Cellphones Yay or Nay?

By Elie - 10:03 AM

This feels like a post seemingly overdue to this news report that came out just about last week regarding students being allowed to bring their cellphones to school. But bear with me I had just finished up with all my final assignments for this semester and I'm currently on a dreadful 2 week study break. Except I'm not studying. Yet.

So anyway, cellphones in school seems to have been a long debated issue even in days where I was a high school student whereby everyone seems to be sneaking cellphones all over and scrambling to hide them whenever there is a rumored spot check. Our reasoning behind bringing our cellphones has been varied from having emergencies to getting entertainment to the ultimatum of having music all around. Of course, even I've had my days of sneaking my cellphone through but that really was just because I had to walk from school to my god-mother's home and sometimes even had to grab the LRT over to my mother's shop in Amcorp Mall. Plus, having a cellphone with me when I walked to my accounting tuition class alone didn't feel like such a bad idea after all.

The debate ongoing for educators was that it would be a major distraction and could sometimes spark jealousy amongst students when they realize their peers have a better phone model as compared to them. (Did that really matter? I lived through my high school days with a fake Nokia N73 and it felt fine.) In some occasions, we did have a discussion with our teachers on whether or not cellphones were a necessity in school given that they provided public phones by the canteen and would even offer us the phone in the office if we needed it. My fight back then had been that these were empty promises. Or at least that was what it was in my school. Our public phones hardly ever worked and whenever we do beg for the office phone, we are given nothing but scowls and "TAK PAYAH LAH" (No need) as a reasoning to tell us off. I would never forget the day I felt my blood boiling as I begged for the office phone to call my best friend's mother as her nose bled but the office workers merely brushed me off and said there's a medic in school who would settle it. If I were not a student there, I would have punched the lady behind the counter. Well, there's the problem isn't it? The medic was never open unless the dental department had come for our routine dental checkup. I finally had to beg a teacher for HER cellphone just to get my friend's mother while my teacher stared at the amount of blood gushing from my friend's nose.

While I do understand that cellphones could be a distraction to students especially with the arising "smartphone" trend around and the never ending offerings of data plans and mad Facebook / Twitter addictions, I've realized that a lot of things could be done in order to create a better environment for both students and teachers. These opinions were voiced out even in days when I was a part of my high school but nothing went in as it was a decision made by the Ministry of Education to ban cellphones in school. Of course, now that this ban has been lifted off, what are schools doing in order to ensure that cellphones aren't going to be a distraction?

  • Put up a box lid and leave it on the teacher's table. Preferably the lid of those boxes you get from A4 bundles. I'm pretty sure the stationary store of the school has plenty of those. They're huge and not as tall, making sure that all students can see their phone even from afar and will have no rights to accuse anyone of stealing what belongs to them.
  • Insist that all students label their phones with their names and then leave the phone in that box as studies commence. Not only is it in the watchful eyes of the teacher but ALL eyes would be at the box as their phones are in there too.
  • Teachers may call out person by person to collect their phone after class to make sure that each student is only taking their own phones and there is no such thing as being a representative to your "master" or "big brother". Safety? Check.
  • Insist that all cellphones are set on "silent" mode because having a odd music ringtones burst out in full blast in between a serious history lesson would be honestly...hilarious. Just imagine your teacher talking about how we have fought gloriously for the independence of our country and in the climax of it all... "DADADADADADADADA AFRO CIRCUS AFRO CIRCUS AFRO POLKA DOT POLKA DOT POLKA DOT AFRO" 
  • Failure to do silent your phone or hand it in before studies commence simply grants you a day without your cellphone; in other words, it is seized. For the day at least.
  • If its pornography that appears to be the worry...HERE COMES THE SPOT CHECKS. Implement sudden checks on students' phones to find out if there are explicit pictures or videos stored and circulated.
  • Ensure that no phones are allowed during examinations. I think we all know why. "So number 1 is A, number 2 is C, number 3 is A and number 4 is IDK"
Things may seems difficult but with sufficient teamwork, it wouldn't be that bad after all. Plus, I think it would be a good idea to have cellphones in school. Didn't a few bully cases come to light and the culprits having been caught thanks to these technologies? The truth is, I've been a student once and I know what it feels like to be a student of this generation. The more we're deprived of something, the more we harness the desire to have it. Caring for our cellphones even appears to be a great way to give us a sense of responsibility. I remember carrying my cellphone in my pocket, fearing for my life if it would fall into the toilet bowl as I did my business. *Ahem*

Otherwise, I've been a great student in my high school days. Here's proof.

Or not.

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