I Said What?

Have you ever had a moment where someone tells you something and your internal response is “how could they possibly think that?!” It’s one of those times here in G-Town where my perceived attitude is different from what I intend.

I’ve written previously about cell phones, et al. I’ve spoken to the students and to the faculty about our school rules on the issue. Students may carry them, but they are not permitted to use them in school between 7:15-2:15. We also provide locks for their lockers so that they have a secure place to keep valuables. However, I’ve never thought for an instant nor supported allowing students to use cell phones during instructional periods. That’s just absurd.

I know our kids text constantly. I also know that as a classroom teacher, no student would have text messaged or used a cell phone during my class. I wouldn’t have allowed it, would have given consequences if it happened, and would have counted on our mutual respect to prevent it.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when my department leaders indicated that my perceived “laid back” attitude toward  our students having cell phones on them and that I allow them to listen to MP3 players in the hallway, study hall, cafeteria—translates to a similar laid back attitude in the classroom.

We absolutely have to guard our instructional time. We have enough interruptions between snow days, vacations, student absences, and activities. Teacher control or principal’s control? It’s a no-brainer to me that this shouldn’t happen and yet, I haven’t appropriately set this tone.

Thus, my appearance on the announcements this morning reminding students of the “no cell phone use in school” rule. Couple that with the consequence for students that they’ll lose the phone until the next day. Since many think it’s a vital appendage, I’m sure there will be some teeth gnashing and crying as students use the phones during class, breaking the rule, and lose the phone for the night. I’m sure I’ll hear that I have no right. Luckily, we’ve made it clear in the past that students can’t have them AND I’m happy to make it clear to parents that we need their children learning in our school, not texting friends.

Can’t wait until the first student tells me, “I was just checking the time.” Fun times.

  1. Kim,
    I understand your situation. We have the same rule,no cell phones during school. Students are welcome to bring them but if they are out they get confiscated. We then have a 3 strikes policy. By the third strike you lose the privilege all together.

    I think that eventually it boils down to consistency. As you mentioned in a previuos post, you have not seen overall consistency in your 17 years. The kids know who they can use the cell with and who they can’t. It’s like anything. If your teachers will enforce it and then if the follow through from the front office happens you should have no problem. Our rule seems to go over well with the students and parents, however we are a junior high and not a high school.
    Good Luck,

  2. I tend to be pretty laid-back about cell phones, and I rarely ever have trouble with them in class. I’m lenient about time-checks, but that’s because we don’t have a working classroom clock (and haven’t for most of the year!) so I check mine rather often myself. However, the kids know there’s a difference between time checks and actually using the darn things, and that if I see them too often for “time checks”, they will lose them. There’s a difference between a tool and a toy, and they have to learn where that line is.

    I also don’t allow students to have backpacks at their desks, so that’s cut down on places to conceal cell phone usage.

    Here’s a question for you. We have a teacher who recently purchased a cell phone jammer for his classroom use. The only thing is, it also jams cell signals two classrooms down on either side of him, and the entire hallway. Would you be in favor of a teacher purchasing such a device for their own use, or do you feel it cuts down on other people’s cell phone access, which they might need to have for legitimate reasons (teachers, for example)?

  3. Oh, the clock in the front of the room didn’t work?

    Believe it or not, this is an issue at my school with our 4th-grade-going-on-11th-grade girls. Our principal’s office is starting to look like an iPod/Sprint store.

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