One of the more frustrating aspects of teaching in the modern world is the daily battle of the cell phone.
No matter what the teacher does, it is a real problem going up against the constant pulling out of phones in class. Personally, I have tried to go hard (sanctions for having a cellphone out that I can see), go easy (use them in class to look up signficant information), or go discreet (quietly nudge kids to put them away).
Unless the teacher is willing to really enforce the rules and has backup from administration/deans, this is not an easy one to win.
I am not at all startled in any way shape or form that a teacher has finally lost it when it comes to the battle of the phones.
This story came to me from my friend Marc Epstein from the NY Post:
A Harlem high school teacher was charged with assault for manhandling 17-year-old student who wouldn’t get off her cell phone, cops said.
The teacher, 44-year-old Abdu-Allah Torrence, asked the student to stop using her phone, and then grabbed her by the back of her neck and pulled her backwards when she didn’t do as he asked, according to police.
The student was taken from the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change on W 135th St. to Harlem hospital at about 4 pm Tuesday, investigators said.
She was treated at the hospital and released.
Torrence was issued a desk appearance ticket for misdemeanor assault.
While I don't support what the teacher allegedly did (however, I would like to hear the teacher's side of the story), many of us have been put in situations with defiant kids on cell phones and other issues where we have to almost totally hold back as our authority has been greatly reduced, or even eliminated, in the 21st Century classroom. If there are toxic administrators thrown into this mix, the frustration level is making many teachers sick, or wanting to leave the system or both. Our job is now impossible in many schools.
Unlike many of the readers here, I don't believe it is realistic to go back to the Bloomberg citywide cellphone ban (parents and students would go ballistic) but I would like to see an enforceable disciplinary code. If opposition ever comes to power in the UFT, I would push for teachers having a real say over classroom and school discipline policies. I don't think the majority of parents would oppose that, nor would most of the students for that matter.
Have any of you ever asked the kids how they feel when some of their colleagues get away with virtually anything?