New Epidemic Emerges as Teachers Are Unable To Confiscate Students’ Phones
A thorough analysis of the growing Phone Confiscation Syndrome epidemic and its side effects.
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Recently, scientists have turned their attention away from the COVID-19 pandemic and toward an emerging threat to teachers’ welfare around the world. The rapidly spreading Phone Confiscation Syndrome, or PCS, is said to have originated at Stuyvesant High School several months ago, when numerous teachers hosting daily classes over Zoom reported experiencing muscle spasms and tremors in their hands while teaching online classes. Online learning has increased dramatically since September 2020, and along with it, diagnoses of PCS have skyrocketed. After conducting a highly detailed experiment, behavior analyst Dr. Seung Yu reached a shocking conclusion regarding the causes of these abnormal behaviors. Whenever a teacher with PCS thinks that a student is on the phone, the teacher’s brain subconsciously sends nerve impulses down her arm, causing her hand to spasm as if she was going to snatch the phone through the screen.
Intrigued by this new epidemic, my team of undercover Spectator reporters interviewed Stuyvesant teachers with PCS over Zoom. Many were eager to share their saddening experiences.
The story of one anonymous teacher perfectly exemplifies the horrific impact that PCS can have on teaching styles, and even families. “Quarantine has ruined my life. Every day, I used to walk between desks, pretending to look over students’ work. I was actually searching for phones under desks, hanging out of pockets, inside opened backpacks. Though I can hide my PCS from the class, my husband and kids still stare at me every time I ask a question, and my hands start shaking wildly under the desk.”
Spanish teacher and former Dean Manuel Simon was one of the first teachers to contract PCS. “I used to patrol the hallways when I wasn’t teaching and confiscate every phone that I saw. And believe me chico, no student could sneak past me. Other Spanish teachers and I had a group chat, and I would always win the competition for most phones confiscated in a month. Now whenever I try to eat a donut, my hand starts shaking, and it falls on the floor,” he said. “Then, all the students say ‘Ay Caramba’ in the Zoom chat. These kids think they’re smart, keeping their phones below the camera where I can’t see them. We’ll see who’s smart after they get a glimpse of their participation grades.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, there has been a recent influx of reports about an advanced stage of PCS known as Self-Confiscation Disorder, a strange desire for teachers to confiscate their own phones. To learn more, we interviewed the wife of a Stuyvesant teacher:
“He would get up suddenly from bed at 2 a.m. to sit at his desk, where he would hold his phone in one hand and try to grab it with the other, saying ‘no phones in class, no phones in class,’” she said.
According to Dr. Yu’s latest findings, 15 percent of teachers with PCS have shown early signs of developing Self-Confiscation Disorder;rates are only increasing. “Unfortunately, we have not yet found a cure for PCS, although multiple treatments have proven to be effective,” Dr. Yu announced.
If you are showing early signs of PCS, it is essential that you begin to engage in trust-building exercises. Unfortunately, you cannot go to a guidance counselor to request for a student to be transferred out of your class (though studies have shown that most students would be more than willing). One of the most helpful exercises is to try to go a whole class without accusing a student of being on their phone. As you develop a greater sense of control, try going a whole day or even a whole week. Remember, this is a gradual process that may be very difficult for some teachers.
Dr. Yu requested to share this concluding message with readers: “Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this PCS debacle is the severity of our current situation. My studies have shown that all the stress from the coronavirus pandemic has aggravated disorders that have remained hidden in people for quite some time. PCS might just be a resultant syndrome of O.L.D. (Ornithological Lethargy Disease), but this needs to be confirmed with further research. In the meantime, I recommend dipping your hands in paint thinner to ease those spasms! Have a wonderful day.”