Friday, September 14, 2007

How to Lose a Locker in 24 Hours, or Less!

Those of us on The Team keep shaking our heads and marveling over how good our kids are this year compared to previous years. It's a bit odd in a way, but I don't think you'll catch any of us complaining. It's just a completely different set of kids with a lot better behavior for the most part. Those sixth grade teachers obviously kicked some butt with this group last year and trained them well.

However, that doesn't mean we don't have our share of knuckleheads who just can't seem to get with the program. These are the few kids who think that they're just too cool to follow the rules, too cool to do work, too cool to do anything they're supposed to.

Like bring their freaking book to class.

At first we thought it was just a few of them being forgetful (which is a common state of unawareness with seventh graders) but during our discussions at lunch we noticed a fairly common pattern. These weren't kids who were forgetting to bring their books, these were kids choosing not to bring their books. Instead, they decided to spend their four minutes between classes socializing and hanging out at the drinking fountain rather than going to their locker.

Contrary Boy, when asked where his book was for the umpteenth time, informed me that he just didn't have time to get his book. I then pointed out to him that as a kid who played football, he was certainly capable of carrying more than one book at a time. That apparently never crossed his mind. The fact that our kids don't have to walk very far to get from class to class (we're all right there in a cluster, in fact, Mr. Social Studies and I have doors separated by a mere 12") tells us that they're just goofing off.

So, we laid down the law the other day. Lockers, we said, are a privilege, not a right and if they continue to choose to leave their books in their locker then they'd lose the use of their locker. Three "forgotten" books equals three days without a locker. We're basically borrowing this trick from the 8th grade playbook - they post locker eviction notices, empty the lockers, and secure them with zip ties for continual infractions of the student code of conduct (among other things). It's quite a sight to walk down the 8th grade hall and see the brightly colored eviction notices and zip ties up and down the hallway.

We announced the policy yesterday. Today we already had 3 kids who had lost their locker privileges. And guess what? They include Contrary Boy and two of his pals.

What a surprise.

They're gonna be mad on Monday!


ms-teacher said...

My students are allowed to keep their L.A. textbooks in my classroom as long as they are covered and a parent signs a release letter. We don't have lockers for 6th graders, so their backpacks can get quite heavy. However, I noticed that my first group of students are not putting their books away in the manner that they've been instructed.

They already received a warning yesterday and were instructed again today on how to put their textbooks on the bookshelf. I reminded them they would lose the privilege if it wasn't done correctly.

On Monday, they've lost the privilege for a week. I'm hoping the message gets through!

Karen said...

Luckily we have a classroom set of textbooks and each students gets textbooks to leave at home (those usually come back in the brand new condition that they went home in LOL. We don't have lockers at our school, either. Jsut curios - if they lose locker privileges, do they have to carry everything all day? At the middle and high school that I went to, we didn't have lockers and we had to carry all our stuff - we survived LOL

Darren said...

You guys are just mean! Mean, I tell you!!!


Anonymous said...

You should tell them that there are students who have never had lockers! My school is renting the building we're in until the new school is built, and it just so happens there are no lockers. Hopefully taking their lockers away will help them realize that they are pretty important to have!

Miss A said...

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! i wish we could implement it at the high school level. When school first started, many of the lockers didn't work b/c the AP wrote down the wrong combos. Parents were calling theschool and coming up left and right complaining b/c their child had tocarry all of their books around. I still don't see what the big deal is. I call home when the kids don't bring a book. It has still yet to curb the problem. Many claim their locker is simply to far away from my class. I tell them over and over, plan your day better--go morning, before lunch and after school. But they don't see the logic in that. They want to go everytime the bell rings. Its a shame.

I'm curious to know the reactions and results of this plan.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Wow. Accountability. Can I get a picture of this?

Great idea!

Jasmin Loire said...

I have two thoughts on this:

1) My high school is like that of miss! in that we are in borrowed space, because our need for new schools outpaced the physical structures. My high school students do not have lockers and have, at the very least, an English book that weighs 7 lbs. Luckily, I picked a science book publisher who gives free e-books to supplement the purchased classroom set so I do what I can to help the aching backs of my students. That said, it can be done without a locker!

2) @ miss a - When I was in high school my locker /was/ too far away. All of my classes were on the first floor of the building and my locker was on the second floor. On top of that, my locker was all the way to the rear of the second floor, while my classes were clustered by the front door of the first floor. Fighting the hordes of students in the hallway during our (if memory serves) three minute passing period to get from my last classroom, up the stairs, dial in my combination, swap books, fight horde, down the stairs, back to the front of the school to my next class was truly more time-consuming than what I had available. That said, I didn't complain, I just used my locker as over-night storage and was happy that I had a locker at all. However, sometimes I think that we, as teachers, forget just how little time a three- or five-minute passing period actually is when you take into account the traffic dynamics caused by students clumping in the hallways and/or completely bottlenecking the flow of student traffic.

That said, in middle school I was in the position of Mrs. Bluebird's students and there, I truly did not have an excuse and used the heck out of my locker.