Teachers in my school system could never predict when their room was scheduled to be painted. Do you think they would schedule it during the summer? Of course they wouldn't! They could unwittingly inflict more misery on some poor hapless teacher in the middle of the school year or a holiday break.

One year my classroom was painted while we were out for Spring break. I had to spend an entire week-end frantically putting everything back on the walls once they finished  painting which shortened my so called time off.

The day we got back to school was a day I will never forget. My assistant had taken the children to lunch and I was not on duty so I decided to pop some popcorn in the microwave in my classroom. Attempting to 
multi-task, I stuck it in the microwave and made a quick trip to the kid's restroom located in my room. I came out to a room full of smoke! My microwave had chosen this particular day to malfunction. All I could think of was that I might set the fire alarm off and that was something I did NOT want to do. I  pulled the smoldering bag of popcorn out of the microwave, and dropped it in the sink. After I poured water over it, I ran over to a window and tried to open it. The new paint had sealed it shut and it probably would have taken a crowbar to pry it open. Frantically, I tried the other windows. None would open.

My classroom had an outside door so I tried fanning the smoke out the door. I can't say that was one of my brightest moves since it hardly made a dent in the smoke that had filled the room. Next, I got the bright idea to grab a pair of scissors and a kindergarten chair. I ran outside to see if I could pry the windows open on the outside. Not known for my sense of balance, I toppled off the chair. I had on open backed shoes and when my foot slid sideways, my heel landed on a broken beer bottle hidden in leaves as I fell. 

Not only did I have a classroom full of smoke, but now I had a hole in my heel. I hobbled back into the classroom just as my assistant had walked the children back to class. Evidently her sense of smell was off that day or she was so frazzled from lunch duty that she dropped them off and headed for the teacher's lounge without a backward glance. 

As they entered the classroom, one child looked at me hopping to a chair  with a trail of blood behind me and screamed " Mrs. B is dying!" Another yelled "Ew! It stinks in here!" As the children continued to moan about the awful smell, I asked a child to go and get some paper towels for me. Instead of getting new ones, he grabbed some out of the trash. By this time the entire class had encircled me and seemed fascinated by the red stuff oozing from my foot. I couldn't believe the mess I had gotten into. Blood was pooling on the floor, my foot hurt something awful, and I had twenty-six little people moaning about the smell of smoke. What could be worse? How about the fire alarm going off right about then? 

I could imagine teachers started pouring out of their classes with their charges grumbling and complaining about the timing of an unannounced fire drill. I sent a child to find the nurse and finally convinced the child it was okay to ignore the fire alarm. Once the nurse came, she took one look at my foot and declared that I was going to need stitches and a tetanus shot.  She put a temporary bandage on my foot and told me that I had to go right then. I told her I could wait until the end of the day.

As I was leaving that afternoon, I overheard a number of teachers saying that they would love to find out who the culprit was that pulled the fire alarm. I didn't say a word as I exited the building.

By the way, it took at least a week for me to get the smell of burned popcorn out of my classroom and I ended up with fifteen stitches! I never eat popcorn for lunch either.


  1. Dan // February 11, 2010 at 1:12 AM  

    OMG! Remind me to read this story when I think I'm having a bad day. I sometimes have anxiety dreams similar to your story, and I am always so glad to wake up from them. If I were in your situation, I think I would have just shut my eyes and waited to wake up. LOL

    I hope your foot healed okay. I stepped on a nail one time, and it went through my foot, just behind the big toe. I've never experienced so much pain in my life. I can imagine your pain was similar.


  2. Angelia Sims // February 11, 2010 at 1:18 AM  

    Holy Smokes! (I mean literally!)

    What a story! I am always so embarrassed about burnt popcorn the smell is AWFUL!

    My daughter burnt some at my old work. I used to clean it on the weekends. The smell was there on Monday and they ended up throwing the microwave out in the garage. I had to fess up that we did it. :-(

    Your poor foot! That's a lot of stitches.

  3. halpey1 // February 11, 2010 at 3:53 PM  

    Hey, love your blog. My only issue is your use of the feminine pronouns 'she' or 'her' when talking about ALL kindergarten teachers. Just kidding! There ARE a few of us menfolk out there too though. :) Keep up the awesome work.

  4. Lita C. Malicdem // February 11, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

    And what happened after? Did you admit you were the unwilling culprit? You didn't do it with intention to disrupt? Much more never dreamed of ending up with those stitches?

    Oh my, you poor lady. I was once a grade school teacher and I know the ups and downs out there in the classrooms. In our effort to make most of our time, we simply want to put our activities one on top of the other, until we find that it couldn't be better. Hope you are now healed with that unhappy foot.

  5. VKT // February 11, 2010 at 5:19 PM  


    That happened about ten years ago so it has definitely healed!

  6. beth chapman // February 11, 2010 at 8:48 PM  

    First, thanks for leaving a comment on my post and yes, I do miss parts or aspects of the south. I'm glad you enjoyed the post but trust me, I am still crying from reading yours. This is great. I've forwarded your link to others so I can share the laughter and the way you captured the movement of the moment. Well done! Thanks you so much.

  7. Del // February 12, 2010 at 9:07 PM  

    Oh the smell of burnt popcorn.

    Great story.

    Did anyone ever find out the fire alarm went off because of the popcorn?

  8. VKT // February 12, 2010 at 10:21 PM  

    Yes and no. They found out it was burnt popcorn but they did not know who did it....and I didn't enlighten them.

  9. ASeaRogue // February 13, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

    I chuckled all the way through.Very fun

  10. VKT // February 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM  

    Its funny now ASea....then....well, anyway.