Sometimes Teachers Need to Laugh at Themselves2 min read
This morning I found someone’s old bottle of chocolate milk sitting on a bookshelf in my classroom. I did what any self-respecting teacher would do and shot it like Steph Curry at the trashcan by the door. Unfortunately my shot was a little high and it hit the wall behind the can. Also unfortunately, the cap wasn’t tight on the chocolate milk, and in front of my entire second hour English class, the chocolate milk exploded all over that corner of the room. Except it wasn’t chocolate milk anymore, but instead a chocolate-flavored cottage cheese; a thick brown yogurt that seeped into the carpet (why do classrooms use carpet?!) and permeated the air. Instantly my classroom smelled like someone dropped a carton of rotten eggs in a locker room after a high school boys hockey game.
Needless to say, my class is working in the library the rest of the day, the custodial staff is giving me dirty looks (my scrubbing couldn’t get the smell out), and my students all have a good story to tell.
I learned two thing important lessons this morning:
1. Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself and the situations you are in. I made a dumb decision when I threw that bottle towards the door, and it was a little embarrassing when the milk covered the wall while kids were working on a grammar assignment. But the truth is, to every kid in that room, this was a funny moment in their day. It was a break from the ordinary, and an opportunity for them to see how I handle messing up. They saw me get on my hands and knees to clean the disgusting mess up. But I also chose to laugh at myself, and call out my dumb mistake. This strange moment gave me an opportunity to model humility.
Word spreads fast, and all day kids came to my class to laugh about what they heard happen. Instead of turning red or changing the story up, I owned my stupid move and let the students enjoy the story.
Now of course my room stunk all day, and I hope to not have this ever happen again, but since it did, all I can do is laugh along with the students.
2. I also learned to always check the cap before throwing a bottle of chocolate milk across my classroom.