You can tell a lot about a school by the state of its lockers.
At my school, our lockers are a strange shade of blue, that even now as I stare out at them from my classroom door, I can’t find an appropriate adjective to describe. Many of them are lock-less, as their owners have long since lost their locks or had them stolen by erstwile friends with whom they had regrettably shared their combinations. Many of them are bent, or skewed, or jumbled so that they don’t exactly close. Many of them are bedecked with the best handwriting of generations of pre-adolescents. My favorite sample is the one directly across from my room, which proclaims on two adjacent lockers: “Fuck yes / Hot cheetos.”
Our kids don’t feel valued, I can reason loftily. When they feel safe and respected in their environment, they will choose to keep their environment safe and respectful, I can chirp. And all of these things are true, just like all of the other pieces of educational theory that we spout throughout the school year.
With ten days left, however, the bruised lockers outside 374 have become more depressing than evocative.