Facing La Frontera

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 19 2012

Detective Hat!


One time, when I was younger, like 3rd or 4th grade, I wrote a note to my sister telling her she looked like a boy.  I then proceeded to lie to my mother about it, and I was finally caught when my dad came home and took a “handwriting sample” of all of my siblings. I thought I was altering my handwriting, but it was an obvious fail. I think I now have a good idea of how my parents probably rolled their eyes slash chuckled when we weren’t around.

On Tuesday, a student informed us that during a passing period, one of our students was in the bathroom asking other students if he could use one of their books in class. The thing is, students have to annotate, or make marks in their books. This is how we track reading, since otherwise there’s no real way to tell.

We decided that we would Sharpie any students books where they had taken off their name stickers. I’m checking homework Tuesday, so I pay close attention to that student, but there’s nothing shady. It’s definitely his book, and it has his name on it. Another student has a book without a name on it. I say, “James, I notice you don’t have a name on your book. Can I write it in Sharpie on the outside for you?”

Without hesitation, he responds, “Sure.”

I write his name on pages opposite the spine, just like my mom taught me, so there’s no way to “lose the page you wrote it on.”


Fast forward to today. I’m checking books in another class. I pick up Richard’s book, and I immediately notice his name is written in several places on his book. What really caught my attention, however, is that James’ name is written in black Sharpie exactly where I put it yesterday….just scratched out in red pen.




It’s less interesting after that. I brought him out with another teacher and we discussed how he violated the core values & what his consequence would be. We asked him to call his mom, which was momentarily interesting. He told her, in Spanish, that he was getting this consequence because “he let a friend borrow his book.” This was when I interjected, in Spanish, that the consequence was because the book contained his homework, his proof that he had read, and he let his friend use his work.


Oh, children. But I think I should get an honorary detective badge for that one :)

No Responses Yet

    Post a comment

    About this Blog

    you can always change the world around you

    Rio Grande Valley
    Middle School

    Subscribe to this blog (feed)