Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I took her phone during 6th period. I'd sent her into the team room to find the paper she was missing and finish the overdue work. When I checked in 15 minutes later she was sitting at the table with a closed binder and her cell phone in her hand. The missing work was nowhere to be found.

Sixth graders love to send text messages. The fact that it's against school rules doesn't seem to deter them. So, I confiscated the phone and told her to check in at the end of the day. At that point I wasn't sure if I would turn it in to the office or not, I felt a bit of research was in order.

She told me the phone was only out because she was checking the time. My research showed me that was probably true. But then I noted she had sent a text message to her mom at 10:45-during lunch. That was against school rules.

The text message was to her mom. "Mom, I got two C's on book sheets today. I'm kinda sad."

Torn as to what path to take I asked a colleague for advice. It was decided that the turning the phone into the office, and having her parents retrieve it, was the best course of action. I let her know when she came to see me at the end of the day.

Knowing that parents are often waiting for a phone call at the end of the day I let her make the call to her mom to let her know what had happened.

With voice quivering she relayed the information to her mom.

"Mom, I messed up today. When I texted you about the C's I shouldn't have. The teacher is taking my phone...you'll have to come and pick it up at the office."

I sat at my desk grading papers-- her mother's voice was clear.

"Honey, that's okay. I'll come by and get it in an hour or so. Are you feeling okay about the C's? It's all right sweetie, really it is. Please don't worry about all this."

She's a girl I can't quite figure out...identified as gifted but her writing doesn't show it. Just yesterday another teacher commented on the messy work that she turns in. I see her as someone whose brain is in constant motion, unfortunately it works at such a high speed that everything she knows doesn't always end up on paper.

We walked out together and talked about those two C's that she was disappointed with. She let me know about the OT services she received in elementary school to help with fine motor skills. We chatted about the possibility of typing up her next book sheets. It sounded like a good option.

She walked out the door to go home. I walked to the office with the phone in my hand, regretting my decision to turn it in.

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