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Kids World

Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.

June 15, 2005

Confessions of an Eraser Bandit

Kids I have a confession to make. I'm an eraser bandit. What is an eraser bandit? It's someone like me, a veteran English teacher, who gets a thrill, a buzz from finding erasers students have left behind in the classroom.

It started, like all addictions do, quite innocently with me tidying up my classroom after the students left. Often I found erasers left on the desk. At first, I put the erasers in a cup. But when they started to overflow, I placed them in a jar.

I think this is when the addiction really kicked in. I looked at the jar, saw it only half full of erasers, and something in me wanted to see the level of the pile of erasers reach the top. This is when I consciously started to look for erasers. And each time I found one, I would get a buzz and place it in the jar. Each week I would look at the jar and take pride in the level rising.

How many erasers do you think are in the jar? How much do you think the jar weighs?

But this was not enough for me. When we discussed our hobbies in class, I told my students, "My hobby is collecting erasers." (Which was a half-truth...I could not tell them I was an eraser bandit.) I then noticed students were bringing in their old erasers to add to my collection. I looked at my eraser jar with glee as the level rose.

I got such pleasure from looking at my jar of erasers that I decided to ask students for outright contributions. The erasers continued to come it.

As you may or may not know, I teach at three universities here in Fukuoka. Now, university students, like children, often forget their erasers. So each day, during class, while the university students are doing warm-ups, I walk around the room and look for forgotten erasers on the desks in the back of the room. So my collection has continued to increase, thanks to the forgetfulness of university students.

At Little America, we sometimes have eraser contests. The students are allowed to make two guesses. The first is to guess how many erasers are in the jar. The second is to guess how much the jar of erasers weighs. The three students who come the closest to the actual number and weight receive a present from Little America.

So, as a special service to ELT News readers, Little America gave three presents to the three readers with the best guesses of how many erasers are in the jar and how much it weighs (answers below).

Click here to see a larger image of the eraser jar.

* The answers were:
Number of erasers = 537
Weight of erasers = 3,970 grams

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