rules for requests

Cyrus Stoller’s Rules for Requests are these:

If you need something to be done in:
30 minutes: call
two hours: text
today: IM
a day or later: email

Teacher schedules don’t fit that.

I’d like to propose an adapted set of rules for teachers, which will totally depend on the teacher’s attachment to his/her cell phone and quickness to respond to emails. For example: I usually wear dresses when teaching, so I don’t keep my cell phone nearby at all times. However, I have more opportunities to check email because my leadership responsibilities allow for a reduced teaching load and more planning periods (most of which are taken up by meetings).

But common to all is the dislike of getting disrupted in the middle of teaching. It throws off one’s lesson flow and as another teacher has told me, “you don’t interrupt someone when they are in battle mode.” Because of that lesson flow, the call/text/IM methods now have huge ranges of response. Most classrooms do not have landlines nowadays, and it would be insane to expect a teacher to pick up his/her cell phone in the middle of class to answer a voice call or a text.

So here’s my thoughts on the matter.

If you need something to be done in:
1 – 30 minutes: visit in person during planning period to discuss.
30 minutes (+ the amount of time left teaching before next planning period): visit in person during class. leave a written note on the chair (on the desk or laptop, and it’ll just get pushed aside into a pile of grading).
1 minute – 1 full school day: email (depending on how much time teacher has to get back to laptop)
1 minute – 1 full school day: text or voice call (depending on if teacher locks up his/her phone because of no place to carry it, i.e., if wearing a dress)
0 – infinity days: gchat (depends on adopting of said technology or hiding via invisibility)
1 – 2 days: leave a note in their mailbox

If you need to experience some teacher wrath:
by email: email late at night and then accost the teacher at the beginning of the school day to demand why they haven’t answered you yet
by gchat: send them inappropriate gchats when you know they are projecting from their laptop
by text: text while they’re teaching and get angry when they don’t respond
in person: barge into their classroom and demand they stop what they are doing to immediately answer your questions


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