paranoid, but most phones are expensive and you never know who may be wandering around the school. If you leave your classroom and don't take it with you, put it out of sight, such as in a desk drawer or in your purse, which is in the closet.
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