I was planning to write something about balls of paper.
I have never before worked in a school that uses so much paper. The teachers are forever recycling the stuff whilst the kids are always screwing it up and throwing it in the bin.
Now, I am not a tree-hugger but I do like paper. I like it to write on and I like it when it holds fine words or images. Paper and me go back a long way. So it is with true sadness that I see a veritable paper mountain being demolished each and every day at my latest institutional establishment. No sooner have I given out some A4 for students to mind- map with than a unhealthy number of them are screwing it up; tearing it up in some circumstances. It makes my heart bleed and my blood boil.
I get annoyed.
“Why are you screwing the paper up?”
“I went wrong.”
“Yes, a tiny little bit wrong, but why screw it up?”
“Because it is wrong. It is useless now.”
At these times I am thankful that I was never born as a piece of paper.
If I find it hard to forgive the screwing up of pieces of paper on which students have ‘gone wrong’ imagine how I feel when they do a fortnightly cull of all those handouts that they now deem to be obsolete. They just pull them out of their books and trash them.
“Why,” I ask in vein.
“Cause we don’t need them any more. We already did that.”
My, “Yes, but…” falls on deaf ears.