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subasaurus subasaurus is offline
 
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subasaurus
 
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Cell phone rules never work
Old 02-07-2017, 05:37 AM
 
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No cellphones allowed in class!

Lol.

Then why do I see every student in the hallway with one?

Good luck having a sub enforce that rule!

Ah, the digital age.


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Cell phones
Old 02-07-2017, 06:31 AM
 
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It is not difficult enforcing the ban at the middle schools, but forget it at the high schools. At the high school I play a give and take game with them--off while I am giving instructions-- on listening to music if on task while working.
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High school
Old 02-07-2017, 09:32 AM
 
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Exactly... typically the older the student, the less they care about consequences.

I think schools should just flat out ban phones if they don't want students using them.
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Old 02-07-2017, 02:05 PM
 
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When my son entered high school, he got a detention for taking his phone out of his pocket outdoors to check the time (this would have been 8 years ago). Four years later, totally different story...phones everywhere. It's one of the reasons I don't work high school. I don't want to fight the phone use.
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Old 02-07-2017, 02:48 PM
 
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As a mom, I appreciate being able to quickly check in with my son during the day. As a sub, it is a constant losing battle with the phones and ipads. I did sub in a room the other day where each student put their phone in a hanging pocket organizer as soon as they entered.That was a pleasant change. If I understood correctly, it was not a requirement to do so, but there was a HEAVY consequence if the phone created any kind of noise or disturbance. The kids didn't risk it.


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not part of any program
Old 02-07-2017, 03:38 PM
 
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I have worked in a school where simply having a cell phone going off as an alarm is grounds for confiscating the device. Out of sight, out of mind. I'm currently at a school where the rule is, if it's not part of the program then students should put their cell phones away. There is no definite consequence and I really want to speak to parents regarding this because it should not be used inside any classroom. Students use it to take pictures of themselves and others around them and this can be dangerous especially when one's privacy is compromised. What worked for me is when a cell phone is taken and only to be returned when a student picks it up with a parent from the main office.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:22 PM
 
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One school where I used to sub would collect cell/smart phones and place them in numbered bags for the students to collect at the end of the day. I think this practice has been discontinued due to the sheer number of phones and the concerns about liability.

I am of the opinion that unless there is a valid educational reason for having these out they should be left in lockers. There is no reason to be texting friends and snapchatting and whatever else they do in school.

I've been videoed by students using school issued iPads. I reported it and as far as I know nothing was done to discipline them. Two of the students involved came up to me and asked why I turned them in (as if they had no clue) when I asked them repeatedly to stop videoing me. It was on one of the videos recovered.

Good luck getting any support from the administration on this when you are a sub.
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:29 AM
 
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I've almost completely stopped high school subbing because of those darn phones.

There have been a number of articles and news reports lately about the effect of constant phone use on young eyes. I saw a report the other night about a teenager who has a dry eye condition usually seen in middle age adults. Very sad. The day will come when parents and schools see what's happening, and get serious about the problem. I'm afraid that day is a long way off.
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Old 02-08-2017, 05:50 PM
 
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One teacher at the middle school in which I work has tables that seat two arranged in groups. In the center of each group is a basket in which students are required to deposit their turned off cell phones during class. They are not allowed to touch the phones while class is in session. It works great. Highly recommended to solve the problem.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:28 PM
 
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"As a mom i appreciate being able to check in quickly with my son"

Our school district caved in to parents on this and it is the main reason they have NO rules on cell phones and the main reason i won't sub in high school.


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Maybe...
Old 02-09-2017, 02:37 PM
 
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I'm truly ambivalent on this issue, even though I'm of the non-cell phone era. The reality is they've become a huge part of most people's lives. Parents are buying phones for nine year olds. There are some people who, if you asked them to give up their cell phone, would see it as equivalent to asking them to stop breathing.

I think there's a bigger issue called focus. We talk a lot about keeping elementary kids on task... but we're not succeeding in teaching it. Until we figure that out--as well as how to make learning more engaging, it's not just cell phones we are competing with.

Our policy is somewhat middle of the road, something like what Cayo has described, except the student gets to decide. They are allowed to keep it as long as they can manage it. Some students find it helpful to drop the phone in the basket and be done with it. But it's their choice--until it becomes a distraction. It's not a perfect system, but it makes it clear that what happens is up to them, not the teacher or sub.

I hear of one Spanish Teacher who spent a class having everyone text each other--but it had to be in Spanish. Interesting!?
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Thanks for the replies, all.
Old 02-10-2017, 01:04 PM
 
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Here's my final take on the issue:

If I were principal of a school, I'd say phones were only allowed before and after school. Never ever during school, unless an emergency. No questions asked.

