Thursday, December 07, 2006
In the computer lab yesterday, "Lashay" mentioned that she didn't want to lose her money. I figured that she meant the $2 she pays for lunch (she is the only one in the class who doesn't qualify for free lunch), so I didn't pay much attention.
A few minutes later, I heard kids asking her for a hundred dollars. Obviously, I became a bit concerned at this point. I told her to pass me the money and she handed me a thick envelope. I started worrying, thinking she had brought $50 or $100 to school. I started counting, and stopped when I got to two thousand dollars. (The girl is 8 years old).
This is where administrators come in, because they get paid more than I do, so they can be liable for things like large wads of cash. I handed her to the assistant principal, who counted all the money ($3300), locked it up, and called Lashay's mom. I was impressed with the assistant principal, she only whispered, "Oh my God," over and over but kept a pretty good poker face since she was in the middle of the hall.
Lashay's story matched her mother's - the money was from a financial aid check that her mom had cashed. (I'm skeptical of people cashing a $3300 check into CASH and leaving it around their house, but I suppose it's possible). The part Lashay's mom didn't know, because she leaves for work at 5:45 am, is that Lashay couldn't find her key when she left for school. She knew where her mom kept the cash and was worried that if she didn't lock the door, someone would steal the money. So, in her little third grade mind, taking the money to school with her seemed to be the best thing to do.
Until she decided to start buying friends with it. When I caught her, she was asking kids how much money they wanted, explaining later that she didn't have any friends, so this was a way to make friends.
Today, I went home sick. Coughing, headache, sore throat, yuck. The sub to whom I handed the kids over was young and sweet and nice and idealistic. I hope they didn't destroy her.
There's a lot of guilt in calling in sick - not just for me, but for many teachers. You feel somehow like you're deserting your own children if you call in sick. Most teachers I know take pride in coming to school sick, but they always seem to get me sick by doing that! One principal I had sent me home one day when I was trying to teach on crutches, with a sprained ankle. She had an extra substitute and told me that, "We in education buy into guilt too much and end up not taking care of ourselves."
Funny thing, the next time I was sick - with a migraine, couldn't get out of bed - she said to me that if I wasn't really committed, that I should get out of education. Now who's causing the guilt?