About five years ago, I had a really impromptu conversation with a fellow teacher from down the hall.  I asked her how she handles students who forget or do not have a pencil with them when they come to class.  After this conversation, I asked a number of other teachers how they handle the same situation.  Some were pretty black and white:

"I will ask them to borrow one from a friend."
"I will let them go back to their locker, but only three times each quarter."
Other teachers were less stringent in their responses:
"It depends if it is the first time or a repeat offender."
"I have a collection of brand new and used pencils in a drawer.  Students can borrow them anytime."
Still others saw the pencil conversation through a different lens.  For several, the answer was a lesson in economics.
"I want students to understand the need to come prepared, so I have them for sale in my room."
I was reminded of the economics of forgetting a pencil when I recently visited a school over an hour's drive from home.  I couldn't help but take a picture of it with my phone:

As a teacher, I'm pretty sure I tried all of these ideas at one time or another.  For some reason, this classroom scenario has stuck with me for a number of years.  It brings up a number of other questions (in no particular order):
  1. What does the way a teacher handles students who forget pencils, say about his/her educational philosophy?
  2. What does the way an administrator handles adults who do not come prepared to meetings or professional learning, say about his/her educational philosophy?
  3. Is the way a forgetful administrator or teacher expects to be treated similar to the way he/she treats staff and students in the pencil context described above?
  4. How would you want the teacher of your children to handle the "I forgot my pencil" scenario?
I think I have many more questions than answers right now.