By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
Technology has deprived me of something that I used to enjoy back in the day when I was a high school principal. Student note writing has seemingly gone by the wayside in favor of texting, Snapchat, Instagram, and whatever else is available today.
I frequently roam the hallways during the school day. As a Principal, I always thought that it was important to monitor hallway activity. As Superintendent, I also think it is a good idea to know what is going on and where it is happening. When possible, I like to be in the hallways both during classes and between classes.
One of the fringe benefits for me was to pick up paper in the hallways during my walk arounds. Often time I would discover gold! The student mail system (the folded note shoved through the vent hole of the locker) sometimes failed. Yes, through the careless left behind note I would find out who loved who and when they would be thinking of each other. Sometimes I would learn when the boy and girl would call each other that night.
At times I would discover that the 16 year old girl couldn’t possibly make it another day if she didn’t see her young suitor. That was good to know so I could have the school nurse on stand -by in case the gal fainted like a wilted flower from the effects of lovesickness. The novice note writer might stick to the basic…..”Will you go out with me Friday night? ___yes, ___no”. Every high school has its own version of “The Young and the Restless”. The love note was often the vehicle used to share the most current episode. Often the girl would write her first name with the boy’s last name just like real married people do. That seemed to be thrilling for the teen princess. I’m sure the wives reading this column still get that giddy feeling of writing their married name after ten, twenty, or fifty years of wedded bliss!
Note writing was often frowned upon by classroom teachers. I could understand the frustration of the teachers who had worked hard to put together a lesson only to discover the young students drawing hearts and large lips on their assignment sheets. Instead of writing 2x + 1=9, the teacher might find “ xoxoxo” jotted down by the future math wizard. Teachers wanted the kids to be taking notes….not writing them. I would do my duty and assign the love struck with a detention for wasting class time. I regretted it, however, because it was the note writing that often kept me plugged into the social loop of the high school. From the stray notes I could tell who was in love and I could tell who didn’t like who. Thanks to technology, most of what I find in the hallways these days is just sheets of homework which have escaped the front cover of a book. With the invention of texting, I have now been deprived of knowing who will be calling who tonight. Why must progress ruin my fun?
Technology Changes Everything
NCHS Superintendent’s Notes