Tag Archives: pet peeves

The Plight of the Adjuncts: Office Space (Part 1)

Stop! Have you read my Disclaimer?

Nationwide, contingent faculty (aka adjuncts)  teach 58 percent of community college courses, according to a new report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement. Part-time faculty teach more than half (53 percent) of students at two-year institutions. 75% of developmental education students (those most likely to struggle academically) are taught by adjunct faculty. In one division of our college nearly 70% of classes are taught by adjunct faculty.  In some areas, adjunct faculty are actually serving as program coordinators–bearing nearly all the responsibility for running their respective programs–something for which they are not compensated any more than other adjunct faculty.

Although they teach the majority of our classes and the majority of our students depend on their instruction, adjunct faculty are often treated as second-class (if not third-class) citizens in the institutions of higher education in which they toil away every day.

In the way they now employ (rely on) adjunct instructors at low wages with no benefits in part-time, temporary positions with no job security, higher education institutions are much like Wal-Mart.  Noam Chomsky makes this comparison, explaining, “It’s a part of a corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility.” In short, it’s just one more part of the “corporatization” of the community college (and, no doubt, even our 4-year sister institutions).

I’m not really “business-minded,” so you’ll have to forgive me here: I think that if the majority of our students are being taught by adjunct faculty–faculty who are, in some cases, teaching more classes and even teaching better than full-time faculty–we ought to be providing them with the respect, the compensation, and the support to help them help our students succeed. (As it turns out, deep down somewhere, I still have a little idealism that bubbles up from some unknown place.)

If only.

In reality, although we (collective–not a specific we) know that supporting our adjunct faculty would only increase student success, we continually ignore them in favor of other endeavors to increase student success, retention, persistence (or whatever the word of the day is).

This post is, I hope, one in a series that will become a part of the ongoing dialogue about the role (and the plight) of adjunct faculty in institutions of higher education.  As a Department Head, I rely heavily on adjunct faculty. I also have some of the best adjunct faculty ever. I have dedicated instructors who give their all even when we give them next-to-nothing. I do the best I can by them, but there is only so much I can do.

One thing I can do is lend my voice to their cause–help shed light on the world in which they live–the obstacles they face–the good, hard work they do every day and the impact it has on our students.

So this is part 1: Office Space.

One of the ways in which adjuncts are relegated to second or third-class citizenship is through office space–or, more accurately, the lack thereof.

In preparation for this post, I asked adjuncts via Twitter to send me photos of their “offices” to help illustrate my point.  One adjunct responded, “ I have a pic, but it’s not of an office, because I don’t have an office.” Instead he sent me this picture, which really captures the experience of a large number of adjunct faculty, who work “on the go:”

One adjunct’s “office” picture

This is an example of an adjunct “office” on my own campus. It’s a cart with wheels, filled with student work, files, and even supplies like a stapler, index cards, scissors, and writing utensils. The adjunct rolls it (up a giant hill, over steps) up to the building from his/her car and into the building…and across campus…and from classroom to classroom; then, back to the car and home:




Even when adjuncts are afforded physical office space on campus, it’s seriously inadequate. They don’t have doors that lock, which means they cannot leave anything of consequence when they leave for the day. All books, tests, essays, gradebooks must travel with them. They squeeze into spaces the size of closets; they share that space with 5, 10, 20 of their colleagues. Meeting privately with students to discuss grades, provide one-on-one tutoring, or advising is a joke. They may get one computer to share. Yet, we stress to them how important using technology today is. They better just have their own personal devices to use to do it. They may get some filing cabinets to store things–as long as those things are not confidential–because nothing confidential can be left unlocked–and adjuncts don’t usually get keys–to doors or cabinets.

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And because these physical space limitations exists, many adjuncts work from their homes, their cars, or on the go:

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Recently, I read this article in which an adjunct faculty member explains how she is both employed by a university and simultaneously homeless.

My Twitter request for pictures yielded this picture:

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 9.58.55 PM

Tweeting back to this adjunct yielded this response: “I was sleeping on kind friends’ air mattresses/sofas/spare mattresses/beanbags the night before – good times.”

Glamorous, no? What you think when you think “professor?” Right. But this is the reality for the professors who teach well over half of our classes–well over half of our students.

So think about this: we know that engaging one-on-one with faculty is one of the keys to success. But for over half of our students, engaging one-on-one with faculty (adjuncts) can be next to impossible; after all, they’ve got nowhere to engage with them.


