Yesterday I had my first vomiting incident of the year! I didn’t realize when I signed up for Teaching Fellows that this would be at least a yearly occurrence, but I’ve sure accepted that fact now. There are few experiences that can rival the mix of sympathy and horror when a student interrupts a conference or raises their hand on the rug. With a contorted look on their face and a telltale tone, they say, “I don’t feel so good.” I wonder why it’s always those exact words …
And yet, while classroom vomit stories are pretty much equally horrifying, I was able to look at this one as a small, but gratifying symbol of progress. This year I managed to get the student to the nurse as soon as he told me he wasn’t feeling well. When he came back because the nurse couldn’t get his mom on the phone, I sat him down with a plastic bag. By the time things erupted, the damage was minimal.
Contrast this with my first year of teaching. I was only a few weeks into it when one of my problem kids let loose all over his table. The classroom was sweltering, and the mess didn’t get cleaned up until after the kids went home. Back then, I was still proud I managed to teach (or what I considered teaching) despite the vomit. I think I would’ve been shocked to see how differently I handled it today (no vomit on the desks!). It’s amazing all the random things you learn to handle differently with just a little extra experience.
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