ET Tip #1 Open Cell Policy

As you have read before I am a firm believer in customer service and more importantly teacher service. The next few posts will outline what tactics have worked for me to support my teachers and build a successful ET (Educational Technology) department.

Many administrators have an open door policy, I have an open cellphone policy.

The Problem:

I have read on many litservs¬†where tech coordinators will turn off their phones at a certain time or don’t respond to an email after a certain point in the day. This is ridiculous.


The way I see it when users have an issue I want to help them ASAP so they can get back to teaching faster. Also there are 24 hours in a day, I would rather have the issues spread out over 24 hours instead of 8. I have had this policy for over 2 years and it has been a great success and not a bother at all.

2 solutions for success:

  • I include my cell phone at the bottom of my emails in my signature
  • I forward my desk ext to my cellphone

Some may say that this methodology will go against what we ingrain in our users and that is to utilize the helpdesk ticketing system. However my users know the difference between an emergency which brings education to a halt and something that can be fixed over time.

Give it a try! I promise your life will be easier and your teachers will be happier.

About the Author: TJ Houston

TJ Houston is the Director of Technology at Shelby City Schools and New London Local Schools for Epiphany Management. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at All of the views on this site are his own.

  • Eric Griffith

    I too have followed this policy since my arrival here at Mechanicsburg Schools in early 2010. At first if was meet with frustration due to the fact that there were no boundaries set as to when or why I was receiving a call, however after establishing a procedure and an alternative email account that tracked issues, all was well. I also forward my LAN line to my cell phone, my only issue is that our phone system isn’t smart enough to pass along an extension or office number, so if you call my extension it always shows up as the same number regardless of the caller. This gives everyone an equal opportunity for me to answer the phone with the same greeting and positive intentions, even sales calls. The down side is if my Superintendent calls, I don’t know it until I listen to the voice mail. Not answering a call can be perceived just as if I am ignoring the caller, which is why I stress leaving a message. – Great Post TJ!

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About Me:

My name is TJ Houston.
I am the Director of Technology at Huron City Schools. I love integrating technology into the classroom and helping teachers find the way on the information super highway. Things I love: My family, My awesome Girlfriend, Technology, Education, and Photography.

I run PD sessions twice a week and run community training the first Saturday of the month. I love teaching people new things.

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