Filed under Community College, Developmental Education, Higher Ed

Hulehan Says: E-Mail Etiquette “Bcc:” and “Reply All”

 Look, I know that e-mail is a fairly new thing…wait. No, it’s not. I accept that some of our non-traditional developmental students struggle with technology, but I think if you’re working in a professional setting in which e-mail is the primary method of communication, you ought to familiarize yourself not only with the technological aspects of it but also with the general rules of etiquette.  Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive to this because I actually teach e-mail etiquette to my students. I don’t know, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves: ineffective or inappropriate use of the Bcc and Reply All functions.

With that said, here’s what “Hulehan Says” about e-mail etiquette in regards to their use (Please note the disclaimer first!):

  • As a general rule of thumb, if the number of recipients exceeds 30, you should list all the e-mail addresses in the Bcc field, not the To field.

Here’s why: It’s simple. No one wants to have to scroll through 85 names to get to your message. This is especially true in today’s mobile age, where many people are frequently checking their e-mail on mobile devices with small screens. It’s just annoying. E-mail should be relatively short and simple in general. In fact, I always tell my students that if someone has to scroll to read your message, it’s too long. You should revise that message to read simply “Dear So & So, Can we set up a meeting to discuss X, Y, and Z?” Because if you have more than one screen’s worth of message, your message warrants a telephone call or face-to-face meeting.

  • If the message is purely informative and doesn’t require a response, use the Bcc field for your list of recipients.

For example, I often need to send reminders to my advisees (who have numbered anywhere between 50-100 depending on the semester). I need to simply convey information to them, not engage them in conversation. I just want to remind them of important advising information: the who, what, where, when, and why.  They don’t really need to respond to me, and they certainly don’t need to respond to one another.  And listing them all in the To field where they can see each other indicates otherwise, which brings me to…

  • If you do not want the recipients to Reply All to engage in a group conversation, pick the Bcc field instead of the To field for your list of recipients. Not doing so invites them all to start replying to the group.

The other day I sent a message to about 5 of our math instructors asking for their input. I wanted them all to share with one another, so they’d all benefit from one another’s ideas. So I put all their names in the To field, and even specifically wrote, “Please Reply All to share with the group, so we can all benefit from each others’ responses.”

In a separate situation last week, I needed to send a message to my entire department (over 30 people) to remind them of a particular piece of information. There was no need for response (see point 2 above), and there wasn’t any need for any of them to engage with one another, so all their addresses went into the Bcc field. In fact, I didn’t want to have any accidental Reply Alls, which brings me to…

  • Use Reply All cautiously because it can generate TONS of unnecessary e-mails.

Look, we all get gobs of e-mail every day (or maybe that’s just me), so the last thing we need is our inboxes getting bogged down with unnecessary messages. So some basic things to remember: No one needs your simple “I agree” or “I disagree” unless the sender has specifically asked you to respond with that…and chances are, even if he/she made such a request, she didn’t intend for you to share it with the whole group (unless she specifically asked).  If the message is strictly informative, do not Reply All.  If the message is not a specific invitation to engage in an on-going group discussion (see example of math instructors’ e-mail above), don’t Reply All. Ask yourself: does everyone in the list need to know this information? If not, for goodness, sake, don’t Reply All, just reply to the sender. If you’re not sure, default on the side of caution and reply only to the Sender; if he/she thinks everyone should know, he can share your response.

  • As a rule of thumb, don’t Reply All if you don’t actually know All.

Nobody wants a bunch of responses from strangers.  If you wouldn’t have been willing to independently e-mail these people, don’t group respond to them. To be blunt, they don’t know you and probably don’t care what you have to say. This drives me back to Bcc

  • If all your recipients don’t know each other, use Bcc instead of To

So here’s the thing: if you want to invite 20 of your friends to a get-together, and they all know each other (presumably because you all always go to the same get-togethers), put everybody in the To field.  They probably want to see who else is invited and even Reply All, so everybody can see who is or is not going and why or why not or establish carpools, share a babysitter, whatever. For the workplace, the same rule applies: if all your recipients do not know one another, put their addresses in Bcc instead of To.

