Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cell Phones, oh, boy!

How can it be? Cell phones are simultaneously the best and worst invention of modern times? It's wonderful to have such a quick, convenient and easy way of keeping in touch, but...

Ooh, as a teacher, forget it. They are the enemy of "attention and concentration." How can the students listen and participate in the lessons when they're waiting for phone calls and/or sms-ing?

I demand that my students turn off their phones during lessons. They reply:
"But it's on vibrate."
"Vibrate isn't off!"
"But you won't hear it!"
"Turn it off--I want a blank screen!"
"But I'm waiting for an important call!"
"Not during class!"
"If I can turn my phone off, when my two sons were in the army, you can, too!"

Confiscating the phones from teenage boys, when the phones are smaller than the palms of their hands, is very difficult. I'm sure that many of the "emergency" trips to the toilet are really caused by vibrating signals for conversation.

I'm glad that the New York City public schools are taking a stand against cell phones in the classroom. If only there could be a universal code of behavior and ethics concerning phones in the classrooms. Even in the high school where I teach in Israel, different teachers have different demands making it difficult for the kids and for us teachers.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with turning the phones on during breaks, but I want a total close down of outside communication during lessons, and of course during tests.

It's hard enough for our sleep-deprived students to function, but it's worse when they're on the phone during lessons.


Anonymous said...

I work with middleschoolers at sleepaway leadership development programs. It's incredible how many parents pay a significant sum of money to send their child, only to call them constantly during the time they are in class. The parents then complain that we are keeping them away from their children when we tell the kids to turn the phones off! Adults, stop blaming kids for everyrthing! They are following our foolish lead!

Batya said...

People have gotten so obsessive. When I went to camp, we just sent a few postcards.