Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 01 2012

The Pencil Monster

There have been a lot of unexpected bumps in the road so far, which, ironically, isn’t in and of itself surprising. No one told me I’d have 12-year-olds actively seeking pregnancy, or kids telling me that I hate them, or students who don’t speak English. But there was one great problem that’s loomed large on my radar since I accepted my spot in the corps: pencils

Since January teachers, CMs, and parents have told me that I would spend hundreds of dollars weekly (or so it seemed) on pencils for my charges. However, that has yet to be the case, and the reason for that is some simple, old-fashioned cheapskate ingenuity.

Every day during my planning period, I leave portable city and head to the main building to cover classes for other teachers. On my way back, I scrounge the ground for extra pencils and usually come away with four or five. You see, these same children who come in every single day asking to borrow pencils spend their mornings and afternoons loitering around the building, throwing pencils at each other as some part of the elaborate mating rituals of prepubescent scholars.

This should be frustrating but their loss is my gain. I scoop up several of these pencils daily and recycle them back into the student body and haven’t come close to needing to buy pencils yet.

At the beginning of the year, I made a bet with our gym teacher that I’d be able to make my initial box of 25 TCU pencils last throughout the semester. Even though it’s just a round of drinks, you have to understand: here at Roosevelt, I need to take all the victories I can get.

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Chronicling teaching middle school English in OKC

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