Most of my "teacher" stories should never see the light of day. However, I can share this one.
Randy tapped my shoulder. "Mrs. Taylor, Shawn’s gone."
I glanced at the door. "Where did he go?"
"No," said Randy as he pointed to the floor.
Sure enough, Shawn was passed out in an ungainly sprawl.
Kneeling beside him, I stroked his cheek and, when he opened his eyes, I helped him sit up. In the days before classroom telephones, contact with the principal’s office was only face-to-face. So, when I had Shawn upright, we hesitantly started for the office.
"Just breathe," I counseled. "One step at a time."
"Sorry," he replied. "It’s the smell. Pigs are worse than frogs." Shawn referred to the fetal pigs we were dissecting.
"Uh huh. We’re halfway there." My arm across Shawn’s back, I supported him as we shuffled along. Suddenly, it seemed that he leaned on me a little too hard. "Shawn, buddy, keep walking."
But Shawn wasn’t walking. He was sliding toward the concrete. Quickly, as I glided behind him to ease him to the floor, I discovered that an 8th grade boy who had become dead weight was a lot heavier than I could handle. My knees buckled and, in seconds, I found myself flat on my back in the middle of the school hallway with a kid stretched out on top of me.
I’m well aware of what can happen to people who lose consciousness, so I began to pray. "Please, God, don’t let him pee."
At that moment, I heard someone behind me. "Help," I called. "Run to the office and get help. Run!" I stretched out to look over my shoulder and saw a student laboriously making his way—on crutches. My heart sank.
"Help!" he bellowed. "Ms. T’s on the floor!"
All along the corridor, doors sprang open. Assistance arrived, but any hope of avoiding embarrassment vanished. Poor Shawn moved away during the summer when his dad, who worked for NCR, was transferred. He got away, but I still had to live down the humiliation.