Broken cat, broken trust.
So of course there has to be some sort of conflict with the sub.
- a stack of homework passes that I provided for the sub to give to "good" students went missing
- said any of three students could have taken it
- had put the stack on the overhead projector, and then the next moment, they were gone
Now, I've only taught for a little more than a month, but I'm pretty sure of these two things:
a) It is a seriously DUMB ASS idea to put anything temptation-worthy in an open, high traffic space without intense supervision.
b) I believe those three accused students slightly more than the sub.
(Side question: Does this make me gullible? Or does this make my students really good liars? Or have I fallen into the trap of believing my students because I want to see only the good in them, and thus I've become blinded to their faults? This worries me....must do more reflection on this topic.)
I did speak to all three today. I also spoke to my "eyes and ears" (the students who I asked to take notes of what happened during the class) who were surprisingly detailed. Nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. According to all records (even the sub's notes; minus the theft of course), it was basically like I had been there.
In the end, I decided to make all homework passes invalid, as well as cutting off using it as a prize for the rest of the term. Homework passes are a privilege. I give them out because I want my students to have a meaningful reward for their hard work. But somehow, that failed. They were too greedy, and now the system is ruined for everyone.
On a related note: I've got to balance give students a second chance/self-correction with having them serve the consequence of their actions. So far this year, I've only given one detention, and I had a student write a formal apology letter to another student. By this time last year, in the 5th-6th split class, I had given out AT LEAST 10 recess detentions. There is no comparison in maturity with elementary and middle school. There must be even less in high school.
But still. Gotta work on cracking down and following through. I don't want to be too much of a softie on them. They need to follow through with their actions too.