Somewhat related (I would be remiss if I didn’t point this out): many of these same rules apply to group text messaging (or Facebook messaging even). Group text messages are only appropriate when everyone knows one another. And when you want everyone to engage in a conversation with one another.  If that’s not the case, be a good friend and send separate messages to individuals. When you send a group text, it encourages people to Reply All (many people don’t even know how not to Reply All and do so accidentally, which is why this is your problem). And your friends don’t want a bunch of texts from people they don’t know.  As my friend Russ points out, that eats up people’s text allowance. And also, to be blunt again, people don’t care about what strangers think/say–even if those unknown numbers happen to belong to people you know. Finally, if you get one of those inappropriate group messages and have a reply, be a good friend and don’t Reply All. Start a new and separate message and reply only to the sender.

I’m sure I forgot to mention something, but this is a good starting point. Just in case you need to know…not that you do–but maybe you have a friend who does…


Filed under My Opinion

Reading in SC–Reform?

So this is another one of those educational endeavors created and lauded by non-teachers that will undoubtedly be passed into law and forced upon educators who (and I know this comes as a shock!) might actually have a better idea.

Look–I get it. We need to do a better job with education in this state. And yes (yes, yes yes!) reading is fundamentally important. Should students know how to read by 3rd grade? Ideally. Teachers know that, y’all. For crying out loud, they spend 8 hours a day with these kids. They know who can read and who can’t…and they probably know why better than you–or a bunch of politicians.

What’s particularly maddening about this particular case is that Greenville County already recognized the reading problem and developed a program for fixing it. And their program is outperforming everyone in the state. What they are doing is working. They’ve got research to prove it. But the State would rather have them throw all that good work out the window to adopt some new system that they’ve chosen (a new system that likely requires teachers to fork out an estimated $4800 each to be retrained  while creating a new office within the Department of Education to give oversight to the whole thing–yay! More government!). Further, this system is reactive (if you can’t read by 3rd grade, we’ll keep you back a year and make you do summer school too), whereas the interventions Greenville County has seen success with are proactive and help students before there’s that serious a problem.

It just doesn’t make sense. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re going to change education, talk to the teachers–ask them what works and what doesn’t–what are they doing and what aren’t they doing–what resources do they need to get their students where they need to be. Ask them. Because they actually know more than you (evidently) give them credit for. And how about let’s stop scrapping programs that work just to say we’re doing something different. If it works, don’t just throw it out.

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Filed under Developmental Education, Ripped from the Headlines

Meeting Them Where They Are

The other day I read another article asserting community college’s have low academic standards…but pointing out that “Raising community college standards would mean failing a huge percentage of students…”.

Meanwhile, we continue to whittle away at and demolish developmental education programs designed to get community college students up to speed–because getting them up to speed takes too long.

I already wrote about this problem once in this post “Setting the Bar Too Low?“. But everybody in Higher Ed is still talking about the recent report released by the National Center on Education and the Economy, so I’m still talking about it too. And I think we all know that’s because something about it is eating at me. Don’t worry–I’ll tell you what it is.

But first, some background: In short, the report suggests the community colleges are not producing work-ready graduates because we do not provide students with the rigor to be work-ready. But that’s because high schools aren’t preparing students for college in the first place. And because community colleges are facing increasing pressure courtesy of the completion agenda, they’ve no choice but to lower academic standards–not doing so would make it impossible to meet the (possibly unrealistic) demands set forth by the completion agenda.

So here’s the thing: you can’t have it both ways.  You cannot ask community colleges to produce work-ready students and insist they reduce time spent remediating those who are under-prepared just so they can finish their education in a shorter period of time. That’s akin to asking for a miracle. We’re either going to spend the time getting them where they need to be to be work-ready OR we’re going to send under-prepared graduates into the workforce just to say we did it–and quickly!

In the article I first referenced, Marc Tucker of the NCEE is quoted: “Many 12th graders go to community college to do 8th- or 9th-grade work.”

I’m not sure if Marc Tucker knows this or not, but community colleges are open-door institutions (at least around here), meaning we take any and everyone. Well, technically, according to the State of South Carolina, we take anyone with a basic 8th grade education–we refer those without back to Adult Ed before they start their coursework with us.  We have placement testing–not admissions testing. And our placement testing determines who needs Adult Education. Anyone with at least a 37 on the COMPASS reading test can begin classes at our institution.  That score of 37 is supposed to represent an 8th grade reading level (and by default and 8th grade education). But other institutions set that number much higher.  In reality, the 37 is more likely indicative of a 4th grade reading level.  Students with scores of 1, 2, or 14 on the writing and mathematics portion of the test can enroll in our lowest level developmental courses.

