I was teaching Homer’s “The Odyssey” in my sophomore English class: the epic poem that can also be an epic fail because of all the weird sex stuff and because sophomores. But my team teacher and I were killing it, no pun intended, when something outside caught my attention. A lump half buried in the thawing snow. Was it? Could it be? Holy Dove chocolate, it was a dead dog!
To say that I might be a dog lover is like saying Justin Bieber might be the next E! Hollywood True Story: there ain’t no doubt about it. When I cast my eyes on the poor pup’s limp body lying at the base of a tree right outside my classroom window, my heart dropped and I panicked. Big time.
What if my students saw? The snow was melting; soon the morbid scene would be uncovered for everyone. And if there was one more distraction during the poem, Odysseus would really never get home.
So I pulled my team teacher aside and discreetly pointed out the decaying doggy. We made “teacher eyes” at one another and mentally planned our next move.
You know “teacher eyes:” they’re similar to “parent eyes” except that instead of conveying “I am going to raise holy hell if you don’t cut that shit out,” to your children, they say, “Don’t incite a riot” about your students.
My partner in classroom crime held the students’ attention by comparing the slutty Sirens in the poem to the Kardashians or something, and I made a quiet phone call to my principal.
Now, in hindsight, a call to the head honcho was maybe not so necessary. Coulda called the maintenance department, maybe even the secretary. But, nope. Being the classy professional that I am, I made this call:
Principal: “What’s up, Steph?”
Me, breathy and creepy: “Umm, hi. There is a dead dog–I repeat, a dead dog–right outside of my classroom window. I’m REALLY freaking out.”
Principal: “Where exactly is the dog?”
Me: “In the woods, just beyond my farthest window.”
Best Principal EVER: “I’m on it.”
I hung up the phone and made the “it’s being handled” teacher eyes at my faithful collaborator. We continued teaching and the students were none the wiser.
Our maintenance man, whom I loved dearly but was admittedly not the sharpest tool in the shed, marched past our window with a garbage bag and a stick. Of course the students saw him and any chance that we had at holding their attention was obliterated.
“Nothing to see out there–let’s chat about how Odysseus cheated on his wife with some witch!”
No dice. The students watched as our maintenance man slowly approached the pile o’ death. To my horror, he prodded the lifeless heap of fur with the stick. He walked around, poking at all different angles. He then did something that made me cringe and cover my mouth so no one would hear my gasp: he retrieved the dead dog and held it up for everyone to see! There he was: garbage bag, prodding stick, and a soggy, matted pile of…dead leaves.
Turns out the dog wasn’t so much a dog but a messy mound of foliage leftover from the fall. Whatever. Minor detail.
A few minutes later, my classroom phone rang. It was my principal:
Principal: “How’s that dead dog situation?”
Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now. I’m teaching the youth of America on the taxpayers’ dime.”
Principal: “You know I’m telling everyone about this, right?”
Me: “I figured as much.”
When I came back from lunch that day, I found this picture (minus my title and blog name, of course) on my desk:
My colleagues (and principals) had a friggin’ field day with the whole “there’s a dead dog outside my window” thing. They kidnapped my stuffed animal and held him hostage because they thought they were funny. Hardy har har, a-holes.
Okay, I admit it: I maybe jumped the gun. Perhaps my imagination ran wild. My eyes possibly played tricks on me.
At least I didn’t say the C-word during one of our school-wide assemblies. Except that I did, so there’s that.