Monday, May 08, 2017

Gotta Catch 'Em All

Most teachers have a drawer, or at least a section of a drawer, devoted to confiscated items. These are the items that interfere with the educational process. Rubber balls. Action figures. Whistles. Joy buzzers that don't bring joy. A lot of these things have been staples in teachers' desks for years. Then there's Pokemon.
I remember the first wave of Pokemon cards. Gotta catch 'em all. Or in the case of the students I encountered, gotta trade, sneak, buy or steal 'em all. Those were the cards that found their way to our campus around the time I started teaching. They were part of a game that was initially rationalized as a creative outlet and a channeled path for kids to use higher level thinking to determine how many points were needed to defeat opposing pocket monsters. And that phrase was as quickly discarded as the rationalization. The cards brought one thing, inevitably: tears. Someone lost or misplaced or had their prize card or collection of cards taken from them surreptitiously or by force. And then it was time for the teachers to step in and repair the situation. Gotta return 'em all.
And so, way back then, it became a school rule that Pokemon cars were a prohibited item, not just at our school, but across the country. Lo and behold, some twenty years later, Pokemon cards made their return. This was no doubt in conjunction with the expanded reality smart phone time sink that was Pokemon Go. There were a few kids who made valiant attempts to hunt Pokemon on our playground, but since their cell phones have to be turned off and put away during the school day, that one was easy enough to enforce. It was the creeping, pocket sized cards that were so hard to track down and limit. At first, the "what are they hurting" rationalization appeared, and we rolled with that. At first. When the tears began to appear, we had to put down our collective grown up buzzkill foot. It only took one kid losing his great big binder of ten dollar cards to bring the fuss to a fever pitch. Now we are once again duly deputized to confiscated those bright bits of cardboard, with the hopes that mom and dad will come to school and retrieve them so we don't have to carry them around and police that drawer in our desks anymore.
Besides, we have to start making room for that new wave of Fidget Spinners. Every kid wants one. I don't. Please leave them at home. I don't have room in my desk.

No comments: