DEAR HARRIETTE: I am an elementary school teacher, so naturally my students make me many crafts. I love every child I teach, and seeing their faces brightens my day. I have noticed a trend in how children craft. Instead of taking something home to their parents, they'll give it to me. I find this gesture adorable, but these drawings are not high-quality. There are only so many child creations you can hang on a wall. I have been teaching a few years, and I tend to throw out crafts after a week. Children don't even remember them!
Recently, the mother of a boy I taught last year reached out to me and asked for his work. I told her that her son took everything home that he wanted to, and she replied that he said he left things in the classroom for me. This work has since been thrown out, but I know this mother will be very offended if I tell her that. I am a young teacher, and I have never found myself in this situation before. How do I respond to her email? -- Recycling Art, Philadelphia
DEAR RECYCLING ART: Be honest with that parent, and tell her that the artwork was discarded at the end of the school year. In the future, let parents know that any artwork that children decide to leave in the classroom will not be kept. If the time limit is a week, tell them that. If it is until the end of the year, make that clear.