Every now and then, a kid leaves a book in my classroom. Sometimes it's an oversight, sometimes I think it's a deliberate attempt to return during another class, and sometimes it's a prank by a nearby seating-charter.
The kids always tell me. "Hey! Whose book? I found a book on my desk? Mrs. Thevictorian! What do you want me to do with this book? It's not MY book! Where should I put it?"
You'd think that book was poisonous. Radioactive. Set to detonate like a just-unpinned grenade, so swift is the outcry and the effort to get rid of that book. Their antics remind me of my old friend, whose husband asked if she was having an affair. "I already have YOU! Why on earth would I want another one?" Uh huh. No student is going to get stuck with TWO books. No sirreee, Bob! It's like a game of hot potato. And not at all like finders-keepers.
I direct the finder to put it on a spare desk along the wall. Then I look up the number, call the classroom of the abandoner, and ask for them to come retrieve their book at that teacher's convenience. Sometimes they get downright huffy about it. How dare I ask that they take responsibility for the book checked out to them on the third day of school! In fact, some of the witnesses to the finding think that book is MY responsibility. "You need to do something with that book, Mrs. Thevictorian. It's your book. Put it up and keep it for them. That's how books disappear." Apparently, I am responsible for 100 books on any given weekday.
But the thing is, THEY ALWAYS TELL ME. Until today. Sure, maybe it's because this one was a library book. I suppose I am not responsible for a library book. What we really need to do in that case is call the librarian. It's HER book. She's got a lot more to worry about than I do. I cried because I had 100 books to keep track of...then I met a woman who had 2000.
A student came in at the end of the day. "Did I leave my book in here? Huh. I don't see it. I guess not. Sorry."
"Nobody turned one in. I'll let you know if I see it."
"Hey! There's a book. A library book? It's right there." All eyes swiveled to a desk in the last row. Right in front of MY desk.
"Where did THAT come from? Nobody told me. Here! I guess this is your book."
"Yeah. That's it. Thanks."
"How did that book get there?"
"Finder found it. It was on her desk."
"So she automatically moved it back here, and didn't tell me? I thought it belonged to one of you this hour. How can you not tell me when you find a book? That's like...that's like...going to visit somebody, and finding a baby in a basket on the front porch, and saying, 'This baby is in my way. I'm moving it to the porch next door.' And then not telling anybody! You don't know how long that baby might sit there in the basket. Anything could happen to that baby."
I would like to think I made my point. Hopefully, nobody has plans to drop off a baby in a basket down here in Backroads anytime soon.