Monday, June 29, 2009

Okay, so, she doesn't have a cell phone

With almost sincere apologies to Relient K and the bloggers who insist that you must have a good post title.

I have only a few minutes left before embarking on the adventure that is making a vegetarian dinner when what I really want is a cheeseburger, so I thought I'd discuss a lighter topic that has been driving me crazy.

Yes, it's cell phones.

Now, I love my cell phone. It goes everywhere with me. It's not a fancy-schmancy smart phone, but it does play music and have some email capabilities. I love being able to text my husband without worrying about interrupting him in a meeting. I love being able to text the P.E. teacher across the field and allow them to get the information in a quick glance, saving me a hike. I love being able to apologize to my sister when she's not talking to me. What I don't love is having to tell kids to put their phones away in the Library of Congress.

In case you didn't know, and I wasn't really aware of this until a few days ago, the LoC is one of the most amazing buildings in the world. The ornamentation and architecture are breathtaking (especially when you've travelled the hospitalesque underground corridor from the Capitol), the exhibits are fascinating, and the sheer volume of knowledge contained in that one building left me unable to breathe and unwilling to leave.

And the kids were texting.

Before you insist that they were texting about how amazing the sights were, please let me stop you. No. They weren't. Trust me.

Toward the end of the last school year, when a parent retrieved a confiscated cell phone from a teacher, she made the comment that "oh, yeah, the phone bill shows that [my kid] texts all the time during class!"

Here's my question: WHY DOES THE KID HAVE A CELL PHONE??? He's students performing way below his potential, and yet he's allowed to text in class? My students are in middle school, and it's highly unlikely that he's earning his own money to pay for the phone. Of course, he's not the only student who allows cell phones to distract from learning.

True, it's good for kids to have cell phones to arrange rides and in case of emergency. However, texting is easy to turn off, and it's not hard to change the settings so that the kid can only call Mom, Dad, Grandma, and 911.

Why do parents allow their underachieving kids to have these privileges? Wouldn't it be easy to set up a reasonable system allow the kid to earn texting and free phone use?
You could argue that if the lessons were interesting enough, the kids wouldn't be texting during class. If that's your position, please scroll up and take one more look at the pictures, then come back and explain how that's even plausible.

Gotta go, I just got a text from my husband. Maybe I'll ask him to bring home cheeseburgers.

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