Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Finders Heapers

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.


  1. I think your book/baby comparison is like comparing apples and sharks teeth!

    Sorry, since the Chubby Chatterbox's comment on my last post, I've been dying to use that.

  2. A book is like an abandoned baby in a basket? That's a stretch.

  3. When I taught school age summer program and a kid asked me, "What should I do with this?" I bit my tongue for a second and then I said, "Put in on your head, OR...whatever you think." They always said, 'Oh, I guess in my cubby." I'd roll my eyes. DUH!

  4. I laughed at your description of the reaction to somebody else's lost book. That's exactly what they do with any item touching the floor that isn't theirs. I'm impressed at how well you take care of your babies. Our libraries are getting rid of so many babies, it makes me want to cry.

  5. (I thought I left a message earlier. I guess not.)

    High-schoolers doing something a bit lazy...a bit thoughtless...something that lacking common sense?

    What a surprise. Has the Earth tilted in a helter-skelter way on its axis?

  6. joeh,
    Does that mean you won't let me try to shoot a shark's tooth off your head with an arrow?

    I assure you, there is no stretching, purposeful or inadvertent, going on at Val's place.

    Perhaps I should practice proper simile-ship. "The abandoned book languished on the desk, like a baby in a basket on a Main Street front porch."

    Good for you. Kids these days are crying for critical-thinking skills.

    There are nowhere near enough front porches for all of those babies. We had a mass adoption a couple of years ago. Just a few kids stepped up to take those babies home. I think our librarian said it was a state policy that had to be implemented, depending on the age of those babies. You'd think we could keep them in a special pasture section, to live out their unassuming lives giving joy to just a few.

    The mind is the first to go, Madam. An under-worked mind is like a baby in a basket on a front's like a shark's it or lose it!

    Last time I checked, Earth was not up to any off-balance shenanigans.