Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lost Books, Lockers, and Lazy Seventh Graders

Middle Schoolers are a strange bunch.

When they hit sixth grade they are nearly beside themselves with joy over the fact that they actually get a real, honest to goodness locker. It's a rite of passage for them. In elementary school they kept their books (and various sundry other articles like string, tech-decks, parts of ink pens, broken crayons, and goodness always knows what else) in their desks, but when they hit middle school they grow up (in theory) and get lockers.

Of course, to hear the sixth grade teachers tell it, it takes about half a year for them to figure out how to open the darn things. I believe they may be stretching it a bit.

However, for some weird reason, we have a bunch of seventh graders this year who just don't feel the need to use their lockers and proceed to leave their books just about anywhere they drop. I find books on the floor of my room, under tables, left on counters, out in the hall, you name it. This bunch of kids, of course, rarely ever have their books in class because - surprise! - they don't remember where they left them! What's strange is these kids all have lockers that work perfectly fine. They just choose, for whatever strange reason, not to use them. Most likely they are preferring to hang in the hallway gossiping with their friends and just don't have time to fiddle around with a combination lock.

We have one kid, Lazy Locker Boy, who thinks that his homeroom teacher, Mrs. Social Studies, is the keeper of his books. And if she's not keeping his books, apparently they're residing in my room.

Think again, kiddo.

Mrs. Social Studies and I hit our limit this week when, for something like the two hundredth time, we found all of Lazy Locker Boy's books scattered in our rooms. I decided to go to the big gun and that would be Mrs. Squirrel, the administrator in charge of textbooks. Mrs. Squirrel is determined never to have the school lose a single book so when she finds out that kids aren't taking care of books, she gets really, really irate. Really. It drives her nuts that kids can toss a sixty dollar text book out in the hallway where anyone can steal it, lose it, mutilate it, and so forth.

And trust me, although Mrs. Squirrel is a nature lover and is a kind, big-hearted softie when it comes to most kids and small animals, when she's irate, she's downright scary.

I dropped off the pile of books that belonged to Lazy Locker Boy and explained the situation to Mrs. Squirrel. Her eyes blazed. She said to send Lazy Locker Boy to her and she'd give him his books after she gave him a lecture and informed him that the next time his books found their way to her office he'd earn a discipline referral.

Lazy Locker Boy slunk back to his class and seemed to get the picture. No books were found strewn through the team area yesterday.


Due to the age of our lockers, and the generally poor condition they are in, we have a number of lockers in our area that are broken and that don't close. These are not assigned to anyone (obviously, since they are not secure), and are supposed to be kept empty and clean.

Guess what I found in one of these broken lockers today?

Oh yeah...some of Lazy Locker Boy's books.

They are now sitting on the desk outside Mrs. Squirrel's office. Tomorrow should prove interesting.


Carole said...

Just yesterday one of my seventh graders found his book cover (part of a project) hanging in a window with a note written by one of our cleaning staff. Apparently, the staff member went into the student's binder, and took this piece of paper to write a note on. Yeah right! This same student has another project that was due a month ago and has yet to be handed in. Must be the cleaning staff again!

allirab@earthlink.net said...

Several of my 8th grade boys all share the same unassigned, broken, unlocked locker. Their own perfectly fine lockers complete with locks are each less than 3 meters away from this communal dumping ground. Even this seems occasionally to be too much for them, though, and there are constant piles of their books on the hallway floor right next to the unofficial locker.

It's a mystery.

dkzody said...

I am amazed you even have lockers. I have been at my school for 20 years and the lockers were gone when I arrived. They were banned in the 80s when administration found you could hide drugs, weapons, and bombs in the things. Kids have to carry their books, which they do not do. We have a law, the Williams Act, that requires all schools to have a dual set of textbooks. One for home, one for school.

HappyChyck said...

Oh the joy! The day I checked out textbooks, I made the students sign their name in ink in front of me, and I warned them that there is always some fool who leaves his book behind. (Our students take theirs home to stay.) That day I had 15 textbooks left behind. Oy! Now, at my school it's not the textbooks left behind that freak everyone out, it's the laptops. You think a $60 textbook gets administrators riled up when its forgotten, try a $1500 computer!

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Pray tell us what happened to lazy locker boy when Mrs. Squirrel got a hold of him AGAIN...

Darren said...

The Williams Case (assume you're in California, dkzody) does not require 2 sets of books. It only requires that schools have enough state-approved books for each student in a course.

If someone's telling you that the Williams Case requires 2 sets, they're either ignorant or purposely lying.

For awhile (don't know if it's still true) all classrooms were required to have the Williams points posted. Mine's probably still on the wall by my flag :-)

dkzody said...

Oh, yes, we get yearly visits from a Williams committee that checks the walls for the law and asks students if they have a textbook IN class and available for home. True, you wouldn't have to have two sets, but how many kids will haul the textbook back and forth?

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Oh good gracious, our local taxpayers would have more than a tea party if they thought they were paying for two books per kid. We have a hard enough time trying to get one book a kid here. (Not, California, thank goodness.)

Lazy Locker Boy has, due to his meetings with Mrs. Squirrel, found himself spending a few days in after school detention.

Lady said...

@Mrs. Bluebird Well, to be fair, having a class set doesn't equal having two sets of books. Really it's a set for the students plus one class set for the teacher (to keep in the classroom.) So yeah, it adds up, but given what kids put their books through bringing them back and forth to school (and losing them) when you factor in wear and tear and normal student transiency (how many kids check out of the school and their books are never returned?) I think that more than pays for itself. Plus, you don't ever have to deal with forgotten textbooks.