Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Texting away your education

A friend discovered recently that her child has been texting during school. Not occasionally, but it was every few minutes ... all day long ... from first bell to dismissal! Ah, the painful disclosure of a cell phone bill.

Of course, she took away her child's right to text, and also went to discuss it with the teachers. The assumption was that her child was being sneaky, and texting without being caught.

Quite the contrary.

Her child was actually praised by one teacher for being quiet and non-disruptive while text messaging throughout class. The other students are loud, laughing and reacting verbally while texting. This was a good kid. A polite texter, if you will. No harm, no foul.

Now, it's certainly not every teacher at the high school that allows this (every teacher I know personally would snatch up a cell in a heartbeat). Yet, there are teachers who let their students basically talk non-stop throughout class. That's what a text message is. Yet now, it is a constant interaction through walls and buildings, instead of the note-passing of yesteryear (remember how it would take us ten minutes to slyly get ONE stinkin' note slowly across the classroom ... desk to desk ... with sneezes or dropping our Trapper Keepers as a distraction?).

So, back to how my friend discovered the mid-calculus messaging ... their grades had dropped ... out of nowhere. Ding-ding-ding!

I know that if I were to bring this to light, it would fall on deaf ears (seeing how I have no high school aged kids ... er ... and we educate at HOME!). So, I'm hoping the parents of our students are heard. I'm hoping that some major changes are made across the board, for the sake of learning.

Is it just here? What are the cell rules in other towns and cities? Do you pay close attention to when and who your kids are texting? Come on, seasoned mothers. Let us glean from your maternal wisdom.


amie said...

In the late 80s and early 90s I used to pass notes all the time! Yes, it was distracting to some degree, but at least we used to hide it from the teacher. Sometimes it'd get intercepted & read to the class though (very embarassing).

In the early older son (stepson, almost 16) would love to have a cell phone. My husband and I have held a firm no...and are glad we have. I sat in on one of his classes last year (computer applications) and there were kids with iPod headphones on and holding cell phones just *texting* away. A few of them were laughing and reacting verbally to whatever their friends were sending them. It was really distracting and there is no way they were learning anything from the teacher. The teacher was interrupted several times by the mini-outbursts of a girl squeeling in reaction to her text message. She was quite embarassed (the teacher).

I'm not sure why some teachers allow this to go on. My son's teacher told me (in another conversation) that there are a few students at school who have threatened teachers! They have to watch out for these kids! We have since moved and changed schools and while his new school is a lot better overall, there are still many kids wasting their days away on their cells. I don't know what the solution for all is, but I know that we won't be giving our son a cell phone. The temptation and distraction are too great.

Hillary said...

It's not only high school, let me tell you. One of my grade ONE students was so obsessed with her iPod that the stopped in the middle of the hallway and all the other kids in the line stopped after her - I nearly lost half my class on the way to the lunch room. A week later, I had to take away a razor phone from the same kid. YOU'RE SIX! What the heck do you need a cell phone for?????

Our school's policy is wiffly waffly- you can have them, but they are off and in the backpack the whole day. No official word on what happens if they're not.

Dana said...

Trapper Keepers?!! Man, I wanted one of those so bad. Maybe I should go buy one now just to make up for the years of trauma of just having a stack of folders.

That is a little frightening to think that teachers would actually allow that during class. What does it promote? Scary thought.

Summer said...

You're giving me flashbacks! I still remember getting caught passing a note to my friend and having to stand in front of the whole class to read it out loud. It was a note telling her that I couldn't go swimming that weekend because my period was about to start.

That made for a great high school moment.

Lana said...

I am on the School Board of our church's private Christian school. Just two weeks ago we voted to change the cell phone policy at our school. Previously the rule stated that the student could use the phone as long as it was not during class. We changed it so that no cell phones can be used at all during the day. Not even at lunch. If a student is caught with one, the parent must visit the principal to get the phone for the student. Our new principal is determined to enforce this. I am so glad because I have seen posting on MySpace that have been made by our students while in class. It is crazy! It is one more distraction our kids don't need. Many parents say, "but what if I need to reach my child during the school day?". I say, call the school office and have the aid take a note to the teacher. Isn't that what our parents did before any of us had cell phones? It is a convience that many parents have grown accustomed to. Rarely is it a necessisity.

Kim said...

Hi. Love your blog. I work for a law office and many of our clients are teachers, both at the highschool and the local university which is a block away. They call us from their cell phones all the time during class. During class! And interupt our telephone to speak with students. Who are right there. During class! Where they are supposed to be learning. While the teachers are on the phone discussing their private legal lives (such as divorce). In front of the students. DURING CLASS!!!
And I do know that not all teachers do that - my brother is a high school english teacher and he will not even give our family his email address at work. His cell phone - NEVER on at work. Or at home when he is spending time with his children, for that matter. At my daughter's school, phones must be turned off and kept in the lockers and cannot be used while school is in session. It is necessary that the kids have them as she is involved in sports and clubs which let out at different times and she needs to call me for rides and/or permission for activities. THere is a phone provided for students to use free of charge, however I work the next town over and the phone only works for in-town calls. Anyway, long and rambling....but why are kids (and teachers!) allowed to have their phones on during school anyway?
Kim (who doesn't have a webpage or google password so aways has to check "Anonymous" for the comment)

Gayle said...

Wow! Deep subject... as a parent just embarking on the whole new text/aim world...most of my daughters friends have cells.. they are not allowed to have them on during school.. but after school it's text mania!!

She does not have her own personal cell, she can use mine when needed or when we are together. She has formated the cell as if it is her's...colors, pics etc.. I'm ok with that..cause I dont have time to mess with all the extra gadgets on it anyway.

Believe me I LOOK AT EVERY TEXT/AIM that goes out and comes in. I look at her myspace and have a "quote o' the mom" on her page...not because I dont trust her, but I want her to understand about accountability. She's ok with it for now and from time to time respectfully asks me to "quit butting in on her stuff". But I want to keep the line of communication open. I don't talk to her about the texts etc.... unless she wants to talk about them. Most everything I have seen have passed the mom test.. and I have pretty high standards.

I cannot believe some teachers are allowing the students to use cells in calls.. because of fear or "babysitting" the students. I thought they were TEACHERS!!

Much more to learn and understand for the years to come! TEENS am I ready?? With the Lord's help.. I will be!

Kailani said...

My daughter is too young to know what texting is but DH and I had a conversation about this just yesterday. We were driving when we saw a girl texting while weaving in and out of her lane. I think they should make it illegal to text and drive. It should all be forbidden to text in school. Just my opinion.

BTW, your post will be included in the next edition of the Carnival of Family Life scheduled for Nov. 19th at An Island Life. See you there!

Sister Snoopy said...

I work at a middle school and we are VERY strict and consistent with our cell phone/electronic equipment policy--no use for the entire time school is in session (8-3). We have staggered consequences for each violation.

What gets me is the parent who is unwilling to cooperate and doesn't "get" why they can't call or text their student during classes. Or better yet, the phone gets taken away by the teacher because the parent was texting them. *gah*