Espresso Shot: Our Most Embarrassing Teaching Moments

Teacher mornings are hectic. Wake up, brush teeth, frantically run to the dryer to find clean pants, throw on a top, do some grading that you fell behind on, and head out the door to change lives. That’s exactly how my morning went a couple of years ago... until my first period block showed up. I was lecturing about some super fascinating transcendentalism stuff when suddenly I looked down only to find one of my black, lacy THONGS in the middle of the row. Apparently, static electricity from the dryer was not my friend that day. It had been attached to my pant leg the entire morning/first half of the block until finally it fell off. Did my students see it? OF COURSE THEY DID. I quickly picked it up and sprinted to my desk. We all had a good laugh. Although teachers are superheroes, they are not immune to static electricity and occasional humiliation!

The 2016/2017 school year began like any other. It was not until ‘Meet the Teacher’ night that things would change. That evening, I greeted students and parents. I mingled with new colleagues and administration, as our family had recently relocated for a business opportunity. I was feeling pretty confident about the whole night. When the evening was over and after I got out of the vehicle after arriving home, I walked towards my front door and took a quick look down. And this my friends, is how the remainder of my school year went!!

I was tasked with teaching the sexual education class to a group of grade 9s early on in my career. Students were permitted to submit questions anonymously that they didn’t feel comfortable asking in class, and on Fridays I would answer the questions. Unfortunately, the teaching assistant in my class, who was about 20 years my senior, also felt it a good time for me to answer her sex-ed questions. She raised her hand and asked, “What is manscaping? My friends tell me that their husbands are manscaping now, and I don’t know what that means. Is it something my husband should do too?” I almost died. I told her I would explain it later, but now the students wanted to know what it meant too, so I answered it very quickly and moved to the next question in the box. Needless to say, I explained to her that Friday question period was for students only and that she could ask me her questions privately.

I’ve had a number of embarrassing moments in front of my class, but the day my boobs exploded would have to top the list. We get up to a year's maternity leave in my province but, with my third child, I decided to go back to work in September when he was only three months old. My husband & I were tag-teaming parenting duties, with me working in the mornings and him in the afternoons, so I figured I'd go back to work a little early. I was still nursing my son, but I gave him a feeding every day before I left and then when I got home for lunch. Everything was working splendidly until one day I was in front of my twelfth grade class, in the middle of a heated discussion, and I got that familiar tingly feeling. Knowing what was about to happen, I turned toward the door, hoping I could somehow escape before I exploded. However, I didn't get to take a single step before there were two lovely streams of breast milk flowing down my shirt. I saw looks of horror and sympathy, but the funniest faces were from those who had no idea what was actually going on. I calmly explained what was happening and that I was going to have to slip out for a few minutes. Thank goodness there was a neighboring teacher who could cover me – she watched my class AND gave me her cardigan.

My most embarrassing moment happened the first month of my first year teaching, and it was mortifying. To save time in the morning, I used to eat a granola bar for breakfast every morning once I got to school. On this particular day, I wore my khaki pants to school. I taught my first-period class, and throughout the class, I noticed that my students were a bit more chatty and giggly than usual. Then I taught my second-period class, and I remember my second-period class being especially distracted and chatty. Then finally, after I had taught all first period and second period, one girl from my second-period class stayed after class to tell me something. I could tell she was a bit embarrassed and hesitant to tell me, but she leaned in and quietly whispered in my ear, “you have something on your, your bum.” I turned around, mortified, and discovered that I had sat in a chocolate chip from my breakfast granola bar. I taught two entire class periods with a brown chocolate chip visibly stuck to my rear end.

It had been a hectic day and I was already a bit frazzled. Knocking my large teacher bag off my desk and watching it tumble to the floor seemed like a perfect end to my day. However, I was horrified when I realized that a few feminine hygiene products were mixed into the jumble on the floor... and they had rolled some distance along the floor. I don't think I've ever moved so fast! I launched myself and managed to grab a few and luckily a few of the girls in my class realized what had happened and sprang into action. I wanted the floor to open and up and swallow me whole! One of my students said to me on the way out "Don't worry Ms. Williams, I don't think the boys had any idea what any of it was."

I’m not a person who gets easily embarrassed, but I recognize that certain situations are just SO FUNNY to middle schoolers. I’ve accidentally paired two mismatching black flats like The Classroom Sparrow and I’ve sat on my fair share of chocolate (seriously... how does it keep happening??). A situation that legit caused my cheeks to redden, however, was in my first year of teaching when a student wrote “chode” on the board. I didn’t know what it was, but I could tell from my students’ reactions that it shouldn’t be on the chalkboard. I erased it and went to The Oracle of Google. I *very stupidly* did not disconnect my screen from the projector, and so all of the students learned the meaning of the word at the same time I did. *facepalm*

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