Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: The Germ-X Fiasco

It was my very first time calling out for a sub, and I was extremely nervous. I wasn't sure exactly how thorough the lesson plans needed to be, I didn't know how my students would react to a sub, and a big part of me felt guilty for calling in sick. Nonetheless, I scheduled a sub to take over my classroom for the day, telling myself that my feelings of anxiety were ridiculous, and I just needed to break my perfect attendance virginity this one time so I could relax for the rest of the year and be over it.

The whole day I was out, I fretted about my classroom. I hoped that the sub understood my lesson plans, and wasn't feeling too overwhelmed by my rowdy kids. I continued to remind myself that everything was fine, and to quit being such a control freak.

When I came into work the next day, I expected to find a messy, unorganized classroom. I expected to find long notes from the sub with lists of students' names who had misbehaved. What I didn't expect to find were eight return call-slips on my desk; evidence that eight of my students, all from the same period, had been sent to the vice-principal's office. I mean, eight?! All I could think was, What the hell happened in my classroom yesterday that resulted in eight students being sent to the principal's office?When I went to go check my staff mailbox, there was a note from the vice-principal saying, "Mrs. P, see me right away about what happened in your room yesterday."

Again, what the hell?

I went into the vp's office, where I finally got the whole story. My classroom contains a sink, and on the sink was a bottle of Germ-X Hand Sanitizer. One of my insane little cherubs decided to add a bunch of Germ-X into a bottle of Powerade, and proceeded to trick three other students into drinking it. Soon after, these three students got stomach aches because...well, hello, they were poisoned. Once at the nurse's office, it didn't take long for administration to piece together what had happened, and other students were called out of the classroom one by one to testify as to what they saw.

Administration wound up banning hand sanitizer from our classrooms for the next two years. It wasn't until the Swine Flu made an appearance that we were encouraged to keep hand sanitizer in our classrooms again. And needless to say, I became a "born again" perfect attendance took many, many months before I was again willing to brave a sub.


  1. Haha! That's what you get for ABANDONING your students--what were you thinking? LOL

  2. What a hilarious and disturbing story. God love our students...they never cease to surprise. I'm certain you have shared this story with me before, but being reminded of it was a gigglefest. How frightening for you, as a new teacher already anxious about leaving your charges in someone else's hands, to return this fiasco. However, whatever fears and anxiety you experienced, remember one thing: this was nothing compared to what that poor sub had to go through! I often marvel at how undervalued we are, but I truly feel gratitude for substitutes of middle schoolers. What would we do without them?

  3. So true Denise! I remember being a sub for an entire FOUR days--LOL--and that was definitely enough for me! You just feel like an imposter in someone else's classroom. And NOT knowing the students' names is really tough on classroom management ("Hey you, stop doing that").

    I'm really enjoying your thoughtful comments; I just read your one from today on my Bubbles site, and with all of the thoughts you have to share, I am beginning to think you would have plenty to say on a blog. ;-)

    I hope you have a great trip on Tuesday and get lots of laundry done tomorrow. :)


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