Why Phone Cubbies Should Be Eliminated

An antiquated practice


Today in one of my classes my peers and I had to put our phones into the infamous phone cubby. While I haven’t had to use a phone cubby since earlier this year (which was eventually phased out), this situation reminded me of the uselessness of phone cubbies in general.

First, I would argue that a phone cubby is more distracting. An issue I frequently experience is from my close position to said phone cubbies. Many students forget to silence their phones, so for a 90 minute period I constantly hear buzzing, ringing, or alarms going off. While these sounds would still occur in the possession of their owners, one could silence their phone after the first sound, rather than looking longingly at their constantly ringing phone. Imagine trying to write an essay and all you can hear is the Snapchat notification sound.

Another issue I see is the inequality between teachers and students. While it can be agreed that teachers and students are not on the same level, both deserve respect. If I put my phone up, isn’t it fair that my teacher does as well? I see no issue with my teacher needing to take a quick call, answer an urgent text, or check their notifications during downtime, so I’m not sure why teachers don’t share these sentiments with us. Phone cubbies make me reminiscent of elementary school cubbies or those cardholders where you flipped a card if you misbehaved. As many of us are soon to be adults, I think that students and teachers alike should be treated as such and allowed to maintain their property at their own discretion.

Additionally, many of the teachers that do not take phones have good reasoning for doing so. Marshall Fleming remembers that in his freshman year math class he was told that his phone wouldn’t be taken, but if he was on it constantly during lessons he would inevitably fail the class, and I agree with this sentiment. High school is the perfect time to learn to multitask and prioritize. Every time I pull out my phone during class to answer a text, I know that I am consciously making a choice that could affect my learning and grades, but ultimately this choice should be mine. However, even with my phone on the table next to me for four years, I have managed to pass all of my classes and get into college. Students that fail to manage their time will be punished with bad grades, so the phone cubby punishment is unnecessary. While phones can certainly be a distraction, I think that students at Academic Magnet should be and are able to balance their attention in a classroom setting.


— Anonymous

Additionally, when pulling out my phone, I understand when and how to do so respectfully. During a lecture or student presentation, I refrain from using my phone or do so quickly under the desk so as not to distract the presenter and remain respectful to them. However, during the time allotted for individual classwork, I see no reason that I can not be on my phone. If I fail to complete my work on time, that is my own fault, and doing so will be penalized in my grade. Once again, this brings in the concept of time management. If there is an assignment that I know I need to complete in a small amount of time, I don’t pull my phone out until after I have finished.

There are still a few other reasons why I believe phone cubbies are useless. For one, they are purchased for $10-$45. I find it hard to believe that these cubbies are the best use of this money. If teachers truly wish for students to refrain from using their phones, they could just ask students to put them in their bags or pockets. Additionally, I don’t think that a strict phone policy is preparing us for college. I’ve reiterated this multiple times, but students need to learn time management before going to college. In my 200 person lectures next year, my professor isn’t going to take my phone, so I need to have already learned the time management necessary to take notes, study, and be prepared for all of my classes while owning this device. Additionally, because of the horrid CCSD firewall, phones are often necessary to complete assignments. My Spanish project on Enrique Iglesias could not possibly have been completed without using my phone to look at sites that CCSD has deemed unnecessary to learning and to use apps to film my presentation video. Finally, the reasons for being on one’s phone should be considered. It’s one thing to be scrolling through TikTok during a lecture, but it’s another to quickly pull my phone out to answer a text or let my parents know something in a time crunch. With these points in mind, teachers should reconsider the usage of phone cubbies and possibly eliminate the practice forever.