Teaching is anything but dull. And teaching middle school can be predictable, so when something happens that is unexpected, at this point in my career I can see the bright side. Entertainment! Much of teaching is entertaining while keeping in mind boundaries. So it is WONDERFUL when both teacher and students are entertained. Here are my top five hilarious memories from teaching. Disclaimer: At the time some of these happened, I wasn’t necessarily laughing.
- A student let a frog lose in my class. An actual frog. I thought this only happened in movies. He had kept it from recess in his backpack. I was the last class of the day. I’m not sure what happened in the prior classes, but this frog was alive and well when I started teaching (and yes, also when I finished teaching for the day). How did I handle it? It was lucky that I had brought my coffee mug with a cap on it since I teach in different rooms.
- A student bunny-hopping UP the stairs. Towards the end of a busy day I headed downstairs towards the office to check my mailbox. On the way down, I was startled to see a student bunny-hopping up the stairs. Upon closer inspection I noticed he had tied his lower legs together with shoelaces. This was so out of the norm at the time I was surprised that anyone would do something so ridiculous and dangerous during school. Of course, that was pre-pandemic days, when life was a little more standard.
- A student dropped a bottle of hot sauce on my classroom floor. SMASH! At 9:00 in the morning. Keep in mind I AM a Spanish teacher. But why would this student have their lunchbox with them at that time? And why would they have a full bottle of hot sauce in it? And why would they take it out in my class? Soooo many questions.
- I played a Kahoot (an online multiple choice game) without checking the answers first. Never cave to kid pressure to “let’s just see that, or let’s just play this.” Things were going fine until the question that included a male body part as one of the answers. Certainly didn’t see THAT one coming.
- A student leapt off of a table out the doorway and hit his head on the top of the doorframe. It wouldn’t have been funny if he had gotten hurt. But he wasn’t injured. Just a little surprised. We were playing “Escapa de la clase.” Students have to make their way from the opposite corner of the classroom out the door to safety without anyone touching the floor. They can step on desks, chairs, rugs, etc. They can ONLY speak in Spanish to help tell each other what to do. They have to make sure everyone makes it. There is often a grand flourish as they finally make it out the door. One student decided to leap his way out -from the top of a table- and >clunk< got a boo-boo on his forehead.
As I always tell my students, if you want a fun job, be a teacher. You might be watching the clock but it’s not because you’re bored, just to make sure you’re planning your class according to time. The ride home and the feeling of self-worth is pretty good on the good days. We won’t talk about the feelings on the bad days. Never a dull moment! So… what funny moments can you tell me about from YOUR work? (Come on, bus drivers- I bet you have some good ones!)