What are your funniest or most awkward teacher incidents?
There is no escape from funny or embarrassing incidents when you are a teacher. The longer you have been teaching the more you seem to have!
Here are my best (or worst) school incidents and pranks from the past 20 years.
1. The Frog
The time when a pupil brought in some show and tell in the morning and I asked them to put it under my desk. At 3:45 that day, she retrieved it ready for a show and tell. The young lady excitedly peeled off the Tupperware lid to reveal … A dead frog. Upon further investigation, the frog was alive at the day’s start. I had a chat with her mum after about air holes and warning teachers about living show and tell. Poor frog – I still harbour the guilt 15 years on.
2. The foot-in-mouth moment
We all speak before thinking at times. On providing pupils’ with the answer to the question, ‘How long will it take Paul to swim 3 lengths of the pool?’ (a. 3 seconds, b. 3 minutes or c. 3 hours), I suggested that even someone with one leg could swim it quicker than 3 hours. It was then the realisation dawned on me, as I glanced down at the sea of faces that Henry’s dad (a canoe instructor), had one leg. I swiftly backtracked and possibly made it worse by pointing out that we all know that Henry’s dad is an excellent swimmer … Apologised profusely to Henry post-lesson and stammered a red-faced apology to Henry’s dad after school, who luckily found the whole thing hilarious. Our end-of-term trip was at his canoe club.
3. The school play
One Christmas, the infant play was aptly renamed, ‘The Incontinent Donkey’. There is nothing else to say about that as I’ll let your imagination fill in the gaps. There was a staff shortage the week after as a few of us had also succumbed.
4. The visualiser spider
The visualiser is a wonderful invention for modelling concepts for pupils’, showing great work and pranking your colleagues. I managed to catch the fattest, hairiest spider that would fit in a glass. Instead of putting it outside, I crept into my colleague’s classroom while her back was turned, made a ‘shush’ motion to her pupils and deposited the spider in the glass on the visualiser. Her class were trying to stifle giggles. There was an almighty shriek when she turned around and it took a while for our classes to settle down from laughing which I took full responsibility for.
5. The casserole dish
In the days before staff conduct policies, it was good fun to send a pupil a casserole dish with a message to give the teacher of, ‘thanks for the meal at the weekend’. A sure way to start a rumour. I don’t think I would try that one now…
6. Pregnancy rumour
When I had just started at a new school, a colleague came in to take the class one afternoon as I was on a course. I announced to year one that Mrs Coyle would be taking them and she is having a baby (which was rather obvious by that point). Unfortunately, most children heard, ‘Mrs Coyle will be teaching you because I am having a baby’. Cue a few disgruntled parental complaints about me taking my maternity leave 2 weeks after starting at the school. On a side note, having had 2 maternity leaves at the same school a few years after, it is also interesting how some parents seem to think you should plan your babies to fit into the school calendar neatly and not inconvenience them or their children!
If you were to reflect on your teaching career, what teacher incidents would you have on your list?