As a teacher, one of my biggest pet peeves is when my staff would text on their cell phones while the students were present. I was perpetually the “bad guy” asking them to please not text while the students were present. The time the students are with us remains, and will always be, the students’ time and never our personal time. Many of our students come to us with so much need, requiring all of our attention and focus in maintaining a safe classroom, facilitating play, working on their IEP goals and objectives and teaching them. There is simply no time for texting during the school day. There are some schools that have a no-cell phone policy for staff, such as Head Start classrooms. The staff’s cell phone must be put away during the school day and if they are seen using the cell phone, disciplinary action may be taken. Besides not texting, here are some guidelines pertaining to cell phone use by teachers and staff in schools:
- Find out the cell phone policy in the school you are volunteering in before you start so there is no confusion during the school year.
- If you are a parent, it is appropriate to keep your phone on your person in case your child’s school needs to get ahold of you.
- I bring my cell phone out when I do yard duty or car duty (playground) for safety reasons. If a student gets injured on the playground we may need to make a phone call, call 911, or call the front office. Encourage a school to look into getting walkie-talkies for these purposes.
- If you are the lead teacher in the class think twice before giving your personal cell phone number to students’ parents. It may feel like a convenient way for them to get ahold of you, however, your cell phone is, and should be regarded, as a personal item. I set up a Google Voice account which allows parents to call me using a Google voice number which routes to my cell phone; my personal cell phone number remains anonymous.
Professionalism with cell phone use can go a long way in helping prospective teachers become respected members of the teaching team.