Barring Reception

I am struggling with the students being on their cell phones. I was hoping that I could get some advice or tips to handle the situation. – E., Ohio

In my 27-year career, the worst incident I ever had with a student was over a phone.

I didn’t confiscate or park phones like some teachers due to concerns about damage and theft. If you do have such a system make sure that the parents and administration are aware.

Instead, I employed a three-strike rule:

On the first occurrence, quietly tell the student to put away the phone.

For the second transgression, tell the student firmly and clearly to put away the phone and that the student was now on strike two. Strikes remained for the rest of the term, not just that class.

If there was a third occurrence, ask student to wait outside the door until you can have a conversation about using phones. Sending the student to the office is an alternative. In general, the third strike should fix things. After that there is no warning – send them out of class and call home. This is also when you should involve the office if you hadn’t done so earlier.

Be firm about this and never back down. Like an umpire.

Hope this helps!

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