In the Middle of Class, a Different Kind of Text
March 9, 2008 in The Way It Were
Tags: advice, cell, classroom, confiscate, master teacher, message, moral, passive, phone, reading, rule, school, student teacher, substitute, talking, teacher, teaching, text, the glare, voice
My weekend got off to a marvelous start. I got to confiscate a phone.
I had been monitoring the class my master teacher had me subbing — the same seniors I see every day, except now I get paid to do it — and I was busy making sure the little rapscallions spent their time reading reading. I was also brushing up on my use of the passive voice, but that’s neither here nor there.
Rather than read, one student — who, coincidentally, was tardy to class that day — kept talking. After a few uses of the glare I called her on it. Her friend decided to step in on her behalf.
“We aren’t doing anything, anyway. What do you expect?” she said. “People are going to talk. I think we should get out early.”
I expected that non sequitur — I am a sub, after all, and students love to make any argument on Sub Day that includes “we should” and ends with “get out early.” No dice, kiddo.
What got me was that she was text messaging while she talked. Strictly speaking, I didn’t see her phone as she was clever enough to hide it under the desk, but she was at least looking at her lap very intently, and was scooted back from the table just enough so that the right angle would show a cell phone. Her book lay open on the desk.
As per the class rule, I confiscated her cell phone — she seemed surprised that I saw through her ruse — with a promise to return it the following class day, a phrase which here means “on the other side of a weekend.”
She issued a protest. I told her to stay after class to talk about it, and she did.
“I have to call to get a ride to work. We don’t have a landline.”
“Nobody else in your family has a cell phone?”
“Do you have friends?”
“I can’t use their phones. Their phones don’t have my mom’s number.”
Caught her in a lie. She can wait until Monday.
Moral of the story? Maintain healthy skepticism toward excuses. More than a few are false.
Every day, we experience a thousand moments, each of those moments setting in motion a thousand slightly different possibilities in the future. When we make these choices, we are thrust toward another day's crossroads, where we have another thousand choices.
Given the infinite number of choices we make in a lifetime, why do we choose so many of the same routes and make just as many of the same mistakes as our parents and grandparents?
I plan to learn from their mistakes. Let's see how far I get.
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