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Theft [Steven]

December 14, 2010

Knowing I would be out the following day, I went through the mental checklist in my mind: attendance list on desk, copies made, lights off, whiteboard markers/other valuables locked up, water bottles in bag, keys/phone in hand, iPod in purse… Wait, where did I put that iPod?  We were listening to it during Reader’s Workshop and I’m pretty sure I never unplugged it from it’s spot on the floor beside my desk.

It must have fallen between the wall and the file cabinet, which I quickly moved over to discover only some dust bunnies and paper wads.  My stomach fell and my eyes started to tear up.  As I tore through my bags, purse, cabinets, and desk, the pit in my stomach grew.  Sure enough, my beloved music player was nowhere to be found.

Though I didn’t want to believe it, I automatically knew who had taken it.  On the drive home, I replayed the last few hours of the school day.  Steven had been wandering around near my desk at dismissal while all other students were dutifully seated.  I told him to sit down, and he looked back at me a couple of times before making is way to his desk.

This marks the only time anything has been stolen from me at school (a miracle, really), but it’s certainly one of the more memorable experiences of my young teaching career.  Steven, the 13 year-old from 4th grade, the kid I was bending over backward to help, the kid whose mother put him on a Greyhound bus to Nashville by himself, the kid whose granny was ready to put him out on the street, had stolen from me.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2010 1:36 pm

    Ooh…this is a tought one. Sounds like a kid with issues. Last year, one of my students swiped my glasses – I actually saw him do it, but was in the middle of a writing conference. Then the fire drill sounded, we went out, and by the time we returned he’d mamaged to throw them away! That was a low moment in my teaching life.

  2. December 14, 2010 7:19 pm

    That is always so hard. The ending give me the sense that you consider everything that is going on in his life to try to understand him in order to decide what will make the biggest difference for him in the long run despite disappointing set backs such as this…

  3. December 14, 2010 7:27 pm

    Clearly he’s had a hard life, but stealing is stealing. Do you feel you can confront him about the situation (without accusing)? Maybe he’ll open up to you.

    Bottom line, I’m really sorry to hear about this. I taught in the inner city for five years and thankfully never had anything taken from me personally. I’ve had many friends who have and it just stinks when it happens. (Stinks is an understatement.)

    Good luck.

  4. December 15, 2010 9:01 pm

    Ugh! I’ve had this experience but it was a long time ago. Your story brings that same pit back to my stomach.

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