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What about parents calling you at home?


Full Member
I teach at a private school and thought I had nipped this one in the bud. I used to have parents calling me at home a lot. Since that year, I make sure to put in my open letter not to call me at home unless it is an emergency. They can call me at school or set up a conference . It has seemed to work until this year. I have a couple of parents who call me asking for things such as certain assignments. I hate to be rude to them but I think I am going to have to. They get my name from the phone book. I am thinking of having an unlisted number. Anyone else with this problem?

Teach 5

Senior Member

That can be a problem. I have only had a few parents call me at home. They are very good about not wanting to disturb me at home & our numbers are published in the school directory.
If it was a problem, I would use my caller id to screen them, maybe that would be an option rather than an unlisted number. Then they can leave a message & you can call them the next day while you are at school. They should get the hint after awhile & the kids will learn to call classmates to get assignments. We do also have a homework hotline which they can call for the assignments of the day.


Senior Member
Separation of school and home

I learned this one through some pretty tough experience. I suggest an unlisted phone number--mine only costs like $1 or $2 a month. Parents can call you at school and leave a msg if you're teaching and can't answer. You'll return the call after school, from school. (to avoid them seeing your home phone or cell phone on caller id) Other professionals don't get called at home when they aren't working; why should teachers?

Also, for your email address, use only the one through your school. One year I made the mistake of giving out my home email address. I spent the whole year cringing and stressed bc whenever I opened my home email I was afraid I would be getting some negative email from a parent. (That happened to be a doozy of a year for wacky parents.)

Separation of home life from school life is essential to preserve your sanity. :-)


Junior Member

Can you put your assignments on a website? That way, there will be no need to bother you. I give my students their week's assignments every Monday. They staple the 1/2 sheet of paper in their planner. Plus, all the assignments are posted each Monday on my website. It was a hassle at first, but now that I have the system down, it's MUCH easier than dealing with children rushing to write down assignments as they pack up each afternoon...and no phone calls or excuses for missing hw.


phone calls

If you are getting phone calls at home, I'd probably have an unlisted phone number. I personally don't think it's appropriate for parents to call us at home especially something like a missing assignment or homework question. I give out my school number and school email address (not my home email).

I've called parents in the evening while I'm at my house, and a couple times I've dialed *67 before I dial their number. That means my number will not come up if they have called ID! It was a parent that I thought would start calling me at home if she saw my number, otherwise it wasn't a big deal!

Jennifer in OK

Senior Member
Calling home

I guess we as teachers are not entitled to a home/private life since we are employees of the state. It seems even worse if you teach at private schools! By golly, they pay for the education, therefore they should have more access to the teachers. (Hopefully, you are reading this with a sarcastic tone. ;) ) I do not give out my home number and never have. My home time is my home time. I already commit enough time to school that is not paid for. We dont' get paid hourly. We get salary.

My 1st year teaching (private school - now I'm in public) I had a parent call me the Friday that Spring Break started to complain about her child's grade in a subject. She looked up my number in the phone book. Ironic thing - I was living in my recently deceased grandmother's house and her 1st initial was the same as mine. So the parent thought that she was seeing me listed. After being b****ed at for an hour without getting a word in edgewise, I called my principal about it. I told her that this was unacceptable and I was on my own private time.

My way of thinking is, if they call you at home, you are out of professional mode. Therefore, you might not be as patient in your explaining/discussing things. There are also things this parent is selfishly taking you away from - like your children if you have any! I alwasy encourage my colleagues to make people call you at school. You have a plan time. You have a contracted work day. They can reach you on those hours or wait until you call them back the next school day.

I would also encourage the unlisted AND unpublished number. If it is unpublished, there is no way they can get it. If it is unlisted, I think they might still be able to call some part of the phone company and get the number. I could be wrong on that. It's been awhile since it was explained to me.

Sorry this is so long, but this is a real sore spot with me. I can't just pick up the phone and call my doctor at home to get a diagnosis at 3 a.m. I can't call my attorney and get him after a certain time (when he even gets on the phone with me at all - but that's another story!). We should be treated like professionals.


privacy valued

I had an unlisted number but the secretary gave it out. The principal took her side and I said I was not under a 24 hr a day contract and had a right to privacy. My new school parents do not telephone at home. If asked I tell parents I do not have records at home to help with their concern.


Senior Member
Phone Calls....

