Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not Much Gets Past Hillbilly Mom

When I first entered my room on Monday, after my two-day Pony-sitting absence, I was pleasantly surprised. The desks were orderly. Only a minimum of candy wrappers were on the floor. No student had written on the whiteboard. My classroom had not been re-arranged, and I was not missing any pens. Then I saw it!

What had been an oversize schedule of all school sports for the entire school year was not in its place on the back wall. Oh, I found it, all right. Folded up like a giant burrito, carelessly tossed onto the back table that held my assignment-collecting baskets. I was livid. That is just not done in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's room. Ever. You do NOT remove anything from the wall, and you do NOT use it as your personal origami fodder.

It's not like that schedule cost me anything. They were stacked in the main office of Newmentia for the taking. In fact, I glommed onto another one before school on Monday. It's the principle of the matter, people. It's common sense. It's all about a lack of respect from one little DoNot.

Not being one to take such disrespect in stride, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom gassed up the ol' Mystery Machine. With no time to hotline her Mystery Inc. cronies, Mrs. HM decided to solve the case herself. She wrote in big black letters on the whiteboard: No partner work until I solve the crime of the century. With asterisks at the four corners. Of course this garnered their attention. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's heart skipped a beat when one young lad asked, "What happened to the stapler?" WHAT? Did something happen to the stapler? That required a beeline to the stapler drawer of Mrs. HM's desk. Whew! Stapes was safe and sound in the second drawer.

My 1st Hour students have their sticky, swiney hands on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's pulse. They waited until after the lesson to inquire about the crime of the century. And they sang like little golden canaries. It didn't hurt that I casually mentioned that along with the return of partner privileges, I just might toss in a small prize to the class who provided information leading to the identity of the burrito bandit.

"Well...I found it on the floor when we came in Friday. I didn't know what to do with it, but I picked it up and put it on some empty desks." She pointed. I knew those desks well. Nobody sits there 2nd Hour. But I know who sits in front of them! I thanked Birdie for her beautiful warbling.

When 2nd Hour arrived, they were all hopped up about the crime of the century. They demanded to know what happened. I pointed to the bare spot on the wall. "Do you notice anything missing that was here before I was absent?" No. Nope. Nobody could think of anything. Then one of the jocks said, "A schedule, I think." Yes. Indeed. I picked up the much-folded cardboard burrito schedule. "Well, now it looks like this. It's going to be kind of hard to hang back on the wall, don't you think?" I tried to unfold it. All the while, I was looking at the back of my prime suspect. It's not what they DO that tips us off to the perpetrator. It's what they DON'T do. This burrito-folder did not turn around to look at me as I was talking. He ducked his head. He looked forward. The students around him snuck him furtive looks when they saw the burrito schedule. A couple of them chuckled.

"I don't know WHO could have done such a thing, do you? What kind of person would destroy something that didn't belong to him?" I drilled holes in the back of BF's head as I talked. It was hard for my stare to burn through that long, flowing hair of his. The class knew that I knew. Some pointed. Some catcalled. "All that needs to happen to regain your partner privileges is for me to find out who destroyed my schedule."

BF turned around. "OK, I didn't know what that was. I found it on my desk when I came in." His alphabetical buddy right next to him said, "You don't understand. It started out to be an airplane." That did not help BF's case. "So you just took something that wasn't yours, that wasn't even on YOUR desk, or in your way, and thought I'm gonna fold this sucker and fly it around the room. Because of course if Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was here, that kind of behavior would be all right with her. Is that it?" He ducked his head. "Um...no...not exactly. I didn't think it was anything."

Exactly. He didn't think. That he would get caught.

The rest of the class showed him no mercy. "So now we can work with partners again?" I nodded. "Of course you can. Except. For. Burrito-Folder." He was not happy. I did not care. "You are lucky that the only consequence is the lack of a partner. Oh, and picking up the trash in my room. For one day only. That is a real bargain that I'm giving you." He didn't seem to think so.

Another case closed by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Her 1st Hour just might get some gum as a reward. Providing there are no diabetics, and at the end of the class, of course. When they are on their way out the door.

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