Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who Owns This Problem?

            “I am not going to track Landon down to make him do the corrections I offered him for extra credit!”

            I stood in the hall between classes with Mrs. Mason, the Social Studies teacher.  Her eyes were wide.  I could see white all around her pupils.  She was breathing hard.  She. Was. Mad.  I try to stay away from angry people.  They might ruin my weekend.  I pulled up my best diplomatic tone.

            “Well, I don’t think you should be chasing Landon down either.”

            But Mrs. Mason still had steam to vent.  “Landon’s mom has sent me three long emails this week wanting to know why I haven’t entered in his extra credit so he can raise his grade.  How do I enter in extra credit that has never come in?”

            I put on my pained-face expression and sympathetically shook my head back and forth as Mrs. Mason continued.

            “I email back every time saying I haven’t gotten any corrections from Landon.  And then she emails me back saying he has turned the extra credit in.  I have 180 students to keep track of every single day.  I can’t be running after one student to make him raise his grade from a B minus to a B.”

            Hmmm.  Landon’s mom wants Mrs. Mason to fix this problem.  And now I think Mrs. Mason wants me to fix the problem.

            “Uh,” I hesitated, “I don’t see Landon today because the kids are taking state tests this afternoon.”

            The bell rang, and we both turned to go back to our rooms. 

            “Well, I’m not running him down,” Mrs. Mason huffed over her shoulder as she disappeared into her room.

            Fifty minutes later, as my reading class was ending, the door cracked open and a small head peaked in. 

            “Hi, Mrs. Jones.  Did I leave my binder in here?”

            “Well hello, Landon.  Did you finish your tests?

            “Yeah.  But I can’t remember where I left my math binder.  I need it for next hour.”

            I shrugged.  “It’s not in here.”

            Landon started to pull his head out.

            “Hey, wait!” I called walking towards the door.

            Landon peaked back inside.

            “Come here,” I said motioning with my finger.

            He cautiously stepped into the room.

            I bent down and whispered, “Did you have some corrections you were supposed to turn in to Mrs. Mason?”

            If life came with background music, we would have heard, “DUN, Dun, dun!”  Landon’s eyes widened.

            I continued, “Your mom has emailed Mrs. Mason several times wanting to know why she hasn’t given you credit for your corrections.”

            Landon stood frozen, but his eyes began darting back and forth.  The tip of his tongue peeped out and he bit down on it.

            “Have you even done your corrections?” I asked.

            Landon hiss-whispered, “I’m going to do them when I come to your class.”

            “You don’t come to my class today.”

            “Then I’ll do them at home tonight.  I’ll do them for homework.”

            “Your mom thinks you’ve already done them.”

            His eyes widened even more.  Now I could see white all around his pupils.

            “If you want the extra credit, you need to get it in.  Mrs. Mason is not going to hunt you down for it.”

            She told me several times!

            He stood quietly. The room was silent.  Suddenly the bell rang startling us both.

            Landon sputtered, “I’ve gotta go and find my binder.”  He turned and ran out of the room. 

            I stood at the doorway as the rest of the class filed past me.

            Landon’s mom wants Mrs. Mason to fix this.  Mrs. Mason wants me to fix it.  I want Landon to fix it. 

            Landon just wants his math binder.


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