Tales from Teaching

I was a teacher for three grueling years. Feels like forever ago. Here are couple of memories I have. Names changed to protect the innocent.

I kicked a kid in the head

By accident. It was the last day of my second year of elementary school special education. I was in a 4th grade classroom, nothing to do, just goofing off with the teacher and the kids. There was like an hour left until summer break. As expected, the kids are pretty much doing whatever they want at this point and the teachers don’t really care. Some of the kids were trying to do handstands in the classroom, which was, of course, a terrible idea in the first place. At some point, one of the kids asked me to do one. Sure, I told them. I set the stuff in my pocket aside and went for it. Right as I kick my feet into the air, I felt a smack, and heard a dull thud. I thought maybe I’d hit a desk or something. But then the crying started. Turns out, this kid was crawling around on the floor behind me. I never saw him. The heel of my shoe got him dead in the ear. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me to do something. I picked the kid up and carried him to the school nurse. The principal was up there. I explained what happened (luckily, this was the most awesome principal ever). The kid recovered pretty quickly, but as we expected, his mother called up to the school after he got home, angry and demanding an explanation. I was honest about what happened, and she eventually calmed down and that was that.

“Bathroom” Joey

My third year of teaching was the worst. I was transferred from my 6th-8th grade special education job to a first grade classroom teacher. Each day was an exercise in patience and restraint. I’ve never been good with that age group. Anyway, there was another first grade teacher who had a major disruptor to her classroom. Sometimes, when she had had enough, she’d send him over to my room (Why? who knows. maybe she thought the presence of a male would straighten him up). So he’d come in and I’d send him over into the corner. The problem was, after a while, he’d start to disrupt my classroom. One time, when I got sick of this, I told him to go stand inside the bathroom in the back of the class. Not the best idea, I realize. But the kid was a pain in the ass. I didn’t shut the door or anything, it just made it so he couldn’t easily make faces and distract my students. The next mistake I made was when he continued to try to disrupt my class from inside the bathroom, I yelled at him by calling his first name. Unfortunately, I had a kid named Joey in my class as well, who pointed at himself to ask whether or not I was talking to him. Without thinking, I said, “No, not my Joey, bathroom Joey.” Well, my students latched onto this nickname. They called him Bathroom Joey at recess, at lunch, anytime they saw him. I thought it was pretty funny, actually. The kid was such a brat and to see him suffer gave me an admittedly immature pleasure. After a week or so, I got called into the principal’s office. I had a premonition of what it was about. Bathroom Joey had told his mom about his nickname. She called the principal, furious as her kid’s humiliation. I explained what happened to my principal, then called the mom and told her, profusely apologizing both times. I also apologized to the kid (as sincerely as I could) and told my class that if they called him Bathroom Joey, they’d be punished.

Kickball Revenge

The school I taught at during my first two years had a bully named Vicky. During her 6th grade year, she was somehow invited to participate in the 6th grade vs Teachers kickball game. It was my first time up to the plate, and as one of the 2 male teachers involved in the game, I knew it was expected that I’d kick the ball into oblivion. The kid pitched me this meandering roller, and I got a good running start, aiming to flatten the thing. It must have hit a hold or something right in front of me, though, because I wasn’t able to catch it flush underneath and send it skyward. I did, however, still hit it pretty hard. The ball soared in a line drive over toward the short-stop area. Right were Vicky was standing. She barely had any time to react. I think she got her hands about halfway up, but it wasn’t enough. That red ball smacked her right in the sternum and send her sprawling. It was great. The rest of the grade level, the kids that she’d spent the past six years treating like crap, all doubled over laughing. Sweet revenge. Vicky tried to laugh it off, but I could tell her pride was wounded.

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