Two days last week, all of my students (and myself) have parked our cell phones...and it’s been SOOOOOOOO relaxing.
A cacophony of desperate pleas filled the room: “That’s evil, Mrs. Jones,” “that’s unconstitutional,” “I’m going to die,” and my personal favorite: “I just started texting a boy I like!”
Yes, we were all in torture as we slid our phones into the individualized pockets of the closet shoe organizers I had bought at Walmart. What Snapchats would we miss...forever evading our speedy screen shot trigger finger? What tweets would...tweet on by? What cute boy or girl would be frozen for two hours awaiting the three light gray bubbles of the “text back”? We were about to find out…
My school schedule is blocked into two hour classes, three times a day. It’s a long chunk of time to focus teen energy...sometimes made longer by cell phones. I know, I know, we love our phones and, as educators, many of us rely on them as an educational tool. The kids can research, play fun quiz games like “Kahoot it,” and even finish up an essay draft on a Google doc and share it with us for editing. The phones have infinite capabilities; HOWEVER, even with my honors kids in AP Literature, I can attest that most phone usage is tied up in social media...and I would have been the same way in the 80s. Unfortunately or fortunately, these devices just did not exist. My tool of distraction was the origami note made from lined paper with my best friends code name on the outside. Getting the note in her hand was a whole other level of stealth.
So, we parked our phones for the entire two hours. My potential commencement speakers enjoyed captive audiences in Speech class with beautifully written feedback forms from everyone in class. My AP Lit kids took a mock exam, writing three essays in two hours minus the vibration of their phone notifications.
Speaking of vibrations, the phone parking is next to my desk in the back of the room. As I was evaluating speeches and proctoring exams yesterday, I marvelled at HOW MANY TIMES THESE PHONES WERE BUZZING. I think a fair guesstimate would be hundreds! Hundreds of times per hour, these kids are distracted and pulled from whatever we are trying to accomplish in class. Even your most mature kid with the best handle on their impulse control is going to struggle to pay attention and not be seduced by the buzzzzzzzzzzzz…
I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Like most things in my life, I feel like moderation is the key to happiness. So, some days we will be tweeting, taking pictures, and screen chatting in “Todays Meet” and other days we will have to awkwardly stare into each others’ eyes with unoccupied hands at our sides.
CAN WE DO IT?