First of all, I can't believe your school would list the teachers' phone numbers. Sorry, but...I believe that to be an invasion of privacy-whether you teach in a private or public school. My school never gives out our numbers or addresses to ANYONE. I have never given out my phone number to parents and never will. My hometime is my time, and I choose if I want to call a parent. If I do need to call a parent from home, I (like another poster mentioned) use *67 to block my number. If the parent is unavailable to talk, I ask when is a good time for me to call back....


Full Member

Thanks for all the feedback. My school doesn't give out numbers either. I think the thing that makes me really mad is that I am so organized with making sure they all have their assignments and books. I go overboard on packing them. But believe it or not one of my parents called just to ask if her son had actually made a 100 on his spelling pretest because she did not believe him. Another called to ask if her son had to write sentences that night for being in trouble. He had told her he didn't but she didn't believe him. These things can wait and not only that why don't they listen to their kids? Just burns me up but I am so sweet to them and then that makes me mad at myself. I think I am going to watch the caller id -- that is good.


I don't mind if parents call me at home...

so far they've all be very considerate.

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
No Home Calls

In my first of the year newsletter I give parents my school email, my "teacher" email at home, the school's phone number, and the times I'm available at work. I also ask that they NOT call me at home.

We have a listed phone number. We kind of HAVE to have one because of the nature of my husband's job. And, since he's not FROM here, his last name isn't common here. . . only one other listing in the entire town. Not that hard to find us.

I used to try to be nice and take calls, but I don't anymore unless it is an emergency. And, no, your child having a 93 on his report card instead of a 98 is NOT an emergency. No, calling to tell me that your child should have a second chance at academic team tryouts because you know she's "smarter than those other kids" isn't an emergency either. If you've been subbing for me, don't call me at 10:30 PM when I'm home sick and ask me how I get through my day with those "awful kids". And if you're a kid, don't call to ask me what's up.

I'm getting mean in my old age, aren't I?


Senior Member
What My Principal Did

Our handbook of rules states that no parent is to call a teacher at home. Parents are not even allowed to approach a teacher during school hours for an unscheduled conference, not even parents on staff. There is plenty of time to phone a teacher at school or to schedule an appointment for a conference. Besides that, how would parents feel if a teacher didn't finish a lesson, so s/he decided to come to their house at night and finish teaching.



I explain to my parents at the beginning of the year that school records are kept at school, and if they need to schedule a conference, feel free to do so by calling the counselor. If they work hours which don't allow them to come for a conference, they can leave a phone number, and I'll return the call during my planning time. I also explain to the students that if they forget their assignment books, that they'll have to do the best they can. Most of them will end up calling a classmate.
Caller ID helps, too. You can screen your calls and don't have to answer those parents' calls.
I think the unlisted number is a great idea!



I'm not currently a professional teacher myself, but since both my parents, all three of my siblings and many of my extended family members are teachers, so I'm aware of the many challenges. On the topic you bring up, I have to side with the "strong boundary" perspective.

I too used to feel "rude" in any circumstances where I needed to inform someone about a personal or professional boundary that was being crossed. It helps if you give the other person the benefit of the doubt that s/he didn't know (didn't read the open letter, never got it, just plain forget) that the action (contacting at home) was inappropriate, then inform them of a more appropriate action that will provide the information being sought.

Over time it's been less difficult for me, and I think it's because I've realized that a reasonable person appreciates clear messages about where boundaries are drawn (isn't this so true in childhood development as well). Unreasonable parents??? Yes, of course - defensives measures (like others mention about caller id, unlisting, etc.) have an important role in covering those cases.

I also have to echo the comment from "psc" about putting assignments online to make your life easier and give parents a resource they can use to instantly access class information. I recommend (and I'm completely biased because I designed this website system I'm about to mention) checking out a website designed for teachers to build an individualized website specifically geared to posting homework assignments: www.hmatters.com

Good luck unlisting phone number from every directory that holds it captive. At our house, we still get an occasional call from people who think they are calling a corporation that manufactures roofing materials -- we're in some business directory on CD or something like that which is like 5 or 6 years out of date. Crazy.


Senior Member
would never allow them to call--period

My home is my private domain. I leave school at school. I figure that I am available after school for a good half hour, often longer. If parents want to speak with me, they have to do it then.

You will have to eliminate all phone calls, if your parents can't tell the difference between emergency and non-emergency phone calls. Put your answering machine on. Allow it to take the message, then call those parents when you return to school. Tell them you got the message, and now that you are in school, you are returning their call. If you continue to use this pattern, they will eventually be "trained." If they complain that you didn't call from home, well, that's too bad. Phone calls are intrusive. Encourage your parents to e-mail you. You can e-mail them back when it's convenient for YOU.

