I start all my classes the exact same way every day. I come in and say, "Good morning/ Good afternoon." Hopefully the kids all respond in kind, then I ask them to, "Show me the notebooks!" The kids all hold up their notebooks; I count the notebooks; and if all the they all have them, I give the class an extra English point. (Don't ask what English points are. It gets complicated.)
In my best class, class 6-4, there is always one kid who doesn't have a notebook. There is no excuse for not having a notebook. These flimsy Korean composition books cost the equivalent of 50 cents and there is a stationary store right outside of the school. Still, I wonder. Maybe this kid has really mean parents and they never cough up any money for school supplies. Maybe the kid lives with his ailing grandmother and saves every bit of money he can for medicine. Who knows, so I decide to give the kid a notebook. Kat and I have two extras floating around the place so I made a special point of bringing these notebooks to school. On this special day, before class starts, I ask the kid where his notebook is. He shrugs, and then with great dignity I present him with his new notebook. I have done it. I am super teacher. I have given the under-privileged, grandma saving-child an instrument of learning. I have also helped create unity in the class as the kid holds up his notebook with the rest of the students and they earn their "English Point".
So three days later, I do the proud call for notebooks only to realize that one student does not have a notebook. The little bastard lost it. Sorry to use such abusive language, but how does a kid loose a notebook that was given to him just three days ago? I thought the bequeathing of the notebook was such a momentous occasion. The kid isn't even supposed to take it home; it's supposed to stay in his desk. I fume, but then I start to think. Maybe some kids stole it. Maybe he took it home to practice his English and forgot it. Maybe he had to sell it for medicine to save his sick grandma. Then I realize, it doesn't matter. I tried, he tried. Maybe we'll try again. I would get angry, but honestly, this student reminds me too much of myself when I was a kid.