A Teacher Did All He Could to Keep Kids Off Phones. He’s Quitting in Frustration. – WSJ:

Mitchell Rutherford has taught biology at a public high school for 11 years. He’s quitting after this semester because he’s tired of trying to engage students who are lost in their phones.

Schools are losing teachers for a variety of reasons, and phones factor into decisions to leave. Dozens of teachers have told me they spend more time policing kids’ phone use than they do teaching. For Rutherford—a 35-year-old teacher who once embraced technology—seeing kids checked out and, in his view, addicted, robbed him of the joy of teaching.

Rutherford isn’t wrong: Phones in school are an enormous educational problem. Personally, I would ban them completely—confiscate them or force kids to place them in those little Faraday cage bags that blocks are signals at the start of each school day. 

That said, Rutherford is wrong to see his students failure as his problem. He’s there as a resource to their education not the solution. If kids don’t want to learn, you can’t force them to. What he needs is to make his material more engaging, more relevant, so that kids want to tune in. I don’t have a problem with his nature walks and meditations and challenges to try to help kids’ break their phone addiction, but he needs to realize that other people’s problem are not his to solve. He is a guide in this process. Change comes from within. Getting that fundamental wrong leads to the very place Rutherford finds himself: burned out.