Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gain Vs. Loss

My teaching partner asks all the students to hand in their annotated work on William Golding's "Thinking As A Hobby." A student comes to the front of the class and explains how he elaborately annotated the reading, but due to his waking up late, he forgot to put the elaborately annotated piece in his backpack. Alas, it is still at home, sitting on his nightstand.

Without a blink, my clever teaching partner, responds,  "Tell your mom to take a photo of it and send it to me."

Student (exhibit A), is speechless.

"He never sent me the photo," she later laments.

Later that afternoon, mind you ---the same day, I watch as my friend listens to her eight grader. He asks, "Can I go to (friend's) house?"

"No," she responds.

"Why not?" He whines.

Cool as a refrigerated cucumber, she responds, "You know why." He slinks out the door.

"Okay, what did he do?" I ask.

"He went to second lunch when he was supposed to be in class. His brother saw him out the window of his class and sent me a text, David's (name change) ditching class."

"So, I sent him a text asking him where he was and he responded, In class. I knew he wasn't so I texted back, Take a picture of your teacher. He didn't respond."

Clever, clever friend, clever Mom.

Does deceit make us dumber? Does wanting to bust the deception make us more clever?

Certainly, the ubiquitousness of phone cameras make a liar's world just a little harder to live in, and a teacher and parent's world a little easier to live in.

But it also makes us all a little more miserable. Without much effort we become a voyeur on a dark night, peering through the partially closed shades of someone's bedroom window. The lack of privacy takes its toll on not only the undressed, but the person who might have accidentally gotten a peek.

In one sense, the camera phone is the best thing that could happen to a society with a propensity for violence as a problem solver and lying as a way out of trouble. The person with authority, power, and that propensity, may pause in his or her actions with the threat of a recording camera; a person my be forced to tell or admit the truth--however, the reliance on technology instead of virtue is a great loss in a person's life, in his integrity, and ultimately for his or her nation.