If you don’t get the Bueller reference it’s because you’re young and I’m old. The line is from the 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and there’s a great scene that highlights the monotonous process of taking classroom attendance.
After years of calling out names, I started to feel like the economics teacher from Ferris Bueller, a tired-looking teacher who makes a futile attempt to determine Ferris’ attendance status by repeatedly calling his name.
I can attest to the fact that there is no faster way to put forty students to sleep than reading the same forty names, with repeats, every day for fifteen straight weeks. I might as well just pass out Dixie cups of Benadryl before I start teaching. Of course there’s always the sign-in sheet option. If you’ve never seen one, you’d be amazed at how many students have the same handwriting. It’s almost statistically impossible!
Recently, I wondered if I couldn’t just take a picture on my phone as opposed to slogging through the attendance list. This way, I wouldn’t have to argue with students who insist they were present but didn’t hear their name called. I blame this phenomenon on earbuds (see my earbud post 11/4/14.)
I ran through the photo attendance scenario in my head a few times, but I figured I would need a gazillion campus administrators to approve my plan, and I don’t have that much energy. Most importantly, students would have to agree to be photographed on my personal phone and frankly, we’re just not that close.
Well, it’s a good thing I’m lazy. As it turns out, Harvard University has recently come under fire for violating students’ and professors’ privacy rights by conducting an attendance study by secretly photographing students in classrooms.
Boy, that word secret is volatile.
So I pose the question to you – how would you feel if attendance was recorded by photograph? Would you need to know you were being photographed for attendance purposes, and would you agree?