So yeah–many students come to us to do 8th and 9th-grade work. But we don’t–as many of the articles about this report seem to suggest–simply lower our academic standards.  Rather, we provide them with developmental coursework to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. We offer them support services designed to help them catch up academically. If we just threw them into College Algebra or English Composition I, they’d sink like the Titanic. And they’d never have the opportunity to be work-ready, never earn a certificate, a diploma, or a degree. And so we offer them developmental coursework to bring them up to speed on the basic math, reading, and writing they need to be prepared to do college level work. Does that make their paths to completion/graduation longer? Absolutely. But we’ve been diligently working on ways to make their journeys as smooth and efficient as possible.

Look, we’re not Harvard or Princeton over here–we don’t subscribe to the “sink or swim” philosophy of Higher Education that more prestigious schools do. Our job as a community college is to meet our students where they are and get them where they need to be–for work, for college transfer, for life.  And that can’t always be done in 1 or 2 years–particularly when we’re faced with so many under-prepared students.

So how about let’s lay off the whole “community colleges lack rigor” thing. We have plenty of rigor (as I explained before). We’re not less than our 4-year counterparts. We’re just different and so are our students. Sometimes we need to do a little prep work, so our students can successfully handle that rigor. And that’s exactly why we should be supporting developmental education and making it better–not trying to make it go away. It’s the only way we’ll truly be able to reach all of our students and prepare them for the future.

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Filed under Community College, Developmental Education

Sum-sum-summer-WASP!- time

I love when the weather gets warmer, and we can actually enjoy our screened-in porch and the deck.  We love grilling dinner and sitting under the fans of the porch, just talking.  Luckily for us, the weather has been getting warmer, and we’ve been spending more time outside. Of course, this would be much better if the pollen count would decrease just a touch (it was an 11 the other day!), but Flonase, Nasacort, and sometimes an extra push from Benadryl seem to make it tolerable.

But the wasps! Oh, the wasps; nothing I can take will get rid of those pesky boogers–and they terrify me! I cannot enjoy the outdoors at all with them buzzing around threatening to sting me at the least little provocation. I run from them, I duck, I cower, I try not to scream. I hate them.

So the other day, Trent bought this wasp trap:

april 14 054

So far, it has caught nothing.  And the stupid wasps are still circling the porch like the evil little predators they are. They’re building a nest. I know they are. I can’t see it, but I know.

Enter Google.

My friend Google, with whom I have a long-standing and beneficial relationship, made some recommendations for catching and deterring wasps.

Google helped me build this:

april 14 047

Now, I try not to judge Google too harshly, since she regularly helps me out, but I’m pretty sure this is just the DIY version of that thing for which Trent paid Home Depot. But whatever. I’ll try it. This is just a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola with the top cut off and inverted into the bottle. The neck of the bottle is covered in jam. The bottom of the bottle is filled with water and just a few drops of dish soap. The theory is that the wasps will go in for the sweet stuff but be unable to get back out once they’re in. Also, so you don’t just have an angry wasp in a plastic bottle, the water will drown them. I think the problem with both of these (and again Google taught me this) is that the sweet stuff they use for luring in the wasps isn’t exactly what the wasps are looking for this time of year.  Evidently, right now, they’re just in the mood for other insects.  Their craving of sweets (like the jam in my DIY trap) doesn’t start until later in the summer. We shall see if we catch any wasps, though.

Now, since I’ve learned about the eating habits of wasps, I wanted to cover my bases in case both the Home Depot trap and the DIY trap fail.  So again I asked my pal Google, who suggested I make a fake nest out of a brown paper bag and put it where I’d like to deter the wasps from building. This is my fake wasps’ nest near the entryway to the porch from the deck:

april 14 050

Looks authentic, doesn’t it?  According to Google, wasps are very territorial (that’s why they inject us with their evil venom–they actually think we are threatening them when we all know it’s them threatening us!). So they won’t build a nest where they think one is already nearby. The theory is the fake nest will fool them into going elsewhere. We’ll see about that. I don’t know how smart wasps are.

Of course, I want a back up to my back up plan (because that’s just sort of how I roll–always preparing for the impending doom sure to befall me).

