Years ago, in another life and another career, when I was an LCSW-C (a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Clinical Concentration), people actually paid me to teach classes in my area of expertise… brief therapy with stepfamilies.
For some reason today I remembered a class I had taught 25 years ago. At some point in the afternoon (the hours of death in the day long workshop teaching universe), I saw that one of my students had brought a small black and white TV into the classroom and plugged it into the wall. I don’t know what she was watching – probably The Young and the Restless – but she was engrossed.
Engrossed not in the words of wisdom some agency had paid me to impart, but watching something which obviously was of far more interest to her. I just kept going and didn’t call her out, but I always remembered this. People fall asleep after lunch, but watch TV? Really?
As I thought about this today, I wondered what it would be like to be a teacher now when people would be on their i-Pads and i-phones, their ear buds in place, texting, watching tv episodes and movies, sending selfies or videos of the poor teacher at the front of the classroom who is trying to keep the students engaged.
I loved teaching and I liked to think I was pretty good at it. Would I like teaching today with so many more distractions available to my students? I don’t think so, unless digital devices were checked at the door.