Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Tonight my kids got themselves scolded by their dad (it's usually me!) for singing a middle school teacher's ring tone at the dinner table for the second night in a row.

It took a few minutes for the implication of their knowledge to dawn on me. I asked, "Do your teachers have their phones on in class?" Apparently they do. Some of them ALWAYS have their phones on, while others seem to have it on only when there is some issue of concern going on in their private lives. The kids offered examples of teachers who answered their phones frequently, and even of a music teacher who would give #2 a piece to practice during her tutorial and then would make calls. This same teacher is reportedly often on the phone as students are filing in for music classes.

I must admit that this surprises me. Most of these offending teachers are my parents' age, so it's not as if they've never been without this modern convenience. It's not like they are fresh out of college telling parents, "The kids were all crazy so I was like, 'Um, should you be doing that?,' and they were like, 'Um, no."" **

I need to acknowledge my bias. Very few people have my cell number. My family, the school (for emergencies) and two good friends (also largely for emergencies since we watch eachother's kids). I've given it to teaching artists for use on Art Fridays at school. If I want to be sure a doctor can reach me, I use that number. I will hand it out to contractors doing work on my house. That's about it. And I rarely get calls. Good thing, really, because after a call I have "The Tikki Room" going through my head all day. Unless Larry calls me, then it's the theme song to "Get Smart."

But I digress. I don't think teachers should have phones on during classroom hours. Period. It's not professional. They have a job that is all about ongoing interpersonal communication. They have precious few hours to teach an increasingly ridiculously large amount of material. To set themselves up for more interruption than is bound to happen naturally in a classroom is just plain silly.

Maybe I'm just a fuddy duddy on this one. Maybe it won't be long before going to school will be nothing more than logging on to "Now class, are we all connected?"

**On an unrelated note, Larry and I heard this actual account given by our son's teacher during Back-to-School Night. She is great, and I adore her, as does my boy. She just makes me feel old when I hear things like that coming out of her mouth!

4 fishy comments:

Laura Lou said...

You're no fuddy duddy. I don't have children and I find this information upsetting. The idea that the good people into whos care we entrust the youth of our nation for precious hours of important education can not give them their undivided know the rest. I understand how over worked and underpaid teachers are. However, a job is a job. If I spent any amount of time at my job on my cell phone I know this would NOT work well in my bosses eyes. It's bad form and it shouldn't be allowed. That's what the teachers lounge is for, smoking, making mimeographs, drinking tab...and now, talking on your cell phone.

Jenn said...

Yeah, I'm with you. I've only had a cell phone for about 2 1/2 years, because I just really didn't see it as a necessity. Mark finally talked me into it, because it makes work-related things easier for him. I think may 5-6 people have my cell # - Mark, my parents and in-laws, and a *few* close friends. I do put it on all the kids' emergency paperwork at school, but the school has NEVER called it.

I get *maybe* 2-3 calls per week on my cell. Generally, it's Mark calling because he's already tried the house, and I wasn't home, and he needed to tell/ask me something. Or I've gone to the store or an appointment, and he's home with the kids and needs to know where something is, or if someone is REALLY allowed to do something, LOL. On rare occasions, another friend or relative will call it - also always because they've tried the house, and no one answered, and what they neeed was urgent. I just can't imagine blabbing on it all day long. Personally, I'm kind of ANNOYED when I get calls, until I find out it's truly something urgent. :-/

JP's family said...

I'm with ya on this cell phones in class...especially when private lives are topsy turvy ( unless there's a deathly illness).
I think I would bring it up to school admin!

Kelly said...

OMG! I wouldn't of ever thought teachers would be on cell phones during class time. I will definitely have to check into that around here. thanks for bringing it to my attention.

But on the other hand, I have to admit that my only phone is my cell phone and sometimes I wish it wasn't.