Cell Phone Policy 2010-2011

November 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm (Uncategorized)

Last year, I wrote about my feelings of the cell phone policy at Shaker High School. Back then, cell phones were to be turned off and in lockers once the homeroom bell rang. They were not to be used at any point during the day. This year a new policy has been accepted. It allows students to use cell phones during lunch and mid-morning. Unfortunately, this is a terrible idea and will ultimately lead to poor choices and educational distractions.

I disagree with this policy because I ultimately believe that it will result in distraction. Cell phones are simply that-very distracting- whether one is in school or not. I admit, even I am distracted by my cell phone when it goes off. When I hear the ringer or buzzer go off, I turn into Pavlov’s dog. I will ultimately drop almost everything I am doing to get to my phone. If I am driving, I will answer it. If I am working, I will stop to send a text. If I am in the middle of a conversation with someone, I will halt the dialogue to pick up my phone. How rude is that???? I have had to work very, very hard to modify my behavior-I no longer pick up my cell in stores or most other public places- but the distraction remains. I can’t stop thinking about who is at the other end of my phone until I actually get a chance to look at it.

If this is the struggle that I face at 28 with two college degrees and years of experience with social etiquette, how can we expect our students to rise above this terrible temptation? There was a time in my life when cell phones and text messaging did not exist. Our students have never lived in a world without these devices.  For them, carrying their cell phones is like carrying a driver’s license, one simply has it on him at all times no matter what. How can that not be distracting????

Many feel that allowing cell phones to be used during non-instructional periods is the key to curbing cell phone problems in the classroom. If students are allowed to use their phones during mid-morning and lunch, they will be less tempted to carry on conversations during class time. Hogwash. Students will still use their cell phones in the classroom, no matter what the policy states. In fact, they will be more tempted because they have begun a conversation and are not always able to finish it before class time. What do you think that students are thinking about, subject/verb agreement, or the fact that Billy broke up with Sally and is now dating Sally’s best friend? The cell phone might not be in use in the classroom, but the gossip and information lingers in the brains of students, causing them to be distracted and ultimately hindering their education.

Please don’t misunderstand me either. It’s not as if cell phones have been successfully banished from the classroom either. Since this new policy began, I have still confiscated many cell phones and written more referrals than I care to. Those are just the cases I choose to deal with. I see those slippery little devices sliding in and out of pockets all the time. I also know that students text in their purses and bags frequently, claiming that they are looking for a pen. And what about students using the bathroom? I know when students ask me if they can go to the bathroom two or three times during class that they are most likely checking their phones in a safe place where they can’t really get caught. In all of these cases, students are removing themselves from the education process. They are connected to their phones physically or mentally, removing them from what is truly important-their education.

If it were up to me, I would ban cell phones completey. Students not only need to focus on their work but they also need to learn how to be disconnected from the world for a few hours and focus on something else, something worthwhile. Trust me, you can survive without phones for a few hours. The next time your battery dies, zone into that fuzzy voice that is always there in the background-your teacher’s.

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Seniors

October 31, 2009 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized)

Each year the seniors are given privileges at Shaker High School. Some of these privileges include late arrival, early release, being able to drive to school and the Halloween dance. Many seniors enjoy these privileges and look forward to them throughout their entire high school career. However, when it comes to these privileges, one must ultimately ask the question: Is it fair for seniors only to participate in such activities?  Why is it only seniors that are offered these opportunities and do they really deserve them?

Often in my classroom, students complain that their age should not determine the way they are treated. They cry that they are adults and that since they have jobs and responsibilities they can make their own decisions and should be allowed more freedom. The fact that they are only 17 and 18 years old should not make a difference in determining the treatment that they feel they are entitled to. So why does age determine what students get “Special Treatment” and which ones do not?

What about the seniors that don’t abide by the rules? If a senior is suspended over and over again or continually abuses the privileges that they have been given, should they be allowed to keep them? Is this fair? What about the 15 year old freshman that is never late to class, has never been suspended, and has little to no knowledge of referrals or disciplinary measures? Has that student not displayed excellent conduct? Why shouldn’t he or she be trusted with more adult privileges if he or she clearly displays an aptitude for responsibility and maturity? Why does a senior, particularly one that has cut classes or is insubordinate, be allowed more freedom and opportunity that a 10th grade student that has perfect attendance and an impeccable record of behavior?

Is this policy fair? What is it that we are teaching our students if this continues to occur?

“Sorry Sally, but even though you are a model citizen and your behavior is pristine, you are only 16. Johnny is simply older than you are, and because of this, he gets to sleep in an extra half and hour in the morning and leave at 12:05. Don’t worry about those blemishes on his behavioral charts. He’s a senior.”

Does age simply wipe away our indiscretions? Does seniority and time spent in a place allow us privileges that others cannot receive, even if they follow all rules and procedures perfectly? Is the real world really like this? What kind of message are we sending our students away with? Pay your dues and you’ll reep the benefits?

Though there is something to be said for experience, is that the only thing that matters when doling out allowances? This is not the way of the world. Sometimes the more experienced employee is passed over for a promotion in favor of a fresh, new, young face. Often times, especially in today’s economy, more experienced and older job seekers are passed over for youthful, bright-eyed kids right out of college because the company will not have to pay them nearly as much money. Even veterans of the industry are losing jobs, being laid off and let go, because the economy is terrible and companies can only afford to keep the best and brightest. Sometimes the “best and brightest” have been at the company for a significantly shorter time than a veteran employee. Is this fair?

So what is this seniority policy teaching our students? Sure it’s great while attending Shaker High School. Spend the right amount of time here and you certainly are rewarded. But how will our students fair in the real world when they leave Shaker High School and enter a world where this type of policy just doesn’t exist? This is a new world we are dealing with here. It’s dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest, when it comes to getting a job and keeping it. Students will have to struggle; they will have to hustle. In simplest terms, they will have to earn it.

I think our senior policy should mirror the world around our students today. Instead of just handing the rewards over, incorporate the type of competition they will be up against in the real world. Make them earn it.

 

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Cell Phone Use at Shaker High

October 28, 2009 at 12:04 pm (Uncategorized)

Cell phone use at Shaker High School is rampant. Students use cell phones on a daily basis even though the policy clearly states that all cell phones should be off and locked up in lockers after the homeroom bell rings. Students simply ignore this rule and talk to friends inside and outside of school throughout the day and text message while in class. The use of cell phones by students is disrespectful, rude, and distracting. It is my greatest wish that cell phones be banned from school grounds completely. Students are distracted from learning while texting and talking and there is no good reason that cell phones even need to be brought to school. There are phones in the offices in case of emergency. Other than that, students should not be allowed to have cell phones at all.

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September 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm (Uncategorized)

I have not actually read all of these books...

I have not actually read all of these books...

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Contemporary Literacy 2009-2010

September 29, 2009 at 10:54 pm (Uncategorized)

This blog is designed for Contemporary Literacy students. It is a classroom blog that has been created for all of you to see and use. You will use this site as a model. Here you will learn what blogs are and how to use them. You will be able to use this blog as a reference and you will be able to make comments on it in response to my posts. You do not have the ability to change the blog or add anything else to it in any way. All comments will be checked and screened before they are posted, so they must be appropriate for class. I hope that you enjoy this unit and learn from it. Blogging is a great way to share ideas, opinions, and engage in discussions about topics of interest and world issues.

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