Teach100 Mentor: Scary Classroom Stories
Teaching requires bravery. From the public speaking aspect of it (you try leading a class while your principal takes notes) to the fact that you're in charge when a child has a seizure (true story from one of our Teach100 Mentors below), being a good teacher means being a tough cookie. But that's not to say some experiences don't leave even the veterans shaken. We asked our Teach100 Mentors--just in time for halloween!--to share their teaching horror stories. Gather around the campfire, here they are!
What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you at school or in the classroom?
"I had a student with low blood sugar. One day she passed out in class, but she didn't fall down and her head didn't droop. She just sat in her seat very still with her eyes open. We did an activity outside of the classroom and I thought she was being belligerent so I left her in the classroom. Later I discovered what was happening and called the nurse. I thought I would be fired and jailed and that her parents would be very upset. Fortunately, everyone was happy that she was OK and none of those things that I feared ever happened." Peter Cincotta, What's So Good About Public Education In America?
"On my very first day of student teaching in a class without my co-op around, a student dropped to the floor and a seizure. It was a very scary experience for everyone in the room. Everyone rushed in to help out the student and in the end, he was ok. I will always remember it being September 10, 2011." Jeff Bradbury, TeacherCast
"A student brought an air-soft gun to school, they thought it was an okay way to return it after borrowing it from a friend. Innocent but scary." Todd Bloch, Sweat to Inspire
"One time in my early career I had an altercation with a student. She actually got physical, threw a marker at me that broke against the blackboard and then she threw a chair toward the side of the room. The student came in late and I was following protocol since she didn't have a pass. The situation was terrifying and definitely got my blood pressure rising. Since that experience 12 years ago, I've only had one other student altercation in my room and that was equally as scary because administration didn't come fast enough. The second was between 2 students." Starr Sackstein, www.starrsackstein.com
"Working with money--and making a very costly mistake. When I realized what I had done, I went cold. Something about teaching makes many of us very bad with money--perhaps that's why they don't pay us more." Sean, Ideas Out There
"I was teaching a Special Day Class for the Severely Handicapped at a middle school when the events of 9/11 were told us in patches through written announcements in the Staff Lounge. My paraprofessional came in at half day, with some terrifying details about the attacks. My daughter was in high school a mile away. Man, did I wish we were all home together--since we didn't know how extensive the attacks might be." Melanie Link Taylor, MsTeachuh
"The scariest thing that's ever happened to me at school or in the classroom was fracturing my ankle at a student vs. staff basketball game." Mike Lerchenfeldt, The Light Bulb
Eek! Okay while we recover, here are a few ways our teachers celebrate the spookiest time of year. Happy Halloween!
"I always dress up (middle school), as encouragement for the students to have fun. My students have done a Halloween concert for years, with me starring as the Wicked Witch of the Band Room. We play Halloween-y music. It's an ideal time to show off the first two months of learning--and have a good time." Nancy Flanagan, Teacher in a Strange Land
"My favorite [classroom] decoration is a singing and dancing skeleton. My favorite game or activity is "mummy wrapping."" Mike Lerchenfeldt, The Light Bulb
"I'm going to scare the kids by banning technology and doing chalk and talk in my class for the day! Whooooo!" Sean, Ideas Out There [Editor's note: that's just cruel!]
"Drawing cheesy Halloween jokes like cartoons, and singing silly Halloween songs--Ghostbusters, Addams Family, Purple People Eater, and maybe dancing to Thriller." Melanie Link Taylor, MsTeachuh
"As a science teacher I tend to try to explain some scary tricks: Like how to make fog with sublimation of dry ice and how glow sticks work." Todd Bloch, Sweat to Inspire
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