Friday, September 11, 2015

The Pencil Cycle

I work in a computer lab. There is generally very little use for stationary, but I keep a pencil-holder type object on my desk. At the start of the year it was mostly filled by pens and perhaps a single pencil.
The pencil holder (the sides are magnetic).
During the course of this year, I have acquired a number of orphaned pencils. The sheer number of them is surprising, since rarely do children bring stationary in here. The only occasions are when I ask for it, which is not often, and when children do their homework in the lab in the afternoon. I tend to assume that if you are doing homework you would keep an eye on what stationary is yours and take it with you when you leave. This is not the case. We find pencils on the floor, under and behind desks, on the desks - everywhere. Whenever I find a pencil that has no name and has been enjoying life in the computer lab for a while, I add it to my pencil holder. Inevitably, the pencils end up being used by me or borrowed by a child - and then they disappear again. 

This pencil cycle has worked it's way into my expectations - I don't get concerned when all of the pencils disappear, because I know that eventually my stock will be replenished. The highest record for adopted pencils was 6 living in the pencil holder, at the moment we are on 3. A new addition was found on the floor this morning. I haven't had to buy a single pencil this year so far.

We do find the occasional eraser, but that is much rarer. There is a general catch-all lost property box that houses the miscellaneous items that are left here. I'm not a monster, if a stationary item has a name then we return it. The only other item that is left behind as much as pencils is homework diaries. The homework diaries are used by my young students to record their logins and passwords for our educational websites - they leave them behind often just out of sheer forgetfulness when being fetched by parents in a rush.