Caught Ya!

Teachers versus phones; getting caught falling asleep, will you be next?

Ava Henson sleeping in the lunchroom.

Anonymous, Instagram westcaughtsleeping

Ava Henson sleeping in the lunchroom.

Sidney Shaffer and Isabella Davis

Hands and eyes glued to phones- students just cannot get away from the screen. In a recent meeting with the West High School Staff, the topic of cell phones was once again brought up. As a result, the school has decided to take a stronger stance against phones.

One of the spawns of this phone abuse is the “westcaughtsleeping” Instagram page. The Instagram account’s sole purpose is to feature West students who are sleeping during school. 

“As a teacher, if somebody in my room got caught sleeping […] it would hurt my heart to think that I am so boring that my kids are sleeping during my class. […] But I would be mortified to have one of my students get caught sleeping and be on that page. But otherwise, I think it’s hysterical. I love things like that,” social studies teacher Melissa Bertelsen said.

In a West High survey out of 129 students, 11% said they were featured on the “caught sleeping” Instagram page. This includes Freshman Ava Henson.

“I was just kind of napping in advisory and one of my friends took a picture and then sent it in [through the account’s DMs] […] I just found it kind of funny.”

Moreover, the school thinks that the phone use is no laughing matter. Taking these photos would require students to be on their phones, which goes against the phone policy. 

“[The use of phones] has gotten a lot worse. I think the ninth graders are more dependent on [their phones] than the upperclassmen,” said Bertelsen. “I think that 11th graders are like, ‘Yeah, I’m here to learn. I can not have it for an hour and fifteen minutes and be on it for five’ and be fine. Whereas 9th graders, it’s almost like their sole possession and they don’t want to part with it — even if I have plenty of 9th graders that say, ‘I won’t be on it, but I’m not putting it there.’ […] Like they just have to have it.”

In order to combat this issue, many teachers have started implementing their own policies. 

One of these methods is the use of cell phone “parking”. Which allows students to be engaged during class, without their phones, all while being rewarded. This is the method that Bertelsen uses. 

“[The] students are required when they enter the room to put their phone in a calculator holder, that fits perfectly for phones. [The phone holder is] numbered and I have the students give themselves one point per day, which does count towards your grade. So if you don’t put your phone in the slot it will hinder your grade. At the end of the week I tally it up. It’s a little bit on the honors system in that I’m trusting that they only give themselves a point.”

Junior Y Nhi Truong voices what her experience is like in a classroom that uses the phone parking method. 

“If you put your phone away, you get rewarded. There are some classes where I don’t really need [my phone]. I just put [my phone] in [the cell phone parking pockets] to get points,” Truong said.

 Teachers are working on ways to keep students off their phones and combating things such as the “westcaughtsleeping” page. Whether in class or on the bus, getting caught sleeping might just get you featured on the “westcaughtsleeping” Instagram account. But no social media page will stop students from taking a nap.