Editorial: Phone calls and guidance visits disrupt the learning experience

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Calls from assistant principal secretaries, guidance counselors, and nurses are beginning to become less informative and more distracting.  Although a phone call may only take a few seconds, this interruption could be detrimental to the focus of students for the rest of the class period.  Therefore, The Schreiber Times believes that there should be other, more efficient alternatives taken to get in contact with students.  

Topics of calls from assistant principal secretaries range from attendance issues, to returning temporary IDs at the end of the day.  Many of these situations are not urgent, and therefore don’t require a class interruption.  Especially with the temporary ID situation, AP secretaries call students only a few periods after they borrow the IDs, which is not necessary.  Although the staff is attempting to take account of all students in school for the day, which can sometimes be pressing, these calls are often times made right in the middle of class lessons and subsequently come with disruptive effects.

When there is a phone call in a classroom, a teacher’s attention is taken away from the class at hand and instead devoted to having conversations revolved around one specific student, and not the other 20 or so students who are present in the class.

Teachers are thus required to pause in the middle of their PowerPoints and lessons to answer a typically non-urgent phone call.  Although this seems like a minor issue, it is still an unnecessary interruption that certainly has alternatives.  While stopping momentarily for your teacher to take one phone call usually only takes a brief second to answer, when your teachers in several or even most of your classes throughout the day are taking these calls, it becomes a constant distraction to your learning experience.  In this way, time, which is especially valuable as the end of the year nears, is being taken away from teaching.

Additionally, when seeking to talk to a student, guidance counselors sometimes visit their student’s classroom and pull them out of class in order to speak to them.  This course of action is understandable when there is a significant issue in need of discussion; however, most of these occurrences are for minor reasons, such as schedule changes.  

Sometimes, notes from the AP office are sent to first period teachers in order to contact a student.  While this is a less disruptive alternative, there are other alternatives that are not only less distracting, but also more efficient.

An efficient solution to this issue would be for an assistant principal secretary, guidance counselor, or any individual looking for a student to directly contact the student.  The administration has access to every student’s email address and phone number, and thus can easily can contact a student.  Texting students ensures that students will see the message, especially when a problem immediately needs to be addressed.  An automatic message can be sent to students with a click of a button, depending on the issue.  Students also regularly check their text messages and can look back at their phones to remind them to visit the office. 

Some of the assistant principals also have reverted to using the Remind app, which allows the entire grade to receive a message.  A similar system for assistant principal secretaries would be efficient, such as reminding students to return their temporary IDs as soon as school is over.  

Although it is very difficult to keep track of and get into contact with 400 students, time devoted to teaching should not be jeopardized for minor issues.

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