This week I taught a couple lessons, life lessons.
One afternoon we found blue ink smeared all over the arm of one of the new couches. The couches are purpose built, priced accordingly, and brand new.A particular group of students sit there each break, and daily I have to remind them of their responsible thinking processes (aka I reprimand them). We had no proof it was anyone from that group, but I spoke to them about our disappointment, and about the cost of getting the ink removed.
Next morning, more ink was discovered on another couch in that seating area. I was angry, should we say. I would have liked to have beaten them, each and everyone, to a pulp with my stick, but that is not allowed, so I spoke to them calmly again. I asked the person to own up and explain why they felt the need to do that to their class mates who shared the library. No one came forward.
So, next time they coolly walked in to assume their couch potato positions, I threw them out. They are not allowed back in until the perpetrator steps up and takes responsibility.
Not long afterwards a spokesman came forward from the group. Obviously a future politician, he tried to charm their way back in without anyone taking ownership. A possible culprit had been put forward, put further discussion proved that he was not at school on the day, so obviously not the artist of the second ink stain.
I listened, but in the end told them that we would come together as a group on Monday and discuss their return to the library, once all members of the errant group were at school again.
My hope is that they learn about rights and responsibilities and of course, consequences. Yes, they have a right to use the library, but with that right comes the responsibility to treat the services, the people and the environment with respect.
They need to learn that when they are sitting there on those couches, some 900 other students can not have that comfort, so they need to appreciate their opportunity. The consequence for not acting accordingly means they no longer have that privilege.
It is not easy building defining moments for young minds. I feel that is a major part of my role. I may succeed, or I may not, but at least I will have tried.
If I don’t try, then I don’t have the right to complain that ‘the world is going to hell in a hand basket!” Indeed it is far easier to complain about young people, other people, the world, but it is far more rewarding to do something that may make a difference. At least I can sleep at night, knowing I tried.