The event that would soon make my name as a substitute teacher synonymous with “Clean Up in Mrs. G’s Room” was percolating, just waiting to happen. I was subbing for a fabulous Kindergarten teacher. I knew that I would have a great day when it began in her room. It was guaranteed success.
The children and I had been enjoying a morning of cutting, pasting, singing, and snacks. Then, Diego stood up, looking a little green around the gills, and whispered, “I feel wobbly inside.” I made a mad dash for a garbage can to catch the “wobbly”, but he couldn’t wait. He showered the floor with puke. I froze. And in that instant, the entire classroom ran to his side to see why he was crying and to inspect the mess he had made. Before I could shoo the children back to their seats, the moment of ignominy occurred. First, Darcy squealed, “Ewww!! I hate the smell of puke! It makes me –” . Yes, Darcy, we now know what it makes you do. Darcy’s puke quickly co-mingled with that of Diego. I was trying to use the intercom to call for a janitor, but two more little inspectors erphed into what was morphing from a small pool to a large pond of puke.
There was only one thing to do, and I did not care that it wasn’t our turn because I was willing to face the consequences. We needed to hit the playground asap, before anyone else had the chance to be sick. Mr. Bradford, the janitor, showed up with his mop and bucket, expecting to have a small mess to clean up. When he saw the disaster that I was leaving him to face, the look he gave me could have vaporized me, had I not rushed out the door, shouting “Thank you!!” over my shoulder. He never liked me after that day.