Some of the teachers have their own webpages at our school. On those webpages, they can put homework assignments and news about class. Many of our teachers are going to paperless, electronic communication. If you had this, I am sure that the non-emergency phone calls would disappear.


Senior Member
I don't mind

I live in a small town so I really don't mind. For goodness sakes, everyone knows where I live. They could just pop in, but I'm glad they don't :). In the 12 years I've been teaching, only 1 time I had a parent call me to harrass me at home. I told her she was NEVER to call me at home again to harrass me and she didn't.

Just a thought, not every parent has access to a phone during the day to call you. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time making phone calls during my work day. If I call a parent during my planning period, my planning period is usually spent talking on the phone. UGH! I don't like to call parents at work. I usually won't unless they called the school to talk to me. I call parents when I'm at home, why shouldn't they be allowed the same considerations? As long as they aren't harrassing. If it is about a question about what an assignment is, I would work out a plan in helping them to get their child to be more responsible. Anything else, like "I don't understand..." I've never had a problem getting a note like that from a parent saying their child didn't understand how to do such and such. I just sat with the kid the next day and we worked it out.


Senior Member
I forgot this

Instead of getting an unlisted, unpublished number, my neighbor did this. Apparently, the phone company will let you do this for free. List your name backwards in the phone book. Ex. Mahar would be Raham. Maybe you can get a new number and do that. Odd, I know, but it has worked for him.


Senior Member
Doesn't bother me

I work at a very, very small private school, and all the teachers know the parents pretty well. In fact, several of my parents work at the school. At the beginning of the year, our administration published our home numbers, although they said we could request to leave ours off. I didn't want to be snooty and be the only one to do that, so I let it stay. I have never had a parent call me at home, although I have used my home phone to call parents. I have caller ID, so if I didn't want to talk to them, then I just wouldn't answer.

Where I worked last year, I DID NOT want parents calling me at home. That group of parents was crazy, and I actually did have one call me during the summer! It wasn't bad, though.

It seems that most of my parents prefer email. In fact, I think I've only talked to two parents on the phone. Knock on wood.


Junior Member
I work at a very, very small private school, and all the teachers know the parents pretty well. In fact, several of my parents work at the school. At the beginning of the year, our administration published our home numbers, although they said we could request to leave ours off. I didn't want to be snooty and be the only one to do that, so I let it stay. I have never had a parent call me at home, although I have used my home phone to call parents. I have caller ID, so if I didn't want to talk to them, then I just wouldn't answer.

LOL! I wish I could say the same. I am a beginning teacher and fell into the trap of "wanting to help out as much as I can." So I gave out my home phone number on my beginning of the year newsletter. I have calls from parents EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Not a single one of 'em has been an emergency. Mostly they're from parents with homework questions. Unfortunately I also work at a very small private school that encourages loads of parent-teacher interaction, so my principal LOVES to hear that parents are calling teachers at home and "communicating" with them outside of just the school environment. Uuugh. I guess I'm too nice. My husband tells me I should feel flattered that parents feel so comfortable calling me all hours of the day.

The funny thing is--one of my daily callers is a former teacher herself. You'd think she'd KNOW. :)


Senior Member
No Way

Parents can email or call me at school but not at home. I have a policy and I notify parents of it. I have not had a problem with any parents not respecting my policy. When I leave work it is my personal time. I have a website where they can email if it is really important. On the website I have a page for ask the teacher a question. They have many ways to contact me when needed. Tell parent at the beginning of the school year to not call you at home.


Senior Member
don't call me at home!

When I was single, I got in the habit of listing my telephone number under an alias. It's cheaper than unlisted/unpublished. I also listed without an address so people couldn't come to my door.

Thank goodness for caller ID and answering machines! I won't pick up the phone if I don't want to talk to the party on the other end or if I don't recognize the caller. The telephone is for MY convenience.

Cry Baby

Junior Member
You call first

Call them before they have a chance to call you. Also, if you are married, let your husband answer the phone. Sometimes that can be a little intimidating.
I give my students my home number, with the understanding they can call only between 7p.m and 8p.m. Of course, if it is a real emergency that is certainly different. Call the dad at work and give him the kids assignment after the parents have called you at home. Do this a few times and they will stop calling. I always make a point to call a parent during the day while they are at work if there are any problems. My logic is if I can't do my job due to some problem with their child, they understand much better if they can't do theirs too! It works..try it.
Good Luck!