Things go missing in the classroom. It happens. People borrow your stuff and forget to return it. People come in your room after school when the cleaning crew has all the doors open and they rummage and occasionally take stuff. We've had a couple break-ins this year, and a couple times kids have been jacked up for crimes of opportunity. We've even had some dudes pretending to be parents roaming the school and taking cell phones out of teachers' desks.
So when I come in at 6:30 am and stuff isn't where it's supposed to be, I don't freak out. I look around, I wait a couple days, I ask questions. Usually someone borrowed the stapler I left on my desk, or my tape dispenser--it might take a while for me to get it back.
But there have been damned peculiar things going on of late. Like my floor wasn't swept because the cleaning staff said my chairs were down, when I know for a fact I had the kids put them all up during detention the previous day, and the chairs were all up when I arrived in the morning. Or my cabinets will be open but not rummaged, with perhaps a rubber ball or two out on the floor. I've spoken to the custodial staff a couple times about things like this. I've asked if kids have been in my room late at night. Sometimes the maps are pulled down and the screen put back up, or vice-versa; little things which aren't harmful, but stupid and time-consuming.
The trip to the Holocaust Museum a month back was exhausting. I got back to school at 6:30pm. I went up to my room, which I'd left at 8:30am. Everything was as I'd left it. The cleaning crew was actually in there when I dropped off some stuff. I said hey to Greg and D as they vacuumed and swept. They said hey back.
There were no students in the school. The only present adults were custodians and Mrs. P and I.
When I arrived at 6:30 the next morning, my chairs were down, my rubber balls were out of the closet and all around the room, a couple bulletin board displays had been torn down, several hallway displays had been removed and strewn along the floor, and my stapler and tape dispenser were missing again. My file cabinets were open and the classwork files were in reverse alpha order.
I went to see Sheryl, the chief custodian. I told her about being in the room the night before and then early the next morning. I said Greg or D wouldn't mess things up. I explained there were no kids in the building, and asked if one of the staff had their own children around. She said no. She scrunched up her face and kind of thought about what she was about to say. Then she just said it.
"I think there's something weird in your room," she said. "The staff don't like it in there at night. They hear things."