Spanish Teacher Valerie Green Has Students Put Phones Away for the Entire Class Period


By Karsyn Williams

It’s difficult to try and teach an entire class of students who aren’t paying attention, and are more focused on their phones than the lesson. Spanish teacher Valerie Green knows this problem all too well. Students were unfocused and not fully understanding the material, so Green decided to take action and remove what was distracting her classes.

“It can be very distracting for some students,” Green said. “I’ve noticed the kids productivity has gone down over the years as cell phones have gotten more prevalent. I’ve watched kids grades go down the more they use their phones in class.”

Staying focused for seven hours of classes isn’t easy, but the addition of a cell phone only makes it harder. Interesting lessons or activities sometimes aren’t enough to keep students focused, and teachers often have to find ways to eliminate the distractions.

“Our phones distract us from doing our work,” sophomore Riley McBride said. “It takes up a lot of our work time that we have available in class.”

Green allows her students to be on their phones for about five minutes at the start and end of the hour. But during class, phones are to be put away in their backpack. If a student wants to charge their phone or just wants to keep it away from them to avoid being tempted to check it, Green has a space in her room with holders for phones right next to an outlet power strip. The holders are optional for students but if they take out their phone when it’s not allowed, they are told to put them in the holders.

“I think [Green] could be more loose about it and less strict, but I like how she extended our phone time in the beginning of class,” sophomore Cailyn Hodges said.

With students attention drawn away from their phones, they’re able to take notes, ask questions and learn the information being taught to them. According to Green, this has led her classes to be more productive and have a better understanding of the subject.

“They’re paying attention more and retain more of the information because their attention isn’t divided,” Green said.

Technology in classrooms can be useful, such as the use of smartboards or online learning programs, but the distracting factor of cell phones can affect a student’s ability to learn in class.

“It’s good to engage kids with technology, as I do a lot, but kids also need those social skills of actually talking to each other face to face and working on paper to maintain handwriting,” Green said.