There are times, as a teacher, that I feel like I’m making a difference. Times that I see the lights come on in my student’s eyes, and everything is awesome. Times that my students seek me for advice, or they run to tell me that they’ve gotten into college, or that they have gotten a job. Those moments are awesome. Then, there are the piss-in-a-bottle moments. Less awesome.
A few months into my teaching career, we were doing some class discussions (it’s been months, so I have no clue what THEY were learning, but I definitely know what I learned). One of my students raised his hand. Now, when a student raises his hand in the middle of class activities, and you have NOT asked a question, it means one of two things:
- he has to go to the bathroom,
- he has to “go to the bathroom.” (Please note the quotation marks. They are intentional. Because, now listen closely to this super-secret tip that SO few teachers realize, sometimes, VERY seldom mind you, the students aren’t ACTUALLY going to the bathroom. I know. You come here for these life-changing insights.)
Sometimes, I actually think these students are headed to the bathroom. Other times, I know they aren’t. This time, I wasn’t 100% certain either way, but I decided to let him go anyways. This student returned to class. He sat down, holding a plastic bottle filled with a yellow liquid. I would not have found this particularly strange, except that after this future leader of America leaned over to his friend and whispered something, followed by snickering. There are many laughs that a teacher feels the need to know:
- Snort-laugh: Someone just said something inappropriate or disrespectful. Destroy them.
- Snicker: Similar to the snort-laugh, but probably because they are ABOUT to do something naughty. Death glare commence until the snickering stops.
- Cackle: Someone is mocking someone else. End that ish.
- Giggle: Off-topic side discussions are occurring, probably having to do with a text/Instagram/Vines
- Laugh: This one is good, and hopefully the natural consequence of your stunning, gorgeous, witty lecturing.
I followed my own rule for snickering. I saw that the snickering was occurring due to the bottle in his hand that he was pointing at and laughing. I knew; oh, I knew. Hell hath no fury. I walked up to the student and asked him to place the bottle on the table. He looked at me, feigning innocence. \
“Um. Sorry, Mrs. N. I’m…uh…” (Snicker Snicker)
I furrowed my eyebrows at him as I walked over to his desk. I stared at the suspicious bottle.
“What is this?”
I asked, and I reached down and picked up the bottle with the tips of my fingers. The snickering increased between the student and his friend.
“Am I..” I cleared my throat here, you know, to maintain my authority,
“Am I…holding a bottle of your urine?”
My suspicions were actualized when I realized there was heat emanating from the bottle in my hand. Guys. I stood there, literally holding a plastic bottle of my student’s piss, feeling the warmth of his urine through the plastic, and I kept it under control. Teacher of the year? I think so.
The student, between snickering, said,
“Yes…I…I am sorry.”
I am truly hoping that it was the absolute last time I hold a bottle of my student’s urine. That being said, even with those days involved, it’s still a pretty awesome job. I imagine it’s a lot like the way a parent feels with their kids. No parents are excited about the prospect of cleaning feces from every orifice on their child, themselves, and door jambs, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. Because the little creature that creates all that crap for you, is super worth shoveling through the crap (or urine) that comes with it.