Jane Ehrenfeld in Teacher Magazine warns, Hide Your Books:
"To Ms. Ehrenfeld: This morning I observed that during the morning news program, you and your students were engaged in activities other than watching television."Less gimmicks, more teaching. Thanks Jane, for trying.
So began the official letter of reprimand placed in my personnel folder by the principal at the elementary school in Maryland where I was teaching 3rd grade at the time. Odd as the accusation was, it was made even odder by the fact that my students were reading when the principal caught them not watching television. She had walked in, and there they were, sitting as silently as a group of 3rd graders can, every one of them absorbed in a book.
For much of the year, my television had been mysteriously out of order, which neatly solved the problem of wasting 20 minutes watching the news. Then, sadly, it was fixed, and I no longer had an excuse for skipping the program. So I did the next best thing: I devoted the time to silent reading and trained the kids to ignore the screen (no small feat with TV-addicted children). This worked beautifully?until we were busted.She shouldn't have given up. I'm sure the TV could have been "adjusted".
After delivering the letter of reprimand, the principal took to sneaking up to my classroom and standing in a spot just outside the door where she could see in but I couldn't see her. My students would whisper to me that she was there, but it didn't matter much, since I had already forced them to put down their books and watch television every morning, as directed.