Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why I Hate Text Alerts

I wake up for the work day a little after 5AM. Imagine my surprise when I was awoken, not by my alarm, but by a local news station's "Closing Alerts" text message. I assumed, like any normal human, that this meant that school would be closed for the day. I was wrong. I opened the message and saw "Decision Pending." Super. Technically the decision is pending every day, but the fact that my district was deliberating the advantages and disadvantages of staying open today was brought to my attention at 4:20AM. Considering that I was just informed via text message that the decision was pending, I thought "Oh, okay. School's probably cancelled then." I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Half an hour later, my phone buzzes one more time. Thinking "Ah, they've called it. No school!" I checked my phone. The Closing Alert message said that my district was open for today. See, deductive reason would have told me that had I not been woken up by a text message prior to my alarm, I likely would have school. Instead, the text alert system seemed to favor those incapable of such reasoning or attempting to find out after their own alarms went off. At this point, I was pretty ticked off, so I rolled over and quietly seethed until my alarm rang. See, the text alert woke me up, twice I might add, to inform me that I had to go to work today. Love those text alerts.

Now, I could dismiss this as a one off. But no, I still hate text alerts. Why? Well, despite going to school today, we also had an early dismissal. We were informed that there would be a decision at 9AM about when we were leaving school. We were in the middle of a diagnostic assessment when, a little before 9:30AM, a collective buzzing rang throughout the room. The whole class just got texted that we were getting out of school at noon. Two and a half hours before they were leaving, they were informed that their school day would be nearly two and a half hours shorter. And then it starts. First, it was just one of a my good, quiet kids who slowly got up and whispered in my ear "I thought you'd want to know that we're leaving at noon." Yes, thank you. I also saw a message pop up in my email and felt my own phone go off. I was pretty certain what both said. And then it spread like a ripple. "Did you hear?" "Yeah, noon." "Sweet. We're missing fourth and fifth period!" "Wait, do we get lunch?" "WE'RE GETTING OUT A NOON!" "HEY! MS. B! GUESS WHAT!" So much for a quiet, peaceful testing environment!

Overall, I really appreciate text alerts. It's nice on actual snow days to find out before your alarm even goes off and just roll back over and sleep in. It's much different than when I was a kid. We'd sit and watch the counties and schools scroll by for half an hour only to learn that we did indeed have school (but every other county was out!). It's much easier today to find out who has school or what special schedules are. I just wish they'd only send actual closings and that my students didn't have cellphones!

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