I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

29 October 2006

Vermin: A Word That Sounds Best in a Creepy Voice

28% of California schools are reported to have a vermin problem. In poor urban schools, I'm confident that we can establish 100% are infested with less than charming rodents, insects, and mold species.

My old school was ridden with cockroaches. Few days went by when a teacher could not be seeing bashing one with a broom. The District's maintenance guy, a strange character who more than once walked into my room while smoking a cigarette, would leave glue traps. These weren't really strong enough for our roaches. Every so often, we'd hear a slight thumping noise emanating from a partially-closed cabinet. A roach, half-glued down and mad as hell, would be trying to escape. Alas, escape was impossible. So the trap would move, slowly but surely, until the roach backed itself into a wall and had to start over.  Sisyphus Roach Follies, if you will.

When they started a new housing construction across the street, all the mice who'd inhabited the field moved in, too. These guys were cute, but shady and mean. Moreover, they instigated a turf war with the roof rats, who were already well-established.

Worst of all were the earwigs. These suckers would come out of nowhere and pinch. I have been told that these pinches do not hurt.  They do.  Worse than rubbing one's hot-cheeto rich fingers against one's eyes.

Still, none of these vermin can send you to the hospital.

In my second year, I taught in an old-world kindergarten classroom with two old-world kindergarten toilets in the back. One of my darlings started yelling from the bathroom door, so I went to see what the problem was.

"The spider won't let me open the door," she yelped.


I asked my co-teacher for reinforcement and headed to the bathroom, armed with Contraband Windex (we were not allowed to have these in the classroom as a safety issue.  On the other hand, our classroom only got cleaned once a week, and germs are also unsafe) and a paper cup.  While my co-teacher eyed the lock, I lifted my student over the side of the stall.  When the child was out of spider range, I gave the door a healthy whack.

The biggest black widow I had ever seen immediately came crawling out of the lock mechanism, ready to bite. (They're aggressive.)  Our gasping shock was not that impressive, I suppose, so she took herself back to her dark lair to await the next five year old's succulent finger.

Kindergarten bathroom stalls have low walls, so I vaulted over the side.  I whacked the door, my co-teacher stunned the spider with Windex and I caught it in our cup.

Then we had an impