SPRING CLEANING

Avatar_DavidBentley I was often amazed during my 13-year career teaching elementary school. There were many techniques children used to embellish and stretch the truth. There were TMI moments when I learned far more about a child's home life than I ever wanted to know. the corridor so that the clothing could be claimed.

There were amazing insights and bits of wisdom that came from the children's innocence. There were the fully formed personalities that administrators and legislators wanted me to shape and influence. However, there was one thing that amazed me more than anything else.

Repeatedly, I was shocked at how many items of clothing ended up in the lost and found bin. No matter whether I was in an inner city school, a rural school, or an upscale math and science magnet school, the story was the same. At least once per semester, clothing from the lost and found would be laid out in the hallway. Then each teacher marched his or her students through the corridor so that the clothing could be claimed.

Still, the majority of students claimed nothing – even when one classmate asked another, "Hey, isn't that your jacket?" I suspect the rate of denial was even higher than at an alcoholism intervention. In all those years of teaching, fewer than a dozen students ever claimed anything. It all went to a thrift shop somewhere.

Each time I saw this happen, I remembered my own mother seeing me walk into the house without my jacket. After she asked where it was, and I admitted that I'd left it at school, she would make me ride my bike back to the school and ask the custodian to let me in to retrieve my coat. I cannot remember a time when any of my belongings ended up in the lost and found bin.

Now, I no longer work with children. I work with adults. So imagine my surprise this week when I passed the coat closet and found three coats, two scarves, and two umbrellas hanging there. Perhaps the fruit really doesn't fall far from the tree; and maybe it's time to do a little spring cleaning at work.

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About David Bentley

Avatar_DavidBentleyDavid Bentley, M.Ed., is an avid observer of people, places and events. He uses his storytelling and questioning skills to help himself and others think outside the box in an ever-changing world.

Comments about his column can be sent to davidbentley@sanjuanislander.com

© 2014 David Bentley