20 February 2019
About 90 percent of instant messages involving teachers are being shared on WhatsApp. Photo:, Digital Spy
About 90 percent of instant messages involving teachers are being shared on WhatsApp. Photo:, Digital Spy

Teachers should be allowed to go offline after work, group says

A majority of teachers in Hong Kong’s primary and secondary schools are overwhelmed by the volume of instant messages they receive on a daily basis from parents and students, according to a recent survey.

This increases their stress levels and affects their private life, Headline Daily reports.

The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers interviewed 528 teachers in January, with almost all the respondents saying they have received instant messages from colleagues, parents or students after work.

About 90 percent of these messages were exchanged on WhatsApp.

The messages included inquiries from parents or co-workers, as well as students on academic issues, according to Ming Pao Daily.

The survey also showed that teachers spend an average of 45 minutes on their phones to handle work-related messages after work each day.

More than 70 percent of the respondents said that while the practice improves communication, it also affects their private life and significantly increases work pressure.

About 55 percent think that instant messaging after work has its pros and cons.

Being spammed with non-urgent messages after work can be annoying but the teachers also fear irritating parents with delayed responses, Ming Pao Daily reports.

In some cases, parents have contacted teachers just to inquire about trivial issues on their children’s behavior or missing items, and they would complain to the principal if the teachers do not reply swiftly.

The federation’s vice-chairman, Wong Wai-shing, urged the government to set up guidelines and ensure that teachers can go offline after work.

Also, Wong said parents should understand that teachers need a break and should refrain from pestering them outside school hours.

Schools should offer guidelines on how teachers can communicate with parents and students using instant messaging tools, Wong said.

Fellow vice-chairman Wong Yun-keung said parents should choose a representative to handle communication with teachers and reduce the workload of teachers having to handle multiple messages.

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