Tuesday, April 16, 2013


In the middle of a standardized reading test, a student began to wave her test booklet around wildly. I called her over to my desk. "What are you doing?" I whispered. It seemed like a natural question.

"Nothing?" she answered.

"What was all the--" here I gestured, imitating her unusual actions.

"Nothing?" she repeated evasively, but I gave her that stern teacher-look I've been perfecting for the last twenty years and she spilled it.

"Someone was trying to take my picture," she nodded her head slightly in the direction of the table next to hers, where a student already finished with the test was "reading" on her iPod. Electronic devices are not allowed in the classroom or during school hours except when used for school-related activities, like reading.

I had been circulating throughout the room as the test progressed, and I had checked the screen on this particular iPod several times. Now, I called its owner over and traded her the device for a hard copy of the book she was reading.

"Why?" she wanted to know.

"We'll discuss it at the end of class," I told her, and we did, when the bell rang not too much later.

"I was reading! I swear!" she told me as the rest of the class filed out the door. "Please let me have my iPod back."

Just then the gadget in my hand buzzed with an Instagram alert-- someone had "liked" a picture that had been posted a few minutes before. A swipe of the finger revealed the incriminating snap shot of the test-waving student from the next table.

And the friend who liked it?

The test waver herself.

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