Today, I spied one of my students on her phone in the hallway. While we aren’t the “kids should never have a phone out ever” kind of school, in the hallway of the middle school isn’t allowed and the students know it.  They also know when the end of the day comes, they get their phone back with a little treat: pictures.

My “punishment” (if you want to call it that) is that I walk around and take random pictures of stuff. Shoes, lockers, tiles, pencils, Kleenex, books, table, you name it, I’ll take a picture of it. It’s fun for me because I have a chance to walk around and just notice things I may not notice as I’m teaching. Whether it’s the eraser that’s almost gone on a pencil, the small piece of paper on the floor, the piece of candy long forgotten, there are so many cool things to find in a hallway, a classroom, when you stop to notice. I enjoy these little scavengers hunts because it forces me to slow my mind down, to view things not just as the blur that I do, but as the items that make what we do unique. How many places of employment have 175 lockers lining the hallways?  How many places have old windows with rust around the edges? How many places have molded plastic chairs, outdated wiring, and a mishmash of furniture around? You just get to see things a little differently when you are looking for the perfect “what the heck is that” picture.

And when the kids start looking at their phone and I hear “you took 187 pictures on my phone” or “I did a collage of your pictures, put it on Instagram, and hashtagged it #whenyourteachertakesyourphone” I know I’m doing my job of being a kid, showing the joy I have for my job, so the they can see that I love doing what I’m doing.

And, so they put their dang phones away! 🙂