Friday, March 20, 2015

Threw it Away

Eighth grade science. It was an...interesting day.

The kiddos had a laundry list of assignments to complete. They had a "warm up" which took some of them half the period (probably because they weren't working on it all that hard). Then they had a review worksheet that was multiple choice. And finally they had vocabulary and fill-in-the-blank assignments for four different chapters.

This should have been enough to keep them busy. Half the class claimed they finished everything. (This is where I ask them to prove it and show me their work. Which is suddenly not where it should be. Hmmm...) They asked me what they should do next.

Older students have figured out that when they've finished the day's assignments, it's probably a good idea to get ahead on work for other classes. 8th graders haven't learned this yet. So, that's what I told them to do. (A few of them had a math test later in the day, so they did manage to find something to do.)

One boy started going through his backpack. He cleaned out a bunch of papers. Took a softball-sized wad and threw it out.

And I just knew this was coming...

Later, as he sat twiddling his thumbs (metaphorically), I wanted to make sure he had finished the day's assignments. He went looking for the review worksheet...

"I threw it out." With the wad of paper he just cleared out of his backpack. Naturally.

Me: "Well, go get it."

It was early in the day. The trash can had been emptied the night before, and the only thing in the can besides the liner was the wad of paper he had thrown out.

"I don't want to go digging through the trash."


I probably should have been nice and given him a fresh sheet of paper. Probably. Or, I could have gone and retrieved the page he had thrown out. I had no compunction about digging through the trash. But I did neither of these things.

What do you think? Was I a meanie for not fixing this for him? What would you have done?


  1. Absolutely not! He has to solve his own problems. I wouldn't have done anything...he knew what he needed to do--go get that sheet of paper. What happens when he gets to the work world and tells his boss he threw away the project notes he needs for a big meeting? His boss probably won't even tell him to get the notes out of the trash--the boss will just wonder what on Earth is wrong with him that he doesn't realize that's what he's going to have to do!

  2. Definjitely not a meanie for not fixing this for him. He's got to learn accountability some place and the earlier the better!


  3. Definitely get him to get it to be accountable for his actions.

  4. No, not a meanie. He threw it out and he should go get it. Otherwise, he's out of luck.

  5. Definitely not a meanie! No more important lesson than learning to be responsible for one's own actions.

    VR Barkowski

  6. You did the right thing. There is no way you should be expected to dig through the trash for him! This reminds me of a time when I was helping with a kids program and a little girl dropped something under the table and told me to get it for her.


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