When it comes to note passing in my classroom, I am not one of those sadistic-type teachers who reads the confiscated note to the entire class, but I do confiscate it.
Today, I had not one, but two memorable note confiscations. During fourth period, I saw a male student - we'll call him John Smith - passing around a note to some of the students around him. I walked over and confiscated it, putting it in my pocket as I continued with the lesson. At the end of the period, John came up to me and asked me if he could have the note back, as it was a letter from his dad. I told John to see me later because he was going to be late for class as it was. When I got a chance to look at the note, I noticed that it was a letter inside an torn-open envelope. It was addressed to the student, and the return address looked essentially like the following:
John Smith, Sr. #1234567
C.S.P. San Quentin
San Quentin, CA 94974
For those who might not be in the know, "C.S.P." stands for "California State Prison". San Quentin is a maximum security lockup where California's one and only death chamber is located. I assume this student's dad is not on Death Row, but the fact he is residing in San Quentin means he didn't merely steal a car for a joyride. Needless to say, I took the letter over to the student's next class and handed it to his teacher to give it to him. I wanted that letter in my possession as little as possible.
Not two periods later - sixth period - I confiscated another note. There are two girls in that class who sit next to each other who I should have separated a long time ago; why I had not, I'm not sure. Finally, today, I had reached my limit, and I separated them. I kept Girl #1 in place, and sent Girl #2 to another seat. They protested as much as you would expect, but Girl #2 went to her new seat without too much fuss. About 20 minutes later, I saw Girl #1 trying to hide a note from me that she had just received. I walked over, took it, and put it in my pocket. I always nonchalantly put a confiscated note in my pocket and just move on with the lesson, then read the note later after the students leave.
After 6th period was over, I took the note out of my pocket, and to my astonishment, here is what it said - word for word, uncorrected, and unedited:
Girl #2: hey gurl I Hella mad man dis nigga moved me the hell ova here
Girl #1: I No lets be bad
Girl #2: forreal lets be talking out and stuff. and laugh OUT LOUD LOL!
OK, I don't understand why they spell it "gurl". Next, I guess I should feel honored that Gurl #1 referred to me as a "nigga". I hear students on campus say that to each other all the time, and it seems to be a friendly moniker. I guess this means I have been accepted as one of them?
All kidding aside, I don't know if this is bad, but I felt such a feeling of cathartic pleasure during during my phone conversation with Gurl #2's mother as I read to her - word for word; including the word "nigga"- what her darling daughter had written in the note. The mother was absolutely mortified. As for my phone call home on Gurl #1, the home phone has been disconnected, the cell phone number netted me a recorded voice telling me that the person at that number is currently not accepting calls, and the third number was a wrong number. It is this gurl that needs a call home more than the other one, and naturally, I can't contact anybody at home. Kinda tells you why there is such a problem in the first place.
The only thing I am still left wondering from all this is whether or not these two girls can spell any better than they did in that note. I am wondering if I should give a copy of it to their Language Arts teacher?
Good Day to You, Sir