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The Cadillac of Pencils

May 31, 2012
Daisha Writes in Her Journal

Unfortunately this Cadillac of pencils won’t fit in my regular sharpener.

A couple months ago I started a pencil policy in my classroom in New Orleans. I got tired of spending the first 3 minutes of class every day handing out pencils. So I stopped. More than once I watched a kid break his lead just so he could sharpen his pencil rather than write. No more.

Yes, you can write your name on your pencil and keep it in my desk drawer. Yes, you can keep it in your portfolio folder. Yes, you may write in Sharpie. Marker. Red pen. I don’t care. Just write.

No, you may not have a pencil.

Maybe I’m harsh.

Maybe the kids are right when they say, “Man, she really be blowin’ it.” But this is SCHOOL, and you should bring a pencil to SCHOOL since you will be WRITING in SCHOOL. Can you hear my teacher voice? It’s SCHOOL.

My pencil policy has solved the pencil war that has gone on in my class since the beginning of school. Now they either bring a pencil to write with or borrow from a neighbor which gives me more teaching time. My methods in the classroom essentially consist of squeezing every last drop of time out of these kids for learning. There is no time to borrow pencils from Ms. Summers. So sorry. You have learning to do. A pencil turns into school work turns into high school credits turns into college turns into a bright future. Your own house. A nice car. A well-fed family. Do you want all that? Well? Bring a pencil.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2012 4:53 pm

    amen, sister! i like your method. and your teacher voice. 🙂

  2. May 31, 2012 4:54 pm

    p.s. thank you for the thank you card. i think it’s FANTASTIC that your student wrote it!!

  3. Claudia permalink
    June 1, 2012 7:33 am

    One of my teachers bought a box of Twilight pencils from me – they said things like “Team Edward!” and “Bella Loves Jacob!!!” with pink and purple swirly hearts. He gave them free to the boys who asked for pencils and charged the girls money for them. He solved his pencil problem, lol.

    P.S. my problem child student graduated yesterday, after I fought for him to walk (he had gotten popped by the school for coming to school high and sent to our alternative school for his last month, where he got amazing grades). He was so proud and his parents were just over the moon afterward. His mom cried and hugged me, and his dad took my hand and said in halting English, “Thank you for not giving up on my boy.” He started his community college English class last night. We are getting together next week to talk about college and career stuff, without the specter of make-up work and class cuts hanging over things. Keep at your work, it is so important. We can make a little difference in the world.

  4. June 8, 2012 3:13 pm

    I understand your frustration. I used to charge my high school SAT Prep students a one dollar deposit. If they returned the pen/pencil, then I returned their dollar. The borrowing eventually stopped. Recently, during finals (College Algebra) a student told me his pen ran out of ink. All I could do was to stare at him, while several thoughts ran through my mind. Another student must have noticed the look on my face and hurriedly handed him a pen/pencil to use for the test. It even happens in college!!

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