Oh these weathermen!
We heard that there might be a possible chance of some snow today – with a chance for more snow where we live in Northern Dauphin County. Still, the reports from the local guys on up to Accuweather were projecting no more than a dusting to 2 inches of snow for the entire storm.
Still, the chorus of, “We’re getting out early!” rang out in the halls despite the fact that there had not been one blessed snowflake that had fallen from the sky.
This, I expect.
But then by third period, the voices rang out that, “Line Mountain is getting out early!” and the chorus of, “We’re getting out early!” got louder.
Still, no snow.
I admit that I checked the weather report over my lunch because I was curious. The sky was brilliant pink-red this morning when I drove in to work – a beautiful sight for sure, but I couldn’t help but hear my dad reciting, “red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailor take warning.”
Nothing new to report from the meteorologists.
In comes my fifth period class and we get going on our plans for the day. Next thing I know, I have completely lost them all. At about the same time as my phone has gone skittering vibrating across my desk. Twice. I don’t need to look – I can figure that it means that both my school and my son’s are going home early. I have stuff to do and so do my students.
Except my students are gone. The chattering starts and the class is now buzzing with the same chorus that was filling the hallways with speculation before. But now they know. At the end of 6th period, they are going home.
A couple crane their necks for a look out the window.
I suck in my breath and attempt to count to ten.
This is ridiculous.
But it’s a learning opportunity.
I attempted to get the calm back in my voice. There is only about 5 of 6 minutes left in class, they are supposed to be reading. I can’t ignore this.
“This is inexcusable,” I start. I can hear the irritation in my voice.
“I do not want to see, hear, or get any hint of your cell phones in my class until after Easter break is over. If I do, they will get turned in and you will get written up. You may use your phones for educational purposes only…”
“But my dad texted me. It could have been an emergency.” I have been interrupted. I close my eyes and start to count again.
My eyes still shut, I start, “No. If it’s an emergency, he would contact the office. He wouldn’t send you a text. I know you all checked your phones. Notice that I did not. That’s because the time we have in here is so short together and my priority when we’re together is what we are doing in here – not my phone or messages from anyone. You will need to either learn how and where and when you can check your phone that it is not disruptive to your education, or you can choose to put your phone on my desk for the class so you’re not tempted. In the meantime, no phones until after break.”
I wish I had been thinking clearly enough to add that those awesome little doodads have the ability to add so much to their education and to the class, but that they are equally capable of being a distraction and a disruption to their education. A great deal of maturity is required to not give into the temptation that they can be. Sure, I know that no matter how interesting my class might be, the draw of an unrelated-to-class text from a friend or crush – or even a parent or that guy you were going to buy something from on Craigslist – can be so much greater.
This temptation isn’t going anywhere for these students. The devices will get fancier and more addictive. I’m all for using technology, but when it crosses over from a productive tool into the realm of distraction as it did today…then I guess I just need to take a deep breath and pray that this lesson sticks.
As for the snow, we got out and made it home ahead of the first snowflakes, but the weathermen called this one all wrong. They still are calling it wrong. Once it got going, all I could see was snow coming down. It’s still snowing heavily – despite Accuweather calling this “light snow” in their real-time report for my area code. It’s definitely stuck to the roads and nothing looks like it is switching over to rain anytime soon. We already have more than the “dusting to 2 inches.”