And that’s why I made this wasp deterrent (You can tell it’s not Glade Fabric and Air odor eliminator in that bottle because I wrote “wasp deterrent” with a Sharpie Pen on the bottle):

april 14 046

This is made up of water, cayenne pepper (2 tbsp), and a teeny bit of dish soap (dish soap is apparently lethal to wasps??). It has to sit for 24 hours (no idea why), and then I can spray it all around the places from which I would like to deter wasps.  I’ll let you know how that works out.

I hope at least one of these strategies starts to yield results because our old swing kicked the bucket, and Trent bought this new swing (and had it all put together) while I was in Arizona:

april 14 053

And I really want to enjoy it without being dive-bombed by evil wasps. I love swings. He warned me that he wasn’t sure about the color–because he’s seriously color blind, but I think it’s great.

It doesn’t hurt that it matches this pretty wind chime (did I mention that I also love wind chimes?) that I brought back from Arizona:

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Finally, this is Penny, who also loves being outside. She, however, is completely unaffected by our not-so-friendly wasps:

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It’s because she’s a big bad guard dog. She ain’t scared of nothing, especially a silly ole wasp.


Filed under Home Life, My Life

Slow Your Roll, Lady!

So I regularly check into my group discussion boards on LinkedIn.  The other day, I went into one of my Writers’ groups and found a discussion by a young woman asking for advice or information. Her question began like this: “I am wondering what you guys think about…”.

The one and only response so far was this:

Please don’t fall into the rut of using sexist language. Everybody isn’t a “guy.” You wouldn’t think of calling everybody “gals,” and I’m sure you wouldn’t use racist terminology. Sexist terminology is just as bad.

Whoa! Slow your roll, lady!

I teach my students to avoid sexist language in formal, academic writing. But this? Is informal writing—it’s a discussion board online. Perhaps I’m just not feminist enough, but “you guys” is pretty much a generally accepted way of addressing a group of people of mixed or indeterminate gender—perhaps more so in certain regions of the country than others (like my particular region where we just say “y’all,” which I’m sure this lady would blast, too). And if it’s generally accepted in practice, then it’s just fine for informal writing, such as e-mail, texting, or online discussion forums.

Further, if you’re going to get up on your high horse and give this kind of response, at least have the decency to actually address the woman’s question.

Have you read my Disclaimer? If not, please do.

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Filed under My Opinion, Teaching & Learning

Dial Back the Rhetoric

Our society values independence—often at the expense of interdependence. We love the story of the man who pulled himself up by his boot straps and defied the odds through sheer will power alone! His self-reliance wins our admiration.  We hold him up as an ideal; we strive to be like him: I, too, can make it on my own—if only I want it enough. But that’s BS. That guy? Is one in a million. And to hope to be like him is folly.  Rather, if we want to succeed in life we have to admit that we sometimes need help. We have to be unafraid to ask for help and unashamed to take it when it’s offered.

Lately, the message we get from the media (such a powerful influence in our 21st century lives) is that to need help, to seek out help, to accept help is bad—the news is inundated with politicians and pundits who claim Americans take too much. They call us a “country of takers.” They claim we all want handouts, that America labors under the burden of an “entitlement epidemic.”  All this rhetoric works to perpetuate the myth that we shouldn’t need help. It shames people into avoiding help when they need it.

In one of my cases as a Guardian ad Litem, I worked with a mother whose children had been removed into DSS care because of neglect—it was benign neglect, though. She just didn’t have the resources to support her family as a single mom, receiving no child support. She tried as best she could, but with a minimum wage job and two kids, she was struggling to make ends meet.  We were working with her to get her set up with resources to help her care for her children while she was getting back on her feet. She was absolutely mortified that her children were in DSS custody, humiliated to have caseworkers in her home, judging her fitness as a mother. She loved her children desperately. She broke down and cried and asked what she had to do to get them back: “I’ll do anything!” she promised. As we signed her up for SNAP, I asked her why she hadn’t applied for food stamps previously; she certainly qualified, and it could have made all the difference. She cried more. She asked if there were any way around it.  She was incredibly resistant; when she finally relented, she hung her head in shame, defeated.

I struggled to understand until she made it crystal clear: “I don’t want to be one those welfare moms.” This is an example of the detrimental impact of all that entitlement rhetoric—the people who need help, who deserve help, who would use the resources we have in place the way they are meant to be used are ashamed to take advantage of those resources. For that, we should all be ashamed—ashamed enough at the very least to dial back the rhetoric.

