A Whole New World
Two years ago, when subbing, I wrote a very long web address on the chalkboard. The kids were told to copy it and access for homework. At first I couldn’t figure out what was happening, but then I saw that the kids were coming to the board and taking a photo of the writing via their camera phone! Since then I have often found kids taking a photo of a homework assignment.
Standardized test instructions today include: “You may not take a picture of any page or pages in this test.”
Driver’s Ed instructions: “You may not come to class in your pajamas.” “ The accompanying licensed driver of a non-licensed driver may not be drunk.”
In one class I requested that students whisper when chatting only to discover they don’t know how to whisper because they always chat in a normal voice. Gee, even whispering always got me in trouble!
At Hanover High, we don’t have bells between classes, so kids often wander in late, having stopped in the café to buy food or visit friends. One day as I called attendance, I would say a name and the kids would say, “She/he’s coming.” After hearing this several times, I said, “So’s Christmas.” This resulted in many puzzled faces and several “What, what” comments. Once I explained, they thought it the funniest thing ever and asked if they could say it too. “Of course, I replied, “and you could also say “So’s Hanukkah.”
Two comments, among others, puzzled them. Kid says he isn’t going to do his homework. I say, “It’s not my funeral.” Kid asks another to go to his locker and get him his book. Me: “Who was your servant last year?” [My mother said this to me on a regular basis.] Kid actually took umbrage at this and said it was racist. BTW: both kids were white.
A teacher who was to be out the next day called and told me to get a computer cart from the library so the kids could start on the first draft of their essays. “They won’t be able to do it without the computers,” she added. There were no computer carts available, so I told the kids, “we’re going retro today.” Here are two power tools,” I said, holding them up. “ This is a pencil. If it breaks, there’s the sharpener.” “This is a pen. If it runs out of ink, get another one.” On the table in front of you there is a stack of lined paper. On the white board I showed them how to cross out to delete, how to use a caret to insert, how to star a spot and put the information to be added at the bottom of the page, how to circle a word if they were unsure of spelling or usage. Not one kid complained, and they wrote all period.
And if asked the time, don’t bother to say “Quarter of ten” or “20 of ten” or the like. They only understand digital!
© Dorothy C. Judd
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