A teacher was shocked to learn that students in her class who should've been old enough to know how to tell time on an analog clock had no idea how to go about discerning what the time was, leading her to wonder if this was a skill that was slowly falling out of fashion in schools, like learning how to write in cursive.
Amber (@amber.marie44) is a high school teacher and TikToker who regularly posts about her escapades in the classroom, oftentimes in front of a big bowl of yogurt that she packs with fixins as she speaks into the camera. Recently, she clocked in over 824,000 views on a single video where she expressed her shock in discovering that some of her high schoolers didn't know how to adequately tell time.
"So today as I'm teaching I noticed a student pull out their phone and they're kind of clicking around on it it's not like they just checked it really quick and I'm like hey, put away your phone. And they're like oh no I'm just checking the time. And I'm like there's a clock right there," she says, gesturing upwards with her hands as if it signifies that she's pointing towards a clock in her story."
"And this kid goes, come on, I can't read that. And I was just like what do you mean you can't read a clock? And then almost half of the class joined in too and they were like yeah it's so confusing like I don't get it, like I don't know how to read a clock and I'm like — hold up."
Amber continued, "Literally just pause the entire lesson — raise your hand if you not know how to tell the time on that clock right there. Half of the students raise their hand. I was stunned. I was like, don't they teach you this in third grade? And they're like no. Nobody ever taught us how to do it. And then I took back my disappointment and I was like okay, you know, if nobody ever taught you how would you know?"
"So today you're gonna learn how to read a clock. I had to ask myself is it more important for these kids to be able to write this essay today or is it more important for them to know how to read a clock? And I decided that the more pressing issue was reading a clock."
The teacher, still mixing her yogurt parfait, continued to detail her instruction in teaching her students how to properly read a clock, "So we did a lesson on it. So we pulled up a big picture of a clock on the board, we talked about the five-minute hand and the hour hand, and the second hand and all that."
"So anyways now I'm just curious and I needed to ask on here because I know there are a lot of elementary school teachers on this app. Are we still teaching kids how to tell time? Like, was it just my kids or all schools just stopped teaching kids how to tell time? Because that's crazy. We need to teach them how to tell time," she said.
"And if you're a middle school or a high school teacher, please, find out, if your students know how to read a clock and if they don't know, please teach them. Because we cannot be sending people out into the world not knowing how to tell time. It's just, it's a life skill come on now," she says, scooping her yogurt into her mouth.
There seemed to be a number of TikTok users who were also shocked to learn that there were kids out there, in school, who weren't taught how to tell time on an analog clock: "I learnt how to read a clock before I could tie a shoe lace," one viewer wrote.
Another person suggested that she put a clock-related question for bonus points on her next exam: "You should add clock question for your next test. Make them bonus marks," they said.
Someone else said that they found it hard to believe anyone would find it all that difficult to tell time as they vividly remember their lesson in being taught how to tell time and the bulk of their instruction relied in discerning which hand indicated minutes and which intoned the hours.
Another thought that this was a job for parents: "My parents taught me…. Are parents just not parenting??"
But there was someone else in the comments section of the video who appeared to hold the same viewpoint as the students Amber was teaching: they found it easier to just look at their phone than spend all of that time gandering at a clock to figure out what was what.
"I know how to read a clock, but it just takes me so much time to remember what which hand means so it's just quicker to pull out my phone."
And while Amber questioned whether or not kids are being taught how to tell time on an analog clock in schools, it would appear that this is very much a part of school curriculum: kids are usually taught to read them at around 6 or 7 years old.
What do you think? Have you noticed that, throughout the years, there seems to be fewer and fewer people who are unable to correctly tell time by looking at an analog clock? Do you feel that with the advent of smartphones and everyone being able to tell what time it is by quickly looking at their cell phone that this is harmed people's ability at being able to discern the time from an analog clock at a glance?
There is another possibility that's got to be brought up, however: and it's that Amber students were just trying to waste some valuable class time by convincing Amber that they didn't know how to tell time. Classic.