Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Boxed In.

Colleagues have each others' backs -- at least in my department.  Case in point, the events of Easter Monday, 2014...

It was an unusual day from the get go.  The district had originally scheduled staff and students to be off, but the number of snowdays that year took that plan right off the calendar.  Unfortunately for us, the calendar had been loaded into the security system, and none of the teacher badges worked in the building that day, forcing those of us who park in the back parking lot to hoof it around the building to the front door to get in.   Once in the building, it wasn't too inconvenient, except when trying to access the office, as it is also a "badge-swipe" entry zone.

After lunch, I was sitting in my classroom working alone, as it was my prep period.  The wing was empty and quiet, as the English classes were all in the cafeteria.  John was across the hall in his classroom, eating lunch at his desk.  He wandered into my room with a quizzical look on his face, and asked me if I would step into his classroom.

An odd request, but okay...

"I'm pretty sure there's something alive in that backpack," he said, pointing to a student satchel on the floor.  As if on cue, a loud scratching noise was emitted.  Clearly something with toenails scratching against the ripstop nylon.  

Honestly, I thought I was being punked.  The scratching continued.  John looked at me, and indicated that he wanted to open it to see what it was, but wanted a witness -- as the backpack belonged to a student.  All I could imagine at that point was that there was a ferret, or some other rodent, in there, and envisioned it popping its head out and scurrying off down the hallway.

There we were.  Two professionals, staring at a backpack, problem-solving.  Curiosity was killing us almost as much as the fear of what would be discovered.

Just down the hallway was the back door to the parking lot.  It's basically a wide entryway  with two sets of doors to the outside, with a swipe point in between, forming a sort of vestibule between the doors.  This seemed like the perfect small area to contain the creature demanding our attention.  We scouted, and realized that the doorways to the open hallway were about 2 inches off the ground, and concluded that we needed either a hockey goalie stick or another person, to assure that the critter wouldn't get into the school.  Enter, Brian.  The only other living person within the two intersecting hallways.  We lured him into our plan, and entered the enclosure.

John took the backpack to the far corner, close to the outside door, and opened the backpack, as Brian and I braced ourselves to keep the runner from sliding under the doors.


Clearly, there was no longer a concern about an eminent escape.  We turned to open the doors, only to discover that we were locked in the glass cage between the doors.  Without another human being nearby.  

It was an odd cell phone call that was made, asking for our freedom.  Before the posse of administrators made it to the wing to investigate, a student on the way to the bathroom wandered by, and set us free.

I'm not sure, to this day, why we didn't consider EXITING the building and walking around to the front -- perhaps there was snow on the ground, or maybe it was raining.  In any case, we've gotten more than a few laughs over this unique bonding experience.

Oh, and the reason it was in there in the first place?  The kid had found the turtle, and wanted to sneak it into John's desk, to see how he would react.  He hadn't been able to do that before lunch, and spent lunchtime wondering whether he'd have an opportunity after lunch.  As it turned out, no.  There was no opportunity.  Instead, the principal drove him back to the stream where he had found the turtle.

And we all lived hilariously ever after.  Even the turtle.

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