Wednesday, September 21, 2011


You know, I used to think that checking e-mail on a telephone was a stupid thing to do. I was probably just jealous. Because just last week I was saying that I can't imagine life any other way.

And then Monday at school, my iPhone was stolen off my desk by one of my students. I didn't realize until it was too late in the day to do much about it except take statements, and I honestly have no idea who it was.

I think one of my faults (or, as a teacher, it usually a strength?) is that I think the best of people; somehow I'm the eternal optimist. I think that 95% of people, given the opportunity, will do the right thing. Given a second chance, I think that 80% of those who made the wrong decision the first time will make it right. (That leaves 1% of the original group that is just...mean or dimwitted.)

Remember the Baylor men's basketball scandal in 2003? No? Just me? Well, I was a big fan and supporter of Dave Bliss, an excellent coach, a positive role model, so when allegations about unrelated faculty/staff NCAA misconduct arose after investigations into the murder, I stood firmly next to Dave, sticking up for him, defending him (in a figurative sense--we weren't friends or anything). And then one day, my programming was interrupted by a news conference with Baylor's head coach where he was accepting full responsibility for and knowledge of the misconduct and resigning from his position. Wait. What?!? I felt so betrayed...

And Dave Bliss never coached college again (so far), but went on to coach prison basketball leagues. Do I think he was paying penance and trying to make it right? Yes, yes I do.

So here I am with my phone missing, and that sickening feeling in my gut that any one of the students I smile at, cheer on, encourage, could be the very child who stole from me; I have been betrayed again. Strangely, I'm not angry yet. And I hope to the Lord that I can be spared that.

The other adults want me to tell lies and scare the poo out of the kids about the lengths I can go to to recover the phone. I don't want to lie. That's part of the issue here anyway--one of the kids is lying to me and I refuse to stoop to his level. I just composed an e-mail to my colleagues whose numbers were stored in my phone and let them know of the possibility of receiving stupid text messages from some student who now has their phone number. I hate being that idiot who let this happen.

"You're certainly taking this well. Better than I would."

Yeah, I've heard that from several of my colleagues. But why waste time and energy getting angry when I have a shortage of both? I was very honest with them yesterday and told them that there are things more important to me than electronics, and that they should also take stock of what is invaluable to them. "You don't care, Mrs. Beaver?" Yes, of course I care. But I think I'm more worried about this student and what his motives are.

In class, we just read Langston Hughes's "Thank You, M'am", and I only wish I could be as noble as Mrs. Louella Bates Washington Jones when the boy tells her he tried to steal her purse because he wanted to buy himself some blue suede shoes. "You coulda' asked," she told him. "M'am?" the boy asked in disbelief. She made him wash his face, she fed him, and then she gave him some money and sent him on his way, admonishing him not to steal from anyone again. "Shoes got in devilish ways will burn your feet."

Well, I'm praying for this student, and I'm telling my students that phones got in devilish ways will burn their ears.

And I haven't decided if I am going to get another phone at all. I may just pay to break the contract. It's kinda' freeing being untethered like this. And I can't afford a new phone, nor am I going to ask anyone else to shoulder the expense for me again. All I need is an answering machine and I can go back to being old-fashioned. Haha.

So, I don't know what I'm supposed to do or how I'm supposed to feel, so I may be a little cuckoo/confused/depressed/frustrated for a while. Jill baked me cookies last night, and that made me smile. And yes, out of two dozen, I probably have eaten 16 of them in the last 24 hours (not including the 3 dough balls). And Eli gave me a big hug. And Mom tried to track the prankster who texted her. And Stacey wants to come BE the police. Love you guys.


1 comment:

Craig-Jen said...

boo. I hope the phone *appears* on your desk...with a nice apology note.

Part of me wants to join those who say to use scare tactics/lie to get the student to return the phone. Simply because it is wrong and the student needs to be punished.

But another part of me knows you're doing the right thing. Maybe your act of kindness will change him/her and they'll think twice about repeating the behavior...or maybe they'll just do it again because they didn't face punishment. Who knows.