Locker drama not reflected in the movies

By JASON MAYFIELD / Guest Columnist

As a teacher, I’m rather sensitive to the mistakes Hollywood makes when it invades the halls of a middle or high school.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen Tinseltown make? The impression that every student has a top locker.

Outside of the fact that no movie or show with 20-year-olds playing 13-year-olds looks realistic, the problem with the lockers bothers me the most because I was a victim to the randomly assigned locker. (It may have been “random,” but it sure seemed I was always on my knees trying to get my combination to work.)

I’ve worked lockers for my school’s registration for years. I’d like to think I was placed in charge of distributing lockers because of my organizational skills, but the reason was likely that it was one job I couldn’t mess up too much. My principal recently started the policy of “if they show up for registration, they get the locker they want (within reason).” Ever since, I’ve seen just how those locker choices go.

First in line: “I want a top locker.”

Second in line: “My son sent me early to get a top locker.”

Third in line: “Top locker.”

Fourth: “Mmm… Well, she’s small. This is her first year. How high are the lockers? I guess let’s get her a bottom locker.”

Fifth in line: “Top locker.”

As you might guess, the fourth person will come back shortly and say, “Hi, I just spoke with my daughter and she demanded I get the locker changed to a top one. Any left?”

The top lockers are claimed quicker than gold in the Old West. Even though those left get the bottom lockers, a mere three feet south, everyone manages — even the sixth graders that take until Thanksgiving to learn the whole “right, left and pass once, right again” combination deal.

Top or bottom locker, I think the students manage much better than adults would. Just look around at your office space. Could you fit everything into a 3-ish-by-1-ish foot space? Could you keep your things organized so well that when your boss yells “SWITCH” you could get that locker open, get your things, and return to your desk in just four minutes? Could you do the above while surrounded by dozens of people chatting away about the office gossip?

It’s a lot of pressure — drama that Hollywood misses when it just shows those “top locker” people.

Jason Mayfield is a gifted instructor at Columbiana Middle School.