Parents bombarding teachers with texts and emails
SCHOOL principals are pushing back against parents who bombard teachers with phone calls, emails and text messages after school hours.
Private school principals cop it worst, with sources telling News Corp Australia some receive 250 emails a day complaining about things as trivial as lost umbrellas.
But government schools are also feeling the strain and one public school principal has written to parents directing them to stop texting her teachers' personal mobile numbers.
Dulwich Hill Public School head Linda Wickham told parents through the school newsletter to delete teachers' numbers from their phone contacts.
"On rare occasions, teachers will make calls to parents from their private mobile phones. From an excursion is a good example of this," she wrote.
"Will you please delete the phone number when the need is past please?
"I have had reported to me examples of parents saving the contact and using it to call the teacher to advise of student absences, for example or to ask about information that has been previously provided on school bytes or hard copy."
Earlier this year the principal of elite St Andrew's Cathedral School in the CBD, Dr John Collier, sent a scathing newsletter home complaining about parental harassment.
"Some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands," he wrote.
School communication expert and founder of the Happy School Program Steve Francis said parents were becoming more demanding of teachers believing they should be answering emails around the clock.
"The expectations are being ramped up constantly and it is hard for teachers to disconnect," he said.
"Lots of parents are more likely to attack a teacher rather than approach them to work through an issue."
Independent Education Union Assistant Secretary Carol Matthews said the union was urging individual schools to set realistic expectations with parents not to expect a teacher to be fielding emails over the weekend.
"There is pressure to respond to parental emails," she said. "It was one of the issues we were negotiating with Catholic schools, trying to ensure schools told parents not to have unrealistic expectations."
The NSW Teachers Federation's official advice to teachers is to take a school/workplace mobile on excursions to stop parents getting the number.
"Avoid giving your personal email address or mobile phone number to students or parents/guardians or storing their contact details."