Thursday, March 02, 2006

Finders Keepers, Losers Eaters

Hobo Teacher Tip #83:

As your class departs at the end of each period, like a whirlwind into the hallways, look around the room to see what gets left behind. You'd be amazed--and often rewarded. Students, in their haste to vacate you, your classroom, your class, and, generally speaking, anything else having to do with you (try not to take it personally), leave behind all kinds of great stuff. If you're not careful, the custodial staff will get their hands on it before you can.

Trust me.

There you are saying "bye" and "hello" to your students as they exit and enter your class (silly you), all the while you overlook some tasty item left behind. You don't want to get stuck in a standoff with the custodian (someone who likely makes less money than you--in case you didn't think that was possible) at 5:08pm over some half eaten bag of skittles you didn't notice at the end of third period. It's not worth it and you have to deal with that awkward silence and accusing glances for weeks on end while they come in to clean your room. That's no fun.

For example, yesterday one little miracle of human existence in such a hurry, left her bag of fundraiser candy (and fundraiser money, I might add) inside her desk at the end of first period. I grabbed the bag and looked in the direction of the door, only to find the proverbial papers and pencils hanging in the air in the wake of the mad student rush for the hallway. What's a Hobo Teacher to do? The money is an easy one. She gets the money back. I'm not a monster, after all. I'm sure the drill team desperately needs that $5.85 to buy new sparkly things to wear at the next football game. But, what of the tender morsels of chocolate?

Three options as far as I can tell:

1) Go look up her schedule on the computer and use my planning period to return the bag to her.

2) Wait until she returns tomorrow, letting her have whatever is left after I get the bedtime sweet tooth.

3) Lock it away from my growling stomach, resist temptation, and give her everything back--the way she left it.

Option one gets an emphatic "Hobo NO!" I'm a busy man, after all. Options two and three force my conscience and my stomach into a duel. Option three looks ultimately to be the winner (conscience often beats stomach in my little games of "rock, paper, scissors") until I remember something.

For some reason, since I've moved in, it seems my classroom has attracted mice. Earlier in the school year, while I was peacefully asleep, they ripped through a package of ramen I was saving for Thanksgiving.

No, no, no. The mice may have won on the ramen front, but they will not prevail in the battle for the fundraiser candy.

Still, that night I dined on what ramen I had left, while fending off those long tailed vermin with a sharpened #2 pencil.

After this, she better make enough money fund a sparkly riddled parade for the chess team.

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