Thursday, October 6, 2016
The Ascent of Technology and the Descent of Education
Are you surrounded by students that are completely hooked into their cell phones? If you are, you're not alone, especially if you teach in a NYC public school. (Mayor DeBlasio, to my dismay, lifted the cell phone ban that was wisely put into effect during Bloomberg's regime.) Chances are you've been filmed many times without your permission or knowledge. This is especially true if you've done something unusual or you've been in an altercation with a student. (If the altercation was physical there's a 100% chance it was filmed and shared.) Additionally, when the students don't have something interesting to film (think violent or sexual) - they will take constant selfies. Don't even get me started on mind numbingly loud Bluetooth speakers that blare the most offensive 'cursing to a beat' possible. These behaviors are not to be solely found with students. They exist in society as a whole.
Do you like your cell phone? Do you love your cell phone? Could you go a day without your phone, without discomfiture? I've come to the realization that cellphones are an addiction. Ask any question an addict must ask themselves and you'll probably get the affirmative, if you're honest. Is your behavior affecting relationships negatively? Are you spending an exorbitant amount of time and/or money on your addiction? Is it affecting your health? (Think eyesight and driving accidents.) Is it affecting your performance at work? I could go on and on, but you get the idea. http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/25/living/10-signs-smartphone-addiction-digital-life/
Now back to our students. If we see students engaging in behavior that is counterproductive to their health and well being, as well as their education - don't we have a moral imperative to call it out and attempt to stop it? I, personally as a caring adult, parent, teacher and (yes) UFT member would like to see a careful reconsideration of the cellphone policy in all NYC public schools.