Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Texting in Class

I took phones away from 4 students today. How rude is it to be texting during class? More rude, or less, than it is against the rules?

One phone kept blinking on my desk, and I could see on the display that the owner's boyfriend was sending her texts. I looked the boy's schedule up on our computer system and emailed the following to his teacher:

Please tell [name] to put away his phone. I’ve already taken [name]’s away so she’s not getting any more of his text messages.

The messages stopped.

Update, 12/6/10: Some schools confiscate phones for weeks. I'd have to wonder about that from a legal standpoint. I wouldn't wonder about the legality of suspending someone for habitually violating the rules, though.


Amerloc said...

In my day...

we just confiscated the notes being passed. And if we were feeling particularly petty/mischievous/pissed-as-hell, we read them aloud to the class.

You have interesting new tools, but I'm not sure you're taking full advantage.

socalmike said...

I wish we could take them away. Instead, we have to call the campus supervisor, they come to class and write a detention for the student. Ooooh, wow, a big detention! Bunch o'crap. Take the thing away, put it in a box, and have the parent come get it. These things are the bane of my existence.

mrelliott said...

The state I teach in passed a law that forbids students to use their phones during the school day. If they use, we can take them, turn them into the office where they stay for 1 week and the parent has to pick them up and pay a $15 fine.

Sounds great, huh? Here's what has actually happened.

Most of the time if a teacher tries to take a phone, the student out right refuses, which means the student is sent to the office, which then can result in little to nothing being done because the assistant principals are pushovers.


If the teacher does get the phone and turns it in, most of the time the student ends up picking it up the same day because the parent has told the administrator a sob story about not having the money to pay the fee.


The latest thing, the students now have two phones. Their newest phone, and their old phone. So, if they are caught using, they simply hand over the old phone, and no one ever comes and picks it up. Of course, this only works one time.

The kids always find a way to work the system.

Mike Thiac said...

You know you'll probably get sewed for child abuse :)

All serious I was speaking with a friend who has a 12 year old...she sends over 5000 messages a month...I doubt I've sent 10k in the last ten years.

Mike said...

I really wish cell phone blockers were legal for the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Are you allowed to look up student schedules like that?

Darren said...

Of course. That's why I have such access.

You imply, or perhaps I infer, that you think that I shouldn't be allowed to. Why is that?

scott mccall said...

ha, i like the resourcefulness. i wasn't constantly texting in high school, i only did it if there was importance involved. now in college, i usually surf the web, facebook, text, IM, read the news, whatever during class, front row right in front of the professor. professors dont care, they figure it's my loss if i don't get the material

Anonymous said...

Personally, I've always thought teachers shouldn't have access to student schedules, seems like a bit of a privacy issue. For example, why would a PE teacher at my high school need to have access to know where I am on campus at 10:30, or which history I'm taking? IMO, the requests for students schedules should all be sent through the register, and checked to make sure the request is legitimate. Would you also be in favor of college professors knowing their student's schedules?

Darren said...

I don't see a schedule as a privacy issue. Grades, perhaps, but not a schedule.

There are many times when I need to know where students (or former students, or other students) are, and I shouldn't need to have another person get this information for me if I can easily get it for myself.

As for college professors, I have no opinion. Different situation entirely.

scott mccall said...

actually, students have access to that information as well. when i was an office aid at my middle school, we had to take notes to students during class and we had easy access to every student's schedule. we were even given access to the office computers, where we could even change student's schedules if needed

Curmudgeon said...

I applaud the use of the system to send a message to the other teachers, but I gotta wonder ... how is it that the other teacher read the message during the class period?

Darren said...

Really? You really wonder that?

Well, for one, a teacher could be working at his/her desk and see the message come up on the computer screen. OR maybe the teacher hears the beep made when new mail arrives in the inbox.

Just two ideas off the top of my head.

Mr. W said...

This is my favorite thread of all time on your blog.

We too have access to students' schedules. In case they leave something we are supposed to call them and tell them.

I don't see why we shouldn't know their schedule. It's nice to call teachers and talk to them about a students behavior in their class. Seems like a no brainer

Anonymous said...

My children both attend a middle school in a different state. There are no cell phones allowed at all during the school day. Not during class, in the hallways, at lunch, etc.

If a child needs to make a phone call to get in touch with a parent, there is a phone inside near the school entrance and local calls are free. No excuses for needing a cell phone.

Personally, I think it is ridiculous that parents are so intent on giving cell phone and text privileges to children as young as 8! Neither of my children (10 and 13) have cell phones. I told them they won't be getting them until the get a driver's license.

Anonymous said...

How is the situation different with college professors?

Darren said...

Their students are adults.

I hope I'm wrong here, but I get the sense you're being a troll. If you have something to say on this topic, say it.

Ellen K said...

It's not just students. I have actually attended weddings and funerals where cell phones went off and where people could not wait to respond to texts. At family gatherings one relative will actually stop talking to people actually in the room, who have traveled to visit, to respond with "lmao" to some vapid text message. At the high school level the messages look mainly like this:
I'm bored
Me too.
What are you doing?
Me neither.
This sucks.
....it's just sterling prose isn't it. And what is worse is that it is dumbing down the ability of students to write coherently.

Anonymous said...

Is it against the law for students to use mobile phones in your state High School Teacher, or does the law empower teachers to decide if the phones can be used?

Anonymous said...

How am I trolling? I already stated what I think, that it's an invasion of privacy. Are there not 17 year olds at universities? The "adult" argument simply doesn't work. You are merely saying it's OK to look at their schedules because they are of a younger average age, which to me sounds like a weak argument. Should you also be allowed to see their immunization records, home addresses, etc.?

Darren said...

For legitimate school purposes, *yes*, I should.

Ellen K said...

Under the confidentiality codes of Texas, teachers are allowed to have access to any and all information just as long as it is for educational purposes. Preventing students from being off task and disrupting class IS about education.

Anonymous said...

Also, they are underage students whose welfare is in the teachers' hands during those 7 or 8 hours. Could you imagine the panic a parent would have if NO ONE in the school knew where their child was at any given moment during the school day?

Not sure what nefarious things you think a teacher might do with a student's schedule???

I can think of any number of reasons a teacher may need to know a child's location during school hours.

maxutils said...

And . . .CA state law was changed about 5 years ago to allow individual school districts to set their own policiies regarding cell phones. They are now allowed (in our district), but are not to be used during the hours school is in session.

Mr. W said...

yeah I can't figure out why a teacher knowing one of their student's schedules is a big deal. I hope he/she can answer that one.

Doug said...

I know of a couple teachers that have cell phone jammers (little small ones) that they turn on sometimes in their classrooms during class time. One even has it plugged into a digital timer so it goes on and off at specific times! Kids know if they are in those classes they won't be texting their friends.
Also, our computer system here allows us to see not only what a students schedule is, but also their grades, parent contact information, demographics, and CST scores. (I can do this for all students on campus with the exception of CST Scores. Only my students for that info.)

Anonymous said...

And should the principal be allowed to see all student and teacher immunization records and home addresses and phone numbers? (for legitimate purposes, of course)

Mr. W said...

yes why shouldn't they be able to? I am not sure why you are worried about "Big Brother" here. The principle has our home address and phone numbers on file to mail us beginning of the year letters and the phone numbers are used if there is an emergency.

You do realize that no matter what job you get, you will have to give them your phone number and address at least right?