So there I was, standing outside by my classroom door between classes, greeting students as they entered. When all of a sudden a young man (we’ll call him Student #2) whom I wasn’t supposed to see until my last class at the end of the day, comes up to me, holding out his cell phone and says, “Here Ms. Dolen. I feel bad that Student #1 got in trouble and you took his cell phone away. I’m the reason his phone went off.”
I said, “Are you sure?” He looked at me with hesitation, finally nodded, and walked away, leaving me with his iPhone. (Brownie points right there! Go Apple products! But that’s beside the point.)
Flashback to the beginning of school that day:
It was the first class of the day. The students were reading and all of a sudden I heard a cell phone go off. Everyone kind of looked around. And I asked the class, “Who’s was it?” Normally I don’t have a problem with a student confessing and giving their cell phone to me. But for some reason no one wanted to admit it. I looked at everyone and said, “Well, we have about twenty minutes of class left and we’ll stay until I get that phone.”
All of the students grumbled.
I kid you not… three minutes later we all heard it again! This time, the student right away took the phone out and handed it to me. But he made sure to say, “It wasn’t mine the first time.”
Uh huh, suuuure. I mean I guess it could’ve been someone else’s the first time… even though it was the exact same ring tone. Haha. But you know how kids are; he probably just didn’t want to get in trouble more for not owning up to it the first time.
After class, I gave the cell phone to the office, in which case the policy at our school is the parent has to come pick it up.
Now when I confiscated the phone, I saw on the screen a text message, with Student #2’s name on it. He was the one who had texted my I-Block student.
So a few hours rolled by and I guess it got around that I had taken Student #1’s phone and turned it in. Which brought us to Student #2 bringing me his cell phone, because he felt bad I took Student #1’s phone away.
Imagine that. A seventh grader. A 13 year old boy. Having that much integrity.
My students surprise me all the time. Like I’ve said before, I often feel like I learn just as much from them as they do from me.
Now the question that floats around in my mind is I wonder where he learned that integrity from?
His parents? A teacher? A coach? Something he read? Something he saw? Whoever or whatever he learned it from, it’s just a reminder that young people are watching us. And also, integrity still exists in this world. And when we see it, it’s beautiful.