In my ten or so years of teaching I’ve heard several of my colleagues complain about having things stolen at school. Almost all of us have had pens and pencils swiped from our desks when we weren’t looking. Some have had staplers, hole punches and scissors disappear as well. A surprising number of my female co-workers have had money stolen from their purses (one actually had her entire purse stolen), which astounds me. Not because I don’t think teens are capable of stealing. I know they are. I guess I was just spoiled by my first teaching job. I was at a school where I felt so safe and trusted my students so much that not only did I not lock my purse up, I actually left it sitting on the floor next to my desk in my office all day, even though I spent less than two hours in my office, my door was unlocked and the office filled with students at every moment. I actually think that is why nothing ever went missing. Enough students really liked me that had anyone even attempted to take something out of my purse, they would have been ratted out (albeit privately) in a heartbeat. Plus it’s not like I ever really had cash on me anyway.
Still, when I moved to Florida and had kids constantly in and out of my classroom due to their time spent in lock-up, I started moving my purse to secure cabinets and drawers. I’ve kept the practice up at my new school. First in my cabinet and then when I got a class of real jerks last year, I moved it to my lockable filing cabinet. Nothing has ever gone missing though…until today.
And the sad thing is that it wasn’t a kid who stole from me…it was a teacher.
Yesterday I took a cake in to share with my lunch time friends. Since the fridge in my classroom is of the mini variety, I took the cake, which was securely wrapped in foil, to the teacher’s lounge and stuck it in the fridge. We didn’t get around to eating it because a representative from Costco came in (trying to sell memberships) and brought a giant cake and several packages of cookies with him.
Today when I pulled the cake out of the fridge I noticed the foil looked funky, like someone had been poking at it. Sure enough, when I opened it, I found that not only had someone opened it, but he/she/they had taken almost half of the cake. To add insult to injury, they’d taken all of the yummy center pieces. They had to dig cake out to leave just the edges.
Needless to say, I was very pissed off. Our faculty is usually pretty good about sharing. Whenever I bring a treat in for my lunch friends, I offer whatever is left to those in my lunch. If no one wants it, I leave it on the tables for the next lunch. So do tons of other people. However, my cake had no such note on it, and was tucked away in the fridge. It was obviously homemade. Someone (and I’m guessing several someone’s from the empty pan) knowingly went in and took what was not theirs. And I’ll be honest, I just don’t get it.
Why take something that isn’t yours? Especially if you are a teacher at the school and you know it has to belong to a co-worker? People store treats for their classes, items for celebrations and on rare ocassions, student food in there. Why take it?
I was so upset I sent a polite, but pointed email out to the school. I know I’ll probably never find out who ate my cake. The email really wasn’t about that. It was more about wanting people to know that what they’d done was unacceptable. Which I suppose was a bit pointless. They knew what they were doing was wrong. I just can’t believe teachers, who bitch and moan about how students take no responsibilities for their actions, would do something so underhanded and rude.