Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 13 2013

Fun With Confiscation

A student in my office today had a pair of white Apple headphones hanging out of his pocket. I held out my hand to confiscate them, and he unplugged them from something before passing them to me.


Obviously, I then also wanted whatever was in his pocket playing music. I held out my hand again, but this time he refused.

“Ms. Mathinaz, I can’t give it to you. It’s too large for my pocket. It took me forever to squeeze it in there and it isn’t going to come out.” He punctuated this with some dramatic tugging and some complaining that his hand was going to get stuck.


Thinking of all the things kids use to listen to music, I wasn’t buying any story about his hand being stuck in an overfilled pocket. I kept my hand out and tried to be patient while I explained strategies for removing items from pockets. It’s hard for a kid to be defiant while I’m sweetly explaining that it’s best to grab the very top of the item and make sure you’re pulling it toward the opening of the pocket, not toward the top of the pant leg. He gave in and handed it over.


Jackpot! He handed me this. An old school, analog radio with dials and an antenna. It really was just a little too large for his pocket. Who knew anyone used the headphone jacks on those things? Has anyone, in the history of music technology, ever used one of those with little white iPhone headphones?


I kept a straight face, but I also succumbed to the only natural response in this situation. I expanded the antenna and turned the dial until I found Michael Jackson. Remember when you used to have to fiddle with the antenna and the location to get clear sound? I did that for awhile until I found a good spot on the windowsill.


He was fascinated. He hadn’t known the use for the antenna until now.

One Response

  1. It’s amazing what you can confiscate from students over the years. If students just understood that we just are trying to eliminate all of the distractions so they could focus on their education they would understand us a little better.

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