Like Sublime mentioned, let's go back to 8 years ago and give them detention for even taking it out. Students don't have the "right" to use their own technology. It's a privilege. Schools can enforce rules any way they want really. What schools choose to do though is let them slide because someone will inevitably complain. Lame that we've come to this mentality of "let the kids do as they please" out of fear of complaints.

No cell phone "jail" or anything like that. No student or parent pleasing. No second chances. Just don't want to see them, period. Not even in the cafeteria.

Want music? Bring an IPod, and not an IPhone!

There are far too many inappropriate situations and distractions that arise with smart phones and kids. And subs (and even regular day to day teachers) having to "fight" students to put them away just seems like another easy way for dumb trouble to brew, and that can get the STAFF in trouble. If a student gets angered that you told them to put it away they can easily go complain to mom and dad or the principal. Hate to say this, but the situation will sadly NOT be in the sub's favor if there's a power struggle.

They are a huge liability and terrible distraction. Unfair to other students who don't want to hear obnoxious or offensive content blasted in class. And unfair to subs who don't know the general dynamics of the classroom. Some teachers allow students to use them in class for "research," which is absurd in my mind.

Harsh, but an easy way to curb so much teen drama, as well as liability for staff.

Last edited by subasaurus; 02-10-2017 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:08 AM
 
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For me, it really depends on the class. In a computer class, if students want to listen to music on their phones and have head phones, I don't mind. Every classroom in our district has a phone with an outside line. If a student needs to call home, they can use that phone. Parents don't need to call in to check on students while they are in class. I'd ask the poster above how often her mother called her in school to check in on her.

Several teachers have gone to using the old calculator holders and require that students put their phones in the numbered pouches at the beginning of class. This works very well. Any student that fails to deposit his or her phone has participation points deducted. This has returned the focus to the subject matter.

I don't know any student who has an I-pod any more for music as that is now a function of most phones.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:49 AM
 
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Agreed, I have no problem at all with them listening to music in computer class or study hall with headphones on either. That doesn't distract or offend others.

But speaking of computers, the irony is laptops/desktop computers can be even worse than smart phones when there are no network filters. Students can access inappropriate content faster with laptops despite school filters blocking some potentially offensive content. This still puts subs and regular teachers in an unfair and dangerous situation that shouldn't be there in the first place.

I've had students look up sexually explicit and/or racially offensive photos on Google images before. This should not be a thing ever happening in schools. I shouldn't even have to worry about that happening. And having youtube available for students but not teachers seems to be a hilarious and ironic double standard. (yep, I have been in numerous situations where I was blocked from youtube as a teacher seeking educational videos while students were watching prank videos and playing violent video games.)

My argument is it should not be our responsibility as subs or teachers to have to "monitor" the content students access 24/7. We are not their parents. We are not there to watch them like hawks with every single move they make every second of the day. Our job is not to censor the internet for them. It should certainly be the job of the administration to implement an effective network that will not allow ANY inappropriate content to be accessed (or hacked into) in the first place.

Our jobs as subs are to be sure students are:

1. on-task
2. acting appropriate
3. following the rules of the school
4. being respectful

"Internet and cell phone police" should not be -- and is not -- in our job description. We don't work for Apple! Lol. I have to laugh when teachers put in their lesson plans in all caps lock: "no cell phones!"

Not our fault if the school allows them. They're technically not breaking a school rule then if they can bring them to school and use them in other classes.

What kind of message does it send to the student if they're allowed to use them in some classes but not others? Or if teachers can use them and they can't. Or vice versa. Where's the consistency or fairness there? It teaches them they don't need to follow the rules all the time.

It's a huge problem too when they play music with graphic lyrics that could offend others -- once again it becomes our problem as educators.

Not all schools are set up like this, but many are.

Students are given far too much freedom to do as they wish these days regarding technology in school, with little to no consequences. And they're getting so many mixed messages about the rules, as are staff.

Like I said in my last post, I take a harsh and radical stance on this topic because of the strong liability present for subs, and how it's not fair to students who don't want to hear or see content that is offensive. I believe in consistency, not "it's ok sometimes to use them, but not in this class." Otherwise, major power struggles and wasted time occur when student x says "teacher z usually let's us use them!"

Ironically, us subs (adults trusted to be in charge of children!) aren't allowed to use the internet at all in some schools. Go figure.

The internet and technology are incredibly valuable tools, but when not provided and regulated in a safe, logical, and fair manner they can lead to major trouble. And the politics of cell phone use are such a gray and unenforced area in some schools it makes me stop caring if they use them out of frustration for school's wishy-washy rules.

