One day, Shaw brought a mouse to class, in one of those tiny cages I use to transport mice for Corneilia's (the snake) dinner. You're really not supposed to keep a mouse in a transport cage for more than a half-an-hour or so, but here's Shaw with his mouse, in a tiny cage and no water. The poor thing looked terrified. I could hardly teach with the dehydrated mouse cowering in the cage, so I paused class long enough to inform Shaw of basic mouse care, find a larger container for the mouse and get it some food and water. Goldfish crackers are probably not on the approved diet list for pet mice, but it was the best I had.
Unfortunately, by trying to care for the mouse, I broke the cardinal rule of teaching: always keep an eye on your class.
Unbeknownst to me, our resident football star Cody was showing off for his friends. He pretended to be constipated by making groaning noises and scrunching up his face as if in effort (I swear, I don't know where they get these ideas). It had the added benefit of turning his face bright red, I heard later. It had the unexpected side effect of bursting a blood vessel in his nose.
My first sign of trouble was when I saw Cody's hands cover his nose. The rest of his table did the same. I assumed at the time that someone at his table had farted and they'd work it out somehow. Until, I noticed the blood dripping from Cody's hands.
"Cody, bathroom NOW!" I yelled and a relieved-looking Cody bolted from his seat and raced for the door, dripping the whole way. As luck (and state funding) would have it, I had no sink in my classroom, which meant I also had no paper towels (forget Kleenex: a snowball has a better chance of lasting in hell than a box of Kleenex in a classroom during cold and flu season). And now I had a puddle of blood that everyone apparently wanted to use as finger paint (note to self: have the social studies teachers include "biohazard" on next week's vocabulary list).
There's still a mouse on my desk, in case you forgot.
Thankfully, the custodian break room is right next door so I didn't have to go far to get some help. I told Danny to keep everyone away from the blood (including himself) and knocked on the custodian's door. But.......this required me to take my eyes off my class for a crucial minute, and God had one more joke to play.
Let's rewind to Cody's mad dash for the door, shall we? Monique, one of my girls, has a secret crush on Cody (Monique is not a subtle person, so by secret, I mean everyone including the snake knows Monique likes Cody, but Monique thinks no one else knows). As Cody ran for the door, Monique gasped in shock and dismay. I didn't notice it at the time, but someone else did: Anbir, a boy at Monique's table. While I was outside of my room talking to the custodian, Anbir started chanting "MONIIIIQUE LOOOOOVES COOOOOOODY! MONIIIIIIQUE LOOOOOOVES COOOOOODY!" Monique, pissed that her "secret" was blown, stood up and decked Anbir. By the time I popped back into my room, Anbir was picking himself up off the floor and Monique was winding up for another pitch.
I'm not sure what the mouse thought of all this.
I managed to get Monique and Anbir down to see the principal (not at the same time for obvious reasons) and the custodian got the blood cleaned up without anyone dabbling in it and the mouse did eventually get his larger cage, water and Pepperidge Farms Goldfish Crackers. After that, I decided we were having a movie day.
If only I'd had Ratatouille with me that day.