Friday, May 2, 2014

Compounding the Problem?

The phone woke me up. Pre-algebra? At that one middle school. I asked the question even though I knew the answer. "Who's the teacher?"

Yeah, I was afraid of that.

This is the third time I've covered this class this year. They are not good. I had a chance to meet the teacher (after knocking her projector to the ground--I apologized. Turned out it was none the worse for wear). She's been fighting the good fight all year. So, it's not just me.

So, I was wary about letting them get away with anything. Which is why when I saw the cell phone held up amongst the group of girls, I went in for the confiscate rather than giving them a warning.

(The word "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" was on the screen. I'm not sure why. She was showing it to her two friends. I missed most of the context of this.)

I got the usual protests, but the girl gave it up (after using way too many gestures to "turn it off"). I had it when she asked me if I would give it back to her at the end of the period. Or at lunch. Or after school.

When I told her that I would be turning it in to the office, she got worried. I told her that the extent of her punishment was that her parent would have to pick the thing up after school. That was the problem. Her parents would be mad.

One of her friends told her to tell her parents that she hadn't been using it. As the discussion was now over, I went on to other things.

All in all, the confiscation went smoothly. I turned the phone in to the office right after that class (I had a prep), and I thought no more of it.

Three periods later, I got a call from the office. Why had I confiscated the girl's phone? I explained what I saw, going into a bit of detail when the office secretary cut me off.

"So, she was using it in class?"

When I replied in the affirmative, the secretary explained. The girl's mother was on the phone. The girl had told her father that she hadn't been using the phone, so the mother was calling the office to complain. Or something. Well, it was easy enough to get my side of the story...

I guess the girl took her friend's advice. To her detriment, I imagine.

17 comments:

  1. I think you did the right thing to take it from her. I’m surprised that the girl’s mother called to complain. But then again, I’ve never been a teacher, so I have a feeling that it did not surprise you that the office got a phone call from the mother.

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  2. She really thought that would work? Her parents really thought that a teacher was just grabbing phones from students with no provocation?

    Well, hopefully the girl won't make that mistake again.

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  3. Why do parents take their kids side? Grrrrr...

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    1. I wasn't one that took the kids' sides. I knew what they were capable of and what they weren't so when a teacher said they had done something and it was within their capacity of what I knew they would do, I always believed the teachers. The teachers never said anything the kids did that I knew wasn't within their capacity. For instance, I knew my son lied at times but he was not a thief. So if the teacher said something that was directed about son lying about this or that, I knew that was within his capability. If they said he stole something, I'd have to question it because I knew he wasn't a thief. Make sense?

      betty

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  4. Parenting a teenage girl is a special kind of punishment. I think women get repaid for the torture they put their moms through! What surprises me, though, is that kids are allowed to use cell phones in school at all, even between classes. I mentioned that to my stepdaughter and she said, "You HAVE to be able to communicate with your parents. What if they need to know something during the day?" I didn't bother pointing out that we didn't have cell phones in school when we were growing up!

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    1. I think the kids today would be amazed at how well we did not being in constant communication during the school day. I don't so much mind cell phones when they aren't in class, but when they are in class... There was one time when a boy thought it was appropriate to order food during class time, but that's a story for another day.

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    2. I had to respond to the food order, but I am so shocked I can't find words to say anything and I don't know how to type my facial expression...arrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhh

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  5. I know a few teachers and I'm amazed at how parents will just believe anything their kids tell them nowadays. I sure never got that and never did it with my son either. There are some flaky teachers out there but most of them wouldn't bother to lie.

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  6. I wonder if the parent asked about the other side of the story or simply assumed his daughter was telling the truth.

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    1. I don't know how that conversation went. Or maybe that's what the girl texted while I was confiscating the phone.

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  7. Pretty sad, the whole thing. As parents we want to believe our kids, but ... and that's a big but, we have to be careful and yours is a great example as to why. Thanks for sharing, Liz.

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    1. Sometimes the kids should be believed. Some times they shouldn't.

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  8. They don't pay teachers enough for all they have to deal with.

    betty

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  9. At my son's school, you get caught using your phone in a classroom without the teacher's approval and they take it, turn it in to the office and the kid has to bring a signed note and pay a $15 penalty. Mine got caught ONCE. We made him pay with his own money and it's never happened again. And I don't care what excuse he had for having it out...he knew the rule, we know the rule, the teachers don't keep the rule a secret...sorry bud! I can always tell when he's lying to me and I will always go to bat for him, but a rule's a rule in this case. Sorry you don't have something as black and white at your school - it would make it easier, I'm sure.

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    1. Oh, the rule is clear cut. It's just not enforced uniformly.

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  10. Once again, I find myself thankful I didn't have to teach in a school that allowed students to have cell phones in the first place. Or was located in an area where a cell phone would even work.

    Again, I salute you for putting up with it.

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