This week was mixed. The Ashland Bakery Cafe’s motto says, “Life is short; eat dessert first.” In that vein I’ll give the best first, saving the dregs for last.
We are at the part of the pacing guide where the students look at reading for different purposes and then focus on workplace documents. The section of the anthology which explains the different types of reading is divided into small topic-oriented sections. I decided that rather than sludge our way through them all, I’d assign one section to each table group of students. They were to read their section, make a poster which told the forms and purposes of the type of reading they were reporting on and make an overhead transparency which told the strategies used for that type of reading. They would choose who would be the speakers and they were to teach their section to the class. The class, in turn, was to take notes on each presentation and be prepared to be quizzed on it. They had about two hours to prepare, and we began the presentations yesterday. So far it is going amazingly well. The kids doing the presentations are taking them very seriously, the others are diligently taking notes. And I’m kind of guiding it along, making sure any talkers are squelched before the attention is lost. Oh, and I’m taking photos of it all because I am so impressed that it’s actually going well. So that’s the good part.
Now for the dregs. On the day they prepared their posters, I was out of the classroom at a meeting. When I returned yesterday morning, a student came in before school and asked if I needed help with anything. i asked her to straighten up the art supply cupboard, as I imagined it would be a mess after the posters. Only it wasn’t a mess at all as so much of what had been in there was missing. Eight out of ten packages of fancy felt pens, six out of twelve boxes of colored pencils, half a ream of binder paper. Maybe more things that I haven’t missed yet. When class started I talked to them about it, saying that I wanted my stuff back. I explained that there is no school money to buy these things, and that I had bought them out of my own money so they would have supplies to work with. No one copped to taking anything, although one girl did offer to bring me a package of colored pencils she had at home. I declined, saying I just wanted my own stuff back, not hers from home. In retrospect her red face might have been an indication that what she had at home actually was mine and that was her way of saving face.
My heart is sick about this, and it isn’t all about the art supplies. I just thought that by now we had built a bond and I trusted them. That trust has been broken now. This is the second time things have been stolen from my classroom, and by the same group of students. I can’t pin anything on anyone definite, but the stuff is gone. I like them and couldn’t imagine any of them purposely stealing from me. But there it is. They have and will do so.