My first public post! I am excited about sharing my perspectives on special education, garnered over 40 years of experience. Although “sort of” retired, I still teach privately and through the local school district. For this post, I had intended to plunge into my interests related to teaching reading, but instead, here’s one of many unexpected teaching experiences from my lengthy career: It was my first week in a new school, working in a self-contained classroom with students who had behavior and emotional disabilities. We were in the midst of our morning meeting when I heard a strange gurgling sound coming from the bathroom. No one was actually in the bathroom, so I ignored it and kept everyone focused on sharing. Eventually, the noise was so loud that I had to check it out. I opened the bathroom door to see a geyser of brown water spraying out of the toilet into the air. I have never seen anything quite like it, except perhaps when fire hydrants are being flushed. Within moments, the flood of sewage (which was combined with vegetation from the cafeteria next door) came gushing into the classroom and covered the floor with an inch of raw waste. It was quite exciting for all of us. Kids who always wanted to wade at the beach now had their chance, while others explored classrooms down the hallway. Fortunately, the room was so new that we had little furniture and no classroom clutter (yet), so the damage was minimal. District crews pumped up the water and assured me that all was well as long as we never put any more white mice down the toilet. We never did sit on the carpet again.
Survival tips: Don’t rush to open a bathroom door. Don’t say, “It wasn’t me!” when accused of putting white mice in the toilet because your assistant may helpfully add, “It wasn’t me! I’ve had a hysterectomy!” If you plan to teach for the long haul, invest in a steam carpet cleaner.