Saturday, September 11, 2010

When Opening a Locker is a Major Accomplishment

The lockers in my part of The Building are OLD. Not just OLD, but DIRT OLD and could be, in fact, older than I am (which is pretty amazing). I believe some of them are original to the building (1964 era) and some were moved over from another building that was even older, so you can imagine what we're dealing with here.

Old cranky lockers that can give a kid fits.

However, I'm used to this. I'm used to the kids having to deal with sticky lockers and knobs that don't want to turn and handles that actually snap off.

What I'm not used to is kids who can't, after six weeks of school, remember their locker combination from one day to the next.


I have two boys in my homeroom who never, ever, remember their combinations. Ever. I'm at the point where I'm tired of looking it up for them and figure if they can't remember three little numbers (and which direction to turn the knob, yet another issue with these kids) then they don't need a locker and can just carry their books around all day. That may sound like a chore, but since they only have three textbooks this year (reading and LA are using class sets), that's not as bad as it sounds.

I thought it was just my kids who were having trouble, but found out from some of the other seventh grade teachers that they were seeing the same thing. Mr. Math has one kid who asks for his combination every morning and Mr. Math doesn't even have to look it up - he's told it to the kid so many times that he has it memorized. Apparently we have a whole group of kids this year who can't memorize a three letter combination.

Which got me to thinking...are we raising a generation of kids who can't memorize sets of numbers because we're all running around with cell phones where all we have to do is touch a screen or hit a pre-programmed key and the phone automatically dials? I have kids honestly tell me that they don't know their parents phone numbers when I'm filling out a phone pass (which makes the secretaries up front nuts as they have to then look up the number since the kid doesn't know it).

I know these kids can memorize some things - I've seen them memorize rap lyrics, dance steps, and football plays. So you think, as much as they love having those lockers, they could at least memorize three little numbers.

But apparently not.


Raye said...

It constantly boggles me how many of my students (5th grade) don't know their home phone numbers. My kids have known our phone number since they were in kindergarten but often if I ask my students what their number is, they have no idea.

Mme. Rogers said...

I was debating on whether to get one of my classes to memorize a poem (The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service). It's a little long, but I decided to go ahead. Many were born and raised here in the Yukon where Service penned that poem, and I'm hoping some will remember it years down the road. I believe memorizing is an important skill and excellent brain exercise. Now where did I put my darn purse? said...

The kids don't know their phone numbers because they are programmed into their phones and they just touch a key and the call is made.

As for the lockers, that is amazing that you even have lockers. Schools in California have removed them and aren't putting them in new schools.