Technology is actually starting to scare me in schools

So, I know I have posted about this before, but I am starting to become much more legitimately concerned about the well-being of the students that I am teaching. Today, I was working as a substitute teacher at a public high school in a suburb of Chicago, in fact in the same district as the one that I attended when I was a teenager. I was to teach a math class, and while math is not my content area, I still offered what help I could.

In all of this teacher’s classes, the students had worksheets to work on and whatever they did not finish became homework. Simple enough right? As I am typing this, I am sitting in this second period class of 18 students (4 are missing), and here are the statistics on their cell phone usage:

  • 16 have their phones out on their desks (using them or not)
  • 8 of those 16 are texting or using some form of social media for more than just changing the song that they are listening to while they are working.

Now, remember how I said I attended this district?  When I was in High School, the first iPhone had come out during my freshman year, so a lot of us did not have phones.  When we did get one, they were usually standard flip phones or one of the original LG enV’s.  The school was also very strict on what we were allowed to do with the phones.  I remember I was walking to class one time during my junior year and a friend of mine was walking with me.  We were curious how much time we had to get to our class so he pulled out his cellphone to look at the time.  A dean happened to be walking the opposite direction, took his phone, and told him he could pick it up in the dean’s office after school along with a detention.  Just for looking at the time.  I am not saying that this is right, but it is interesting to note how lenient these schools have become when it comes to this technology.

Now, we are not permitted to take a student’s cellphone and leave it in the dean’s office, as they feel this is a safety concern.

Now, I mentioned those 8 students before about their cell phone usage.  I have now gone over there at least 3 times per student and told them to put it away and they just won’t.  Why?  Because I am powerless.  I am a sub, so I cannot write anyone up, I cannot take away phones or I will get in trouble, and I cannot enforce any classroom discipline because I am not going to get supported.

Being a teacher is an exceptionally hard and thankless job, and I feel that it is being made harder, because we aren’t allowed to do anything about the way our students behave.  You want the students to learn?  You complain about the state of our education in this country?  Look at the reason why there is a record number of students with ADD.  It is because they are so involved in their gadgets and media that they are losing the ability to think without them, and in turn, it is crippling them.

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