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Phoning tutees

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by scienceclub2018, Apr 29, 2020.

  1. scienceclub2018

    scienceclub2018 New commenter

    I'm a teacher at a large secondary. As part of our closure plan, we have been asked to phone each member of our tutor group, via their parents, one a week. I'm finding this so hard for a number of reasons:

    1. My neighbours have taken the opportunity to do loud DIY.
    2. I hate phoning people. I have panic attacks related to previous phone issues. I can cope with a few a week, but making 6 a day every work day is too much.
    3. There are now roadworks outside my window, with drills, and other loud noise. I rent a room, so no other place to move to. Kitchen occupied by another WFH housemate.

    Work have not been great about it. The union says we can't be expected to do this, and I have sent them the link to back it up. I have been communicating with my students in other ways, but they are hung up on this phone call idea.

    Any ideas before I go insane? This has been the most stressful part of lockdown for me.
    agathamorse and thara9643 like this.
  2. catnap15

    catnap15 New commenter

    Sorry to hear you are feeling so stressed out by this.

    If you have already contacted your line manager on this and outlined the main issues and concerns you have, and have said you will continue to make contact in other ways then there is not much more for you or them to do.
    They can't force you to make these calls (I assume they aren't going to provide you with a work phone to do it on?) and you aren't refusing to make contact, you are just saying the contact method you can manage. These are unprecedented times and school leaders should be understanding of the fact the remote live teaching and phonically are not things that all staff can manage to do because each of our home situations are unique.

    If the school continue to contact you on this you need to contact your school rep (or local rep in absence of a school rep- numbers should be on your union website).
    agathamorse likes this.

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    I'm sorry to hear this. We will phone but only if we don't get responses to a weekly e-mail we send to our tutees. Remote learning platforms have surveys and things that you could offer to send instead. It seems a very stressful thing to ask of you and as we know, not likely to be received joyously by all parents and students....overall, I think the phone calling is too much and as said above, they need to be flexible. This has never happened before and it's not likely that the first method of doing something will be the right one, we need to test and see. Good luck.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. thara9643

    thara9643 New commenter


    I’m sorry to read that. Legally you cannot be forced to make phone calls to any tutees. This is unexpected however common sense must prevail here as much as possible. Call up or email your school rep, look for the phone number or email address on the union site. Or you could write a letter of complaint to them to tell them what is going on and ask for some helpful tips and advice too.
    Alternatively you could resign as a last ditch option only. Have you explained things to your line manager or not? If you are actually emailing each pupil every day, then there is very little which they can do to bully you. Your mental health is important as well. Keep a diary of future calls for peace of mind and as a means of reference. Write down the time when they started harassing you, what was said, the tone of the voice of the caller etc. Send the union another email with all of that key information.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Email or text them where possible. (I don't like phoning people I don't know either and would, I know, simply refuse to do this - but don't tell the school; they'll probably never find out anyway!).
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That is not true. In some circumstances it might be outside your contract but you can be required to make phone calls in directed time. Communicating with pupils and parents is part of a teacher's professional responsibilities in STPCD.
  7. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Communicating doesn't necessarily mean phoning.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Communication doesn't have to mean phoning but phoning is unarguably one method of communication and so within scope of a teacher's STPCD professional responsibilities.

    Whether it's sensible to phone is a different question, I was replying to the poster who wrongly advised OP it's not legal to be directed to phone tutees.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
  9. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Only if the school provide you with an alternative phone to use. You should not be using your private phone for this purpose for very obvious reasons.
    agathamorse and Lidnod like this.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    In advisable, I agree, but it's not illegal to use your own phone, or to be asked to. The advice I challenged was that the claim that it's illegal for a a teacher to be asked to phone their tutees.
    corgie11 likes this.
  11. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    The term illegal often gets wrongly used. Before I retired, not to use your own phone to contact home was in every "ICT" policy that I wrote. I knew some teachers did it, but if it went wrong they wouldn't have a leg to stand on. I was being generous and assuming that in this case" illegal" meant against school policy.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    We are supposed to ring students who are absent from lessons, ring students who haven't done their homework, ring students who are performing badly, ring students for a regular welfare check.

    Our students have 6 lessons a day. They could potentially be called up in their own home, during a national emergency, and get moaned at by all 6 teachers, as well as tutor and head of year all in one day.

    I just don't think we should be doing this to students, it is beginning to almost feel abusive.
  13. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    At the heart of the communication question lies the concern for the welfare of the student. Are they okay, do they need support etc ? I made a conscious decision when this began to focus on those elements and not chase for work. Those that can and want to, will provide the work. Some schools perhaps dislike the idea of control slipping through their fingers. Have parents been surveyed on whether they would appreciate a call ? Might be an idea to get their POV. Contact home should be about student welfare not about why they haven't submitted the work on The Tempest.

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