It’s an exceptionally odd time to be an educator.
On one hand, we’re trusted with enormous responsibility. We have to provide individualized instruction for a room of up to 35 students, regardless of whether they want to do the work or not. We’re expected to be human shields for our students and practice saint-like patience at all times. And we’re asked to provide services—from counseling to specialized coaching—that often go way beyond our job description.
But for people who are given such weighty tasks, we’re treated as remarkably untrustworthy. We can’t possibly select our own books for the classroom or our curriculum. We’re asked to ignore our professional experience and cater to the whims of people who’ve never taught.
And in many schools, teachers are told to turn in their phones to administration during standardized testing.
Recently, a teacher on Reddit posed this question:
“During state testing are you required to turn your phone in to your administration? Just curious if others are having to do this.”
The most common response?
“I would never turn in my phone as a teacher.”
Many teachers provided alternate options for phone storage during testing:
“Oh I’m good, it’s in my backpack. No, you cannot check my belongings.”
While others brought up very valid reasons why, as adults, we should be able to have our phones on us.
“It’s the only way daycare can get in contact with us.”
“It’s also how I control my hearing aids.”
“Our test coordinator gave us her phone number so we could text her if there’s a problem.”
One teacher found a clever way to buck the system.
Got a cracked screen? Pretend to freak out when you get your phone back and demand admin fix it.
Other teachers shared stories of testing security going too far:
My district forbade sitting until I pointed out how that “requirement” is a direct violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
We were told that test booklets could be scanned for fingerprints.
Overall, the consensus was this: Don’t turn in your phone and give any validity to this “Big Brother” policy.