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> I think your problem is very prevalent, and I wish I knew why. 

I blame a general lack of respect for anyone and anything. Most kids 
today, even the poorest ones, have quite a few of their "wants" met 
(even if some of the "needs" aren't met - but that's a different rant). 
When kids show up at school without paper or pencil, we give them what 
they need. If families are considered poor, we provide free breakfast 
and lunch for the kids. Many of our schools provide kids with clean 
clothes. Before long, kids learn to expect that whatever they want will 
be provided for them. Add to that the fact that much of what we buy is 
considered disposable (think inkjet printers), and no wonder kids don't 
take care of things - they don't see the point. THEY didn't have to pay 
for it, and when it falls apart it can be easily replaced - by someone else.

Part of the solution might be to start teaching and demanding respect, 
both for students and adults. We're all guilty of having the nearest kid 
run errands for us. Yes, they enjoy the freedom and responsibility, but 
it also can (doesn't mean it always does) imply a lower status - "I'm 
too good to run this across the hall, so you do it." We've all talked 
about students in ways that could be considered gossip, sometimes when 
"big ears" are around, yet we come unglued if we hear our students 
talking about us in the same way.

Earlier I mentioned a lack of respect for things, and our throw-away 
society. How often do your students see you repairing books? I do book 
repairs out in front of everyone, and our kids (and teachers) see that I 
work at taking care of the books we have. I have no problem throwing 
away a book that is beyond repair, but sometimes a few minutes with some 
tape or glue can keep a book circulating for a few more years.

Kids and adults generally live up to (or down to) our expectations. If 
we expect kids to behave, model the behavior we expect, and compliment 
them once in a while when they behave better than expected we will see 
good behavior. If we expect our kids to misbehave and only comment on 
their bad behavior we will see more of the bad behavior. While this 
really needs to be a school-wide thing, it can start with just one 
teacher. When that one teacher is getting cooperation and respect from 
those who aren't giving it to other teachers, the other teachers will 
eventually notice and start to ask about the secret.

David Lininger, kb0zke,
MS/HS librarian
Hickory County R-1 Schools
Urbana, MO 65767
tss003 at tnp dot more dot net

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