Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 14 2011

Janitor Appreciation Day

I was standing at the door greeting kids for my third class, and suddenly I hear a kid inside the room go, “Uhhh Miss? There’s puke on the floor.”

I rolled my eyes, because I’d been there thirty seconds before and knew the floor was clean. I leaned into the room to check what they were making a big deal out of, and I’m sure the majority of the class was looking at everything with the same timing I had. First, my eyes landed on the fresh pile of vomit on the floor. Then I looked around the group of kids standing there, and noticed the pale kid just in time to watch him jerk forward and throw up…everywhere.

He did not even attempt for the trash can. His puke actually splattered onto the kids near him. And suddenly the entire classroom reeked in this intensely gag-inducing way.

Of all the lucky things that have happened to me in my teaching career, this was the luckiest: I co-teach that period. There was another adult in the room who was able to herd all the other kids back into her classroom, continuing the lesson and getting the poor vomit-er out of the public eye.

Less fortunate for me was the fact that I was not the one who removed the children. I got to sit there with Pukey, rubbing his back and encouraging him to aim for the trash can. I gave him water and tried to make small talk while we were both just steeping in that awful stench. It was all I could do to not start throwing up with him.

The poor kid obviously went home for the rest of the day, but at least I got some bonding time in with a super sweet kid who I don’t normally spend time with. Even better is that my kids managed to be super calm and sweetly concerned rather than obnoxious about it, which is clearly great news.

And don’t worry, I showered as soon as I stepped into my apartment.

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