Friday, December 26, 2014


Another subbing story from before the break. Because I might have more interesting stories from the break to tell next week... Well, maybe I'll just take a week off or something.

English class at the continuation high school. We were to read a story from their textbook. To encourage students to volunteer to read, I was to keep a list of those who read so they could get participation points.

Amazingly, I had volunteers. I even had the whole class' attention...

...Except for Sam. He was obviously on his cell phone--talking back to the video he was watching. And totally oblivious to the fact that I had completely stopped and was focused solely on him.

I told him to go to the office and turn in his cell phone.

"But you said you were taking volunteers to read..."

Me: "Which doesn't mean you don't pay attention. You still need to follow along."

Sam: "OK. I'll put my phone away. Give me one more chance..."

Never, ever give "one more chance". I learned this lesson the hard way. If one student talks you out of a consequence, the others see this and know that they can, too. I mean, you already let Sam keep his phone. I should keep my phone.

(Which is why I usually start with a warning. "If I see it again..." I don't usually have to pull the trigger on that one. But Sam wasn't surreptitiously sneaking a look. He didn't accidentally have his phone out. He was blatantly ignoring what he was supposed to be doing, not even pretending to pay attention. This was not a warning situation.)

I went back to teaching class. Sam remained in his seat. When we got to a natural pausing point, I went to the phone and called the office. Only then did Sam get up. And slam the door on his way out.

And he never returned to class.

I forgot to follow up, so I don't know what happened to him. (It was one of those days where I was busy in class after this.) But I did put the incident in my note. Because I do that.


  1. I'm sure he was highly insulted that you were doing your job properly and punishing him for blatantly using his phone in class. What nerve you have ;).

  2. I hadn't thought of that before, but you definitely can't do the "give me one more chance" routine for sure. Everyone else would want to take advantage of it indeed. Only way to try to get through is to do what you did, as unhappy as he was about it.


  3. I hate it when they walk out and slam the door. It's so insolent. Good on you for carrying through. You're right... he took it too far for a mere warning.

    1. Glad that you thought so, too. I have a tendency to overthink these things.

  4. Good strategy! I think this demonstrates just how addictive cell phones can be. I think our next generation is going to be a bunch of Starbucks-drinking cell phone addicts. (It'll either be moved to their glasses or their wrist via a Smart Watch by then, they won't even have to pull the phone out of their pockets!)

    1. I wonder. Things tend to go in cycles, so I wonder if the next generation after the one that grew up with cell phones will be less likely to become addicted.


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