Phone Frenzy Foiled
BY RACHEL SCHREIBSTEIN, KATIE MARGOLIS, AND MATTHEW ROTHSTEIN
Many Jericho teachers have been implementing phone holders in their classrooms, requiring students to store their phones in a shoe rack for the duration of the class period. Students affectionately have labeled these devices “phone jails” and have mixed feelings about their implementation.
Two of the first teachers to use the phone holders prior to this school year were history teachers Ms. Dreiss and Ms. Bensen. Both teachers wanted to limit the amount of distractions from phones in the classroom. Ms. Dreiss believed the phone holders were necessary during March Madness, a time when students hid their phones and tried to watch the college basketball games. She says, “So many students were very distracted watching the games under their desks, and they weren’t really dedicated to the lesson at that particular moment.” Ms. Bensen explained some of the reasons as to why she began using the phone holders in her classroom, as well.“I was very pleased with the tone of the classroom while the kids didn’t have their phones with them. I found that students go to the bathroom less to check their phones,” she said. Another teacher who bought the phone holder for her classroom last school year was math teacher Ms. Carnes. “I teach a lot of ninth graders, so I thought it would be good to start out a high school career knowing that the cell phones should be away,” she said.
Because of this previous success with the phone holders, Jericho High School Principal Ms. Rosenberg thought it was a great idea to add them to more classrooms. She said, “We are looking to help students focus on what’s going on in class and we’ve heard from many that phones can be a distraction.”
Although some teachers want phones to be away during class, others believe that some phone usage in class is appropriate. For example, English teacher Ms. Valenza said, “I think there are times when students need to use their phones in class, but when students use their phones for non-educational purposes that’s when I have a big problem with them.”
Students have mixed emotions about putting their phones in the holders during class. For example, sophomore Penelope A. said, “I think it’s beneficial for students because we are not on our phones during class, but I want my phone on me because I feel like I’m going to forget it in the holder.” Other students do not necessarily see the advantages of the phone holders. Sophomore Camryn G. said, “They said if it’s an emergency you can ask for your phone, but why should we make such a big deal of having our phones rather than just keeping them with us and not disrupting the class to go get them.” In addition, sophomore Caitlin C. said, “I think if someone is using their phone the teacher has the right to put it in the holder, but if you keep it in your bag during class, there’s no point in putting it in the holder because you might forget it or someone could take your phone by accident.”
In a world of increasing technology use, it’s difficult for people to detach from their electronic devices. However, it’s also difficult for people of less technologically advanced generations to understand the need to access to technology, specifically phones, at all times.
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