Last edited by subasaurus; 02-11-2017 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:32 AM
 
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I just want to clarify that I would not call the phone during the school day. A text that can be checked during passing periods or at lunch (if need be) is a helpful and unobtrusive way for me to get a quick answer if I am needing to schedule something for him.

We are in agreement that technology has become an addiction for kids. I just had a high school student who seemed sincerely shocked that I would not let him watch a movie while he took a test. (They were allowed to use their notes on their ipads for the test. So he decided he'd use it to watch a movie too. Really??!!)
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How about this?
Old 02-14-2017, 05:24 AM
 
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During a recent "read aloud" (second grade), I learned that students are allowed to draw and color while the teacher reads. They claimed it helps them concentrate. I found it very distracting--some kids were sharpening crayons... digging in their desks for crayons and papers.... one wanted a pair of scissors to cut out what she'd colored... but for the most part they were, in fact, listening. I think.

If they can draw now, why not listen to music on their phones in a few years? (Although it won't be that many--fifth and sixth graders are carrying phones.) If they can listen to music, why not watch a movie?

I'm not sure I agree:
Quote:
My argument is it should not be our responsibility as subs or teachers to have to "monitor" the content students access 24/7.
(if we take out the 24/7). One of those second graders could, certainly, have drawn an "inappropriate" picture--one reason I walked around while reading. And, as pointed out, students can also access inappropriate content on laptops, etc.

The cell phone is not the problem any more than the drawing paper or the computers. I am having power struggles with kids who are five and six years old over things ranging from where they sit to when they are allowed to leave the room.

And it is about liability and, unfortunately, fear of parental interference on the part of teachers and administration.

I recently had an argument with a six-year-old over cough drops. School policy is kids can have them in the classroom (medication is supposed to be under the supervision of the nurse) with a parent's permission, but they must remain at the teacher's desk. The teacher (sub) is, apparently, supposed to monitor the usage of cough drops. This six-year-old was quite insistent that she be able to keep her cough drops at her desk because that was what her Mom wanted. (She also wanted to share them with her friend, another policy violation.) I can't wait until she gets her first cell phone.

I certainly agree that cell phones are a particularly sticky issue. So are unfinished cough drops.

If we want to look at these kids a little further ahead, I can relate the story of a college professor who was "reprimanded" for telling a student to leave her room after he told her to "go f#$k herself." The position of the dean of students was she was interfering with the student's "freedom of speech." (The good news is the professor filed a grievance and prevailed but not until she demonstrated that the student had violated the student code of conduct.)

Until we (society--not just subs and teachers) start figuring out how to develop individual responsibility and accountability that includes consequences, these problems will not go away. Small wonder some of the best teachers I know are taking retirement as early as they can.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:32 AM
 
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It is a very difficult thing to handle in modern times because in many classes, students are allowed to use phones now as part of their work. I know in Spanish classes, students are allowed to use the translator apps to help them with their assignments. I know in some English classes, students are allowed to use their phones to read actual books. Math classes sometimes let them use phones as calculators because schools are too cheap to supply calculators to every student these days. Some teachers encourage students to take pictures of their work with phones, etc... It has become nearly impossible to control cell phone use, because they are basically allowed now in the classroom in every school I work at. However, they are only allowed to use phones for school related work. But, good luck enforcing that. I don't really bother them anymore, unless I catch them taking pictures of each other or video. Then, I threaten to take the phone away and have done so a couple times this year already for that reason.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:46 AM
 
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Quote:
I hear of one Spanish Teacher who spent a class having everyone text each other--but it had to be in Spanish. Interesting!?
I love this!

I've always been a fan of using what the kids are into. I remember back when "silly bands" were big with the elementary kids. Some rooms banned them, but one of my favorite teachers used them for math lessons!

As a parent, I like that I can text my son for him to check at lunch - times when he's broken a braces bracket or something, and I needed to make him an orthodontist appointment, it came in very handy to be able to tell him I would pick him up at x time, or to walk there after school, etc.

I also like that he can text me (at an appropriate time) if he's staying after. I can check my phone after school to see whether he has taken the bus home or I should swing by an pick him up on my way home. If he was calling from the office, they'd have to ring the school I was at, figure out what room I was in at the time (because I often "float") and interrupt whatever class I was with.

As a teacher, I sub mostly elementary, and if I am in the upper grades, I follow the regular teacher's policy. But if I was in my own room, I wouldn't mind if they listened to music during independent work, or used calculator apps when appropriate, and I think I would allow time to Google answers to questions the students were curious about. The phones are a normal part of their world, so I'm willing to meet them halfway. I would, of course, require them to be put away during tests and direct instruction. One of my son's teachers brilliantly provides a charging station to soften the blow!
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