Protect Your Privacy for Parent Calls

Learn how to use a free tool, Google Voice for your personal Google account, to make parent phone calls. Learn what settings are best, etc. We'll start from scratch.

The Problem

As an educator leading remote learning, you may need to call parents. But sharing your mobile number may cause you concerns.

Giving students and parents your personal mobile phone number is unprofessional and you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

After all, what if you are at home relaxing with family and you get a phone call to your smartphone? It will feel like a personal moment, but you have to be ready to put on your professional hat. Avoid that.

Get another phone number at no extra cost with Google Voice.

You MAY need Google Voice if....

  • You are a teacher and your administration needs you to keep students’ parents updated. Although you use Seesaw for most communications, you still need to call parents on the phone. You don't want them to have your smartphone because then you might be getting phone calls and texts.

  • Some small school districts who have poor phone systems that fail may want to get an “alternate phone.” The alternate phone (using a personal Gmail account) is one that works even when the district’s phone system goes offline.

  • You need a way to keep track of who you call and that call history may be subject to an Open Records Request. You don't want to turn over your real phone number call history to strangers.

The Solution

Google Voice is a free* to start service available to you if you have a personal Gmail account. You can make phone calls via the Voice app on your phone or through your web browser.

It’s a boon to teachers who may need to speak to parents during the COVID-19 challenge. It’s also nice to be able to share your Google Voice number with strangers.

Only you need know that it’s not your “real” phone number.

Ready to Get Started? Here's what you need.

    • A personal Gmail account

    • A phone number you can forward calls to, preferably your smartphone but it can be a landline

Step #1 - Get a Google Voice Account

  1. Login to your personal Gmail account

  2. Go to voice.google.com to get your account.

  3. Click on FOR PERSONAL USE

  4. Make sure to use the blue SIGN IN button in the top right and again, be sure to use your personal Gmail account.

Step #2 - Select Your Phone Number

Google will provide you a list of available phone numbers in your area. Choose one that you would like to use.

Make sure to write it down. This will be the phone number you will give to work colleagues, parents, etc. This is your "work smartphone number." Give this number to work related folks, use your real smartphone number for personal use.

Isn't that amazing? Keep your worlds separate.


Once you have selected your phone number, you will VERIFY the number you want to connect it to.

Step #3 - Make Phone Calls via Web Browser

You can begin making calls immediately via your web browser. Once the call connects, you will be able to have conversations via your computer’s mic/headset.

As you can see, when you call someone, your "Call as" number is your new Google Voice. Mine is 210-617-3330.

Step #4 - Make Phone Calls via the Voice app on Your Smartphone

Need to make phone calls via your smartphone? You can get the app for free via the Google Play store on your phone or iTunes. It’s easy to install.

You will need to verify your phone one more time.

When you are ready to make phone calls on the go, start with the Voice app on your smartphone.

Step #5 - Customize Settings

One of the neat things about Google Voice is that you can customize the settings. Those settings include DO NOT DISTURB.

You can turn on DO NOT DISTURB when you want all calls sent to voicemail, such as after work hours.

Another neat feature is being able to record one or more professional greetings. For some, this might be an easy way to share daily announcements. You are also able to screen calls. When you do that, you are able to hear a caller's name when you pick up.

Want to learn more? Read the TCEA TechNotes blog entry,
Maintain Teacher Privacy with Google Voice