Driven to distraction

You can see them coming “a mile away”.

Or at least in the distance headed your way.

When you’re a dog walker on a country road, you really need to pay attention to the oncoming cars.  Sure, we walk facing the traffic but that’s not enough.  It’s those oncoming drivers that aren’t driving in a straight line that are a concern.  At times, they’re just not paying attention, being otherwise distracted.

I’ve got in the habit of maintaining eye contact with the drivers of oncoming traffic.  Some are very good and polite and will pull over a bit to give us some room.  Those will get a friendly wave from me.

There are those that maintain a straight line, not giving us an inch.  That’s not a biggy; we share the road and will head off to the gravel to let them pass.  But generally, we’re able to share the road nicely.  Until a dedicated walking lane is made, this is our reality.


It’s the third category that’s the scary ones.  Many times, we’ve had to beat a hasty “exit, stage left” as the oncoming car isn’t driving in a straight line.

It’s the eye contact that tells the story.  Distracted?  You bet.  We’ve seen them all.  Well, maybe some of them.

  • Drinking something with the cup up blocking their eye sight
  • Eating something
  • Putting on makeup
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Brushing hair
  • and of course, looking down oblivious to what’s happened which I assume means working their phone.  These are the real scary ones since they’re distracted for more than a couple of seconds

Now, the road that we walk isn’t one that you’ll find students driving on at this time of the morning.  These are adults.  You know, the role models for those students that populate classrooms.

As we know, they can have their own distractions at time.  It’s certainly been in the news and promised.

It’s an issue that just doesn’t seem to go away.

There are two sides and each side puts forth compelling arguments for the use of this sort of technology in the classroom.  Many of the arguments are recycled from the decisions to allow students to bring their own tablets or computers to the classroom.

You know them:

  • students will be distracted and not pay attention
  • students will access resources inappropriately
  • teacher can’t always control the use of the technology
  • add your own…


  • there’s more power in today’s smartphone than in some of the school provided technology
  • we need to teach students with the best tools available and prepare them for an always connected world
  • we’ll use the smartphone when it’s curriculum appropriate and not use it otherwise
  • add your own…

Where you stand on any of this will depend on district, school, or personal choice.

I think that the key in all of this is that it’s not just a situation unique to students.  Their parents live in the same connected world, just with differing realities.

Educators who are reading this post will no doubt be dealing with it on their own.  How about sharing how you’re handling things?  There just might be the ultimate bit of genius residing in your mind looking for the appropriate place to appear.  This is it.

Published by dougpete

The content of this blog is created by me at the keyboard or as a result of an aggregator of my daily reading under the title OTR Links. On Fridays, look for my signature post "This Week in Ontario Edublogs" where I try to share some great writing from Ontario Educators. The other regular post appears Sunday mornings as I try to start a conversation about things that have gone missing from our daily lives.

3 thoughts on “Driven to distraction

  1. What a great topic, Doug! Your post made me think of one that I wrote about 5 months ago, and a conversation that I had with a fellow educator the other day: I wonder if the same problems exist when we use school provided iPads versus personal ones? To the same degree? How do cell phones change the frequency of issues? If I was to go back and teach junior grades now, I know that devices would play a role in our classroom, but I don’t know if I’d be as open to home devices as I have been in the past. And would I feel the same way about cell phones as iPads? Curious to hear what others think and what they do.


    P.S. I always like a doggy picture in the post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning Doug! (and Jamie)

    I’m glad you guys keep your eyes open when you’re out for your walks. There’s no doubt that keeping an eye out for other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians (and dogs) is a critical responsibility for motor vehicle drivers.

    I was pleased to read your “exit, stage left“ quote, And even happier when I saw that you had included a picture of SnagglePuss.

    You are smarter than the average bear.

    Liked by 1 person

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