There's no call for staff mobiles

3rd November 2006 at 00:00
How I hate mobile phones. I am too old to believe that they are important.

I know that I am a bit of a Luddite, but I have never grasped the benefits that they allegedly bring.

All they ever seem to be used for is to tell others where you are. I have long managed to survive without the need to tell my nearest and dearest that I am on the escalator in Marks and Spencers.

I suppose there are situations where they can offer some re-assurance - a dark night and a lonely walk home - but school isn't such a threatening place that anyone could possibly need one.

Of course, this battle was lost a long time ago. They are an essential part of adolescent life now and we are never going to turn the clock back. They are part of the fabric of school now. Phones on silent sleep in bags and suddenly spring thrillingly awake at an inappropriate moment in lessons.

So why are they important? It is not really for the messages you send. They are far more important for what you receive. It shows everyone that you have friends who need to contact you urgently. You are vital to their well-being. They are vital to your image.

What I can't quite grasp is the attitude of teachers to their own mobile phone. They will agree that they are intrusive and inappropriate, but they still insist on flaunting them. I ask them to keep the things out of sight, but they insist on using them. Their calls and messages are obviously vital.

And when they are pulled from handbag or pocket or unclipped from the belt, I must then deal with stroppy teenagers and their perennial cry that the world isn't fair. Yeah. Tell me about it.

I have to say that I see their point. Yes, teachers are different. But it becomes very hard to deal with the issue of a student taking a mobile phone message in class, when the teacher has just stepped outside to answer their own.

Do as I say, not as I do. Too many teachers are visitors to this place where arguments are born. I have seen teachers dangling large and impressively feathered chandeliers from their lobes whilst lecturing girls on the dangers of loopy earrings. I have seen a teacher led from the classroom after choking on his gum whilst raging at his class for chewing.

It is the old story. Smoking, drinking, chewing. We preach about these things and then do them ourselves. And it is definitely wrong to expect teachers to be paragons. But a little bit of common sense doesn't go amiss.

Ian Roe is a teacher in north Wales

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today