The tea leaf.


Did you know that a teacher’s job also includes looking out for light fingers?

Nothing is sacred in a primary classroom. Nothing.

From rubbers, to pencils, to paper, to paper clips. Anything can mysteriously go missing from a classroom at any given moment in time. The gold dust inside the classroom though, is blu tak, don’t ask me why as I have no idea! 🙄

A few years ago, I had one child who would try to steal the toy cars from school. One afternoon, I noticed that he was limping slightly so I enquired as to what was wrong with his leg. He quickly replied with “nothing,” and tried to walk away. However, my eagle eye noticed that his trouser leg looked heavy at the bottom, near his shoes. Never in my life did I ever imagine that the words “What is inside your trousers?” Come out of my mouth. Inside the classroom. When I’m talking to a young boy. 🙄 He emptied his pockets of a rubber and a few stones he’d found on the playground…the search continued and eventually I had to ask him to jump up and down a few times… because apparently shuffling the toy cars up your leg as you lifted each trouser leg was the key to hiding your loot!

Aha! A few toy cars dropped from inside his trouser leg and onto the floor. Needles to say, he was embarrassed I had caught him but didn’t seem to realise that I’d already known they were there. A detention was given and he was on high alert for the rest of the year. Every time he went to the toilet, I’d check his shoes and feet to see whether they loooked suspiciously heavy. He wasn’t the only tea leaf though. We had another boy who would collect counters and counting cubes in his tray. He’d have a secret stash of everything and would be willing to share his loot with his peers. One day, he showed a goody two shoes though and she threw him under the bus. An adult covering the class, discovered he had a tray full of sticks and stones from the playground and asked whether I thought he would use them as weapons in school. I said I highly doubted that he’d planned that far ahead…

We teachers spend a fortune on items that make our classrooms our own. We stand in poundshops and bargain shops looking at the longevity of certain items and testing the weight of other items, just in case somebody throws a fit and launches the item across the room. You never know when it could be the day that his lordship, or somebody else, blows their top and aims the pencil pot at another child. Or when a tea leaf could take a fancy to a piece of shiny stationery…

I used to fill my classroom with lots of lovely things that I had bought myself and intended to take away with me, whenever I happened to move classrooms or schools. The array of lovely things has dropped considerably, just recently, because I think it might entice some light fingers in the class. Any nice things I have for my classroom, are kept on my desk and in plain sight of myself (and the goody two shoes) when teaching or hidden in a high cupboard…just in case.

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