This post is for the Idiot of the Week Blog Hop.
When I was in high school, our school had a strict “No technology in the classroom” rule. And, to be fair, that makes sense as a bunch of fifteen-, sixteen-, seventeen-, and eighteen-year-olds should not be trusted with their phones, because, in all honesty, even the good kids were gonna text their friends. And some teachers were really strict with it and some weren’t and that’s fine.
When I graduated high school, my aunt got me a laptop as a graduation gift. And I was super excited because I type faster than I write and, realistically, even if I transpose words or miss letters, at least the letters are English as opposed to “squiggly maybe letters” (I know most of you have never seen my handwriting and there is a reason for that. Like, sometimes, even I can’t read it). I have Microsoft OneNote on my laptop and I tried it in a couple of classes last fall and I loved it. Last spring, I used it every class to take notes on (except sign language, but there really aren’t notes to take in there) and I figured that would continue to be the plan.
I am currently enrolled in a class called Intro to Mass Media (as I’m considering a degree in Communications). On the first day of class, I pulled up the syllabus on my laptop and followed along with the teacher as she went over it. She mentioned that she usually doesn’t let people in her classes use their laptops but she would see how it goes. Now, I recognize that I am at a small school so in a class of potentially less than thirty, the actions of one person can be distracting. But this teacher also told us that she would prefer if we didn’t leave during her eighty minute class to go to the bathroom (like excuse me, I thought when I graduated high school, this was no longer going to be a problem; not that I often leave class because Honor’s Kid Gabi would just die, but you know). And also, while I’m ranting about her awful teaching techniques, she gives us “busy work” almost every night, in addition to the two big projects we have due at the end of the semester; not that I’m complaining about the extra grades, because that’s great, but I know she has better things to do with her time than read thirty papers about a movie that we decided had to be influential. The point of all that is I have a few other issues with her, but mostly, media is tied directly to technology and she is passionately against technology in her classroom.
Anyway, we have to put together a portfolio for the end of the semester and it has to have a resume in it. So, after we talked about it in class, I pulled up one I made in high school and fixed some of it and showed it to her one day after class. She gave me a few suggestions and then while I was packing up she mentioned that I use my laptop in class. Here’s how that conversation went:
Teacher: So, I know you use your laptop in my class to take notes. I usually don’t allow that.
Me: Yes ma’am. Is that a problem?
T: Well, no. It’s just that some students use it and it becomes a distraction. Now let me just be honest for a second, I have gotten on twitter in that class, but I’m flipping between that and my notes and I use Google to search relevant things and, honestly, if I miss something because I’m not paying attention, that’s on me. I am an adult. Anyway.
M: Would you like me to take notes with a pen and paper? Because that can be arranged. It’s just easier on my laptop because all my notes are indexed and when I’m studying, I just type in a few words and BAM, answers. Now, I know what we’re all thinking, but I was not being sarcastic. I was so serious. And trying to sound genuine.
T: Yes. And you’re using it for all the right reasons and I would never want to ask that of you. It’s just that it could become a distraction for the people behind you. Now, I know for a fact that the kid who sits behind me reads my notes over my shoulder when he misses things. But besides that, there really aren’t people behind me AND if anyone was behind me and they decided to look at my computer screen to see what I’m doing, that’s on them. If they’re watching me, they are clearly not taking notes. So at this point, I was really confused.
M: Would you like me to sit further back? Like, let me make a suggestion so she can tell I’m really not trying to make trouble.
T: No, I don’t want to move you. Did I mention she’s big on her seating chart too? Like, we’re all adults. There is no reason for that. I know Spencer, (he sits in front of me and is a giant. If he is allowed to sit there, I’m pretty sure my laptop is okay. Just saying.) uses his iPad. Do you have an iPad you could use?
M: Uh, no, ma’am. Now, I think a person needs one or the other. They perform mostly the same functions. But I don’t use an iPad because I hate trying to type on those things. But besides, that, iPads are expensive and break and I am just not about that life. I have all my notes on my laptop. That is what I intend to use.
T: Hmmm. Okay.
M: So what would you like me to do? Do you want me to take notes with paper and a pen?
T: I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it.
M: Okay. Please, if it becomes a problem, let me know. Have a good day.
Needless to say, I was confused because that conversation was pretty much pointless. And also, we were four weeks into school and I think if it was really a problem, I should have heard about it before then…like six classes before this one.
So, this morning when I got up, I had an email from this teacher (as did the rest of the class, just to be clear, not just me, though I’m pretty sure she didn’t like me much after we had this conversation) that said “Hey, laptops are a distraction, please don’t use them in class.”
I was so infuriated. There is no reason in a MEDIA class we aren’t allowed to use our computers. She also mentioned nothing about iPads. But I know she is against phones. So I don’t really know what I’m going to do about that class, but I know my notes had lovely pictures on them today.
I am aware out Remember the Time Blog Hop topic is TEACHERS this week, but I have been fortunate to have some of the most wonderful teachers in my life and I would hate to see her lumped with them. But be on the look out for that soon.