Struggling with teens who can’t stay off their cellphones? This teacher is sharing her strategy for managing phones in class, and we can actually see why it works
If it seems like your teen’s cellphone is a literal extension of their body, you’re actually not far off—statistics show that teens are receiving (and in many cases responding to) more than 200 alerts on their phones each day. And while phones give teens access to social interaction and entertainment, they can also distract them—especially at school, when their focus should be on learning. That’s why we love this teacher’s genius cellphone policy, which she shared on TikTok.
Ms. C, who goes by @stillateacher on the video-sharing platform (and who’s known for her hilarious clique explanations), explained that she’s had great success with a new rule she’s using with her high school students. Granted, it’s only been in place for three weeks, but she says it’s been “100% effective” so far, which… we’re ready to hear the details now.
“The second the bell rings, I put on a one-minute timer,” she explains. “That’s a timer for them to send any last messages, put phones on ‘do not disturb,’ and zip them in their backpacks. After that timer goes off, the policy is that any phone that’s seen out throughout the class period will go to a place called the phone spa. The phone spa is just a clear box, but I also have all these different chargers next to it so their phones can relax and recharge for a bit. There are no warnings, and that is absolutely crucial and important to this plan.”
Ms. C adds that when she’s given students a warning before taking their cellphones, it hasn’t worked as well because she can’t keep track of who has or hasn’t had a warning already.
She notes that there are some exceptions to her policy.
“If a student has an emergency and must use their phone, we ask them to step outside of the classroom to do so,” she says. “Otherwise, it does not matter what they’re doing on their phone. If they say they’re texting their mom, it doesn’t matter—it’s going to the phone spa.”
Part of why this policy works, she explains, is because there isn’t a “real” consequence—phones just go to the “phone spa” and get charged, and students pick them up at the end of class. If students refuse to give their phones over, their parents get contacted.
“With this policy in place, my classroom has been so much more productive—but also just happier and more joyful because students are actually interacting with each other,” she adds at the end of the video.
So who else is going to be setting up a phone spa at home?