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Being available 24/7...

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googaleeebear

Full Member
Ok how are you guys setting up politely that you’re only available during the work hours? I need to set boundaries (I normally do when we are in school) but this is a tough and challenging time for all. I mean if a parent reached out with a problem then sure I’ll manage. But the emails that they send and want instant answers to aren’t ok. During the day, I may be small group teaching etc. and def after 330-4, I need to unwind too. I’m not “on call” when they need. I don’t believe anything could be so urgent that I need to check my emails ever hour after 4. And I hate feeling like I’m expected to!!

There’s a pandemic and to act as though this is all “normal” is stressing me out too. I need boundaries. I’m stressed by teachers posting the insane amount of things they are doing for kids. If I am not doing that bc I’m dealing with my own personal life, that doesn’t mean I care less. I’m trying to balance bc this is hard for everyone. I’m tryint to be realistic. My job isn’t my life. I guess I just needed some encouragement and a place to vent. Thanks for reading.
 
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Sbkangas5

Senior Member
It is definitely okay to set boundaries. Everyone needs them. I had to tell a parent today that I would not do an individual zoom for her and her son. She was "so disappointed", blah blah blah. Nope, I'm not doing it. She can email and come to all of the other zoom meetings we are offering.


I would just put out a gentle reminder that you will be checking emails from 8-3 every day (or whatever), and will do your best to answer questions the same day, or the next morning.
 

klarabelle

Senior Member
I think I would be available during your school hours and that is all. Send a message to all parents letting them know your hours and you will get back to them during that time.

If you know that you have a student whose parents are on the front lines, maybe you could accommadate them with another time.

DO NOT FEEL GUILTY, YOU HAVE A LIFE TOO!
 

Haley23

Senior Member
We have set "office hours" with our online learning schedule- maybe set some of those and let parents know that it's your dedicated time to respond to emails and phone calls? They're welcome to leave a message at another time, and they will get a response during your office hours.
 

TexTeacher

Senior Member
I think setting boundaries is fine but consider not just sticking to normal office hours. I’ve been taking a few afternoons a week “off” and plan to work an hour or two today. I think we have to remember there are some parents that are essential and are still working so we need to be available some in the evenings and weekends. I’m not at all saying 24/7, or zoom conferences, more just checking and answering emails etc.
 

Surly

Full Member
My district

Didn’t have the guts to set dedicated office hours, of course, which would actually put some responsibility on parents and kids to work within a schedule. God forbid they stand up to the public instead of setting the ridiculous expectation that we be at the public’s beck and call 24/7.
 
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anonymouse

Senior Member
I had a parent ask in all seriousness if I am available to answer questions late at night. Ahhhh, no. My cutoff is 4:00 p.m. I am in google meet office hours during the school day, recording video lessons and grading work during the school day. That's it. You have to set boundaries.
 

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
We are required to be available from 8 to 3 weekdays. Those are my announced "office hours".

I do, however, know that a few of my kids have parents who work from home, so they are doing their work after hours once their parent is finished for the day. I have been checking emails/texts/etc. around 7 or 8 in case there are any questions then, too.
 

nyteacher29

Senior Member
Auto response

You can set your email to give an automated response between certain hours. You can also just Not respond back until you are “back on the clock/at work”. My students email me at all hours and I just respond when it is 8 am
 

7more

Senior Member
Being available

I think you need to do what is comfortable for you. If I had young children in my home my willingness to be on call would be different. If you say you are available during a certain time period and don’t want to be bothered after that time turn off your notifications or just ignore. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself. ❤️
 

checkerjane

Senior Member
As much as I’ve griped about my district and admin this year, I do appreciate they’ve outlined this for us. Our first two District Learning Plans (we’ve had three) had office hours as 8:00-3:30. The last one they changed our office hours from 9:00-2:00. The plan was sent out to parents. Does that mean that parents will recognize and respect it? Probably not, but at least they tried. I set up a Remind Class with those as my hours, so we’ll see.
 

EllaKate

Senior Member
We have set "hours" that we are available.

If a parent emails me at night or on a weekend, I will answer it the next day (or on Monday).


You also need a break.
 

Hawkeyegirl1

Full Member
Our principal told parents...

Our principal sent a call to all of our parents thanking them for their support ad understanding. He does such a nice job with communication. Toward the end of the call he reminded parents that teachers are dealing with the crisis,too, and that we have take care of ourselves and our families. He told them that teachers are available from 8:00-3:00 M-F to answer calls, emails, that sort of thing. I so appreciate it him doing this.
 

tgbwc

Senior Member
Schedule

Our district put out sample schedules. Each school and grade level teams developed their own and emailed them to families. We have specific office hours. Fridays are reserved for planning.
 

Tiamat

Senior Member
My Principal has been very clear that we are only available in the online forums the kids use between 8.30 and 3.30. No checking, responding, etc, outside those hours. Of course, we are still doing the outside hours work we normally do, but we aren't slave to parents all day and all night.

Of course, the only person to breach this rule, responding to a student's post at 2.37AM, was the Principal, and we gave him heaps for it.
 

googaleeebear

Full Member
thank you!!

You guys are all amazing - thank you for helping me feel NOT guilty for setting limits in writing!!! I can’t be on call for the next nine weeks and they need to know I will do my best during work hours!
 
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