Yesterday, I thought it was. Today, I just want my classroom back on my terms.
I wrote a draft yesterday in which I lamented the current state of things in schools. The TikTok challenges, the fictitious letters, the rampant use of mobile devices for social media and bullying have all made me anxious.
Student handbooks nationwide probably state that using mobile devices, except in certain instances, is prohibited, and bullying anytime is prohibited. Ours does. I know because I checked to refresh my memory.
On pages 9, 15, and 18, the administration makes it clear: mobile devices and cyberbullying are clearly prohibited, and there are consequences for violations. Mobile devices may be used at lunch, but at no other time.
Yesterday, I considered going back to pen and paper, to avoid any use of technology. Well, today I feel differently. Why? Several reasons.
I Must Enforce the Policy to Get My Classroom Back
Telling people to put the phones away, or asking them not to produce them in class, isn’t working. Students who violate the rules simply cannot help themselves. Therefore, enforcing the policy is the only way to stop the violations.
I need my classroom, my safe space, back. I will take it back.
Students also need a safe space. I will give them one.
To facilitate that, I purchased a mobile phone desktop organizer into which students will put their phones when they come to class. If they won’t, and I see it, then I have the right to confiscate it, according to page 18 of the handbook.
Seriously, it’s either this or quit. I don’t want to quit, and if I don’t try something, then quitting is all my fault.
I’m Not Interested in Killing Trees
I like referring to paper as much as anyone. However, the thought of standing at the copier, watching paper spit from it, which will be used once and then shoved into a locker or the “circular file,” makes me cringe.
While I plan to use more paper this year than last (students have told me they prefer paper), pretending the computers don’t exist seems downright silly. We are a 1:1 school also; it’s a waste of funding to not use them.
And since my family calls me “gadget girl,” shouldn’t I teach the way I feel most comfortable?
Again, I need to get my classroom back, on my terms. Sacrificing teaching strategies for the sake of locking down technology is counterproductive.
Students learn best when teachers are at their best, using the tools they use best to help students learn. I will help my students learn.
Online Resources Keep Us All Organized
We all need to stay organized, and having online resources is one way to do that. With too much paper floating around, I can see our work quickly sliding into chaos.
I can’t stand chaos.
This year, I took papers home to grade for the first time in years. I checked and double checked to make sure I had them all. It was terrible. I told the kids I wasn’t going to do that anymore. Many understood why I felt that way.
The only inboxes I want are online inboxes. The physical ones are too risky.
I need my safe space back. Students also need a safe space. I will give us one.
Thank you for reading this post. I look forward to reading your thoughts.