So I'm planning my science lesson for tomorrow on transpiration when Mrs. Skapinsken walks into the room with a small terrarium in her hands. She plops it down on my desk. The terrarium looks at me innocently, it's newspaper-filled insides concealing the terror hiding inside for me.
"Oh please no," I beg her, "can't we skip this lesson? There has got to be another way to teach them about more complex organisms."
She smiles at me, as innocent as the terrarium. "You knew this was coming, it's the next unit. I know it's going to take some time to get used to them so you might as well start handling them now."
Shit shit shit shit SHIT, she's got me there. I did know this was coming, I just kind of hoped it would go away. Damn you FOSS and your innovative curriculum. You absolutely had to pick something guaranteed to scare the ever-loving crap out of me, didn't you?
Madagascar hissing cockroaches.
Mada-fucking-gascar hissing cockroaches.
I managed to skip this unit last year by conveniently falling a bit too far behind. I had to get to the solar system somehow, so I skipped this little experience. Didn't exactly make the principal happy, and I knew I would be paying the piper this year, but it didn't matter at the time so long as I could sidestep my phobia. Well, the piper has come a-calling. Shit shit shit shit SHIT.
Snicker at me all you want, I don't care. You don't understand. Karen left a bunch of these little bastards at school over the summer. You're supposed to leave a wet sponge and dog food in the container to meet their basic needs, but Karen forgot to take care of them for 2 whole months. We all figured the damn things would be dead as doornails. Imagine our surprise when, upon returning, we discovered that they had survived by EATING THE SPONGE. They had even had babies. It's not natural, I tell you.
Janine opened the container and picked one up, looking at me expectantly.
What, we're starting the training now? Shit.
Tentatively, I held out my hand. She gently placed the insect in my palm. At first, I was ok. Then, I heard someone was talking: I was barely aware I had started to speak....
Get it off get it off get it offgetitoffgetitoffgetITOFFGETITOFFGETITOFFGETITOFF!!!!
Janine quickly removed the cockroach from my hand (I noticed that it had barbs or something that it used to cling to my skin. Great, something else to get used to). She dropped it back into the terrarium. Her shrug was apologetic, but her smile was definitely smug.
"I'll be back tomorrow," she promised. "In the mean time, you might want to at least try to touch them, if not pick them up."
And out she went.
She's enjoying this, I know it.