In scheduling my share of IEP meetings over the years, I have had to connect with parents. Although I highly prefer email as a way of communicating with parents (special ed is all about documentation, after all), sometimes that’s just not possible if families don’t have Internet access at home. So an old-fashioned phone call is required.
No big deal, especially if I’m calling during the school day, from a school phone. But I can’t always get in touch with parents during the school day.
In the past, I have used my personal phone to call parents. But I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with this.
Facebook has become fertile ground for disgruntled parents to spread their wrath without reproach. There is a “Parent Support Group” page for parents of students with special needs in my district. I support this endeavor, although I’m at a loss as to why the group would be closed and kept private. General special education issues should be discussed in an open forum, without discussing specific children or their teachers on a social network site. Otherwise it just becomes gossip. I’ve heard from some parents in the group that my name has come up. Although it doesn’t make me happy, I realize it’s a fact of our technologically advancing times.
Because I don’t want to advertise my personal phone number when calling parents, I’ve started using Google Voice.
I keep my own number, but Google assigns a (free) phone number that works with my cell or home number. I can call out, receive calls, and text with my own phone but using my Google Voice number. Google Voice even transcribes my voicemail for me to read as an email! I can turn Google Voice on or off as I need to. And did I mention it’s free?
These are all added benefits to using Google Voice. But the reason I’m mentioning it here is because my Google Voice number is the number displayed on the other person’s caller ID.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! 😉
I just found this blog, The Practical Mommy, with the post, “How To Call Parents, With a Script.” Great advice, and so appropriate. Check it out!