PS: have you read my disclaimer?

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Filed under Foster Care, Guardian ad Litem, My Opinion, Social Problems

On Cell Phones


The other day I found my cell phone at the bottom of my purse. Dead. It had probably been dead for at least three days. This happens to me fairly regularly. Ask anyone who’s tried to call me. My own loved ones now call me once, get voice mail,  and then call my husband, Trent.  A conversation like this then occurs:

Both: *small talk*

Loved One: Is Jenn there?

Trent: Yeah, she’s right here.

Then Trent either passes me his phone to use or tells me to call the person in question.
I then search for my cell phone, and if it has any battery power left, I call.

Here’s the thing: I hate cell phones. Ask my students.

I hate talking on cell phones. I’d much rather talk on a landline to someone else on a landline. I don’t care how technologically advanced they are now, I still think cell phone call quality blows. And there always seems to be delay, so you start talking at the same time as the person on the other end…which annoys me to no end. I had a landline up until the fall of 2012. The decision to give up the landline was a marital compromise.

I hate that cell phones have made us a less considerate people. Suddenly each of us is so very, very important that we can disrupt others, interrupt others, and ignore others.

I realize that cell phones are a convenience. I got my first one just in case my car broke down on the side of the road one day–I’d be able to call for help. I almost never used it. I had 30 minutes of talking time, which cost me about $35/month (it was the 90s).  That phone was for emergencies only. Notably,  I generally still don’t go over 30 minutes of talk time in a month (a fact that made the Verizon guy almost fall over in shock).

Hey, I even like the convenience of the cell phone–I like that I’m never more than a phone call away in the event of an emergency. However…

I hate that people now assume my cell phone exists not for my convenience but for theirs. And that everyone else seems to accept that their phone exists for the convenience of the people who want to call them. I shouldn’t be expected to drop what I’m doing to answer someone’s call…and neither should you. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, chance are, the conversation can wait. Answering the phone just because it rings is what we call a Quadrant 3 activity: urgent and unimportant (again unless it’s an emergency, in which case it’s important). Spending too much time on Quadrant 3 activities has a negative impact on one’s time management and ability to stay on task and complete important tasks in a timely fashion. In most cases, the caller could simply leave a message, and the call recipient could call back at a time convenient for him. Also–there’s nothing wrong with letting it go to voice mail and then checking the voice mail to determine the nature and urgency of the call.  Listening to that message takes a lot less time than the actual conversation you would have if you actually answered.

I hate that people think it’s acceptable to let their phones ring out loud wherever they are. It’s rude. Your cell phone breaks out into song in the middle of a lesson I’m teaching–rude. Your cell phone starts ringing in the middle of a meeting we’re having: rude. In the middle of a meal we’re sharing–rude. In the middle of the movie theater, while the bank teller is trying to process your transaction, when the waiter is trying to take your order: all rude. And it’s only ruder if you actually answer it. It’s the rudest if you then proceed to actually speak to the person on the other end.

I hate that people think it’s appropriate to answer their phones wherever they happen to ring. I do not need to hear your end of a personal conversation while I’m standing in the checkout line at the grocery. That’s rude. I also do not need to listen to you talk about things like how your baby’s daddy is in jail now when I’m in the elevator. That’s rude. I don’t need to know that your best friend is a liar, you’re late on the electric bill, or that you really, really, really love your partner. Making me listen to this by insisting on answering your phone and having what should be a private conversation in a public place is rude.

A few years ago, in one of my English classes, my students were reading a novel in which two of the characters kept using the phone–in the kitchen.  My students, bless their little hearts, had taken to heart my lessons on literary analysis: analyze everything about the text and ask yourself “Why did the author choose this language, have the characters do/say that, choose this setting, select these names?” And so in our discussion, one asked me, “What does it mean that they only talk on the phone in the kitchen? Why do they always go to the kitchen when the phone rings? Is it symbolism?”

I was baffled for a moment. But then I thought it through: my students have grown up in a world with no kitchen phone. Many can’t remember having a phone connected to the wall or even having a cordless house phone.  They’ve always lived in a world where your phone is attached to your hip. A world where you stop what you’re doing and answer the phone wherever you happen to be.

A world of cell phones.

Cell phones that I hate.

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Filed under My Opinion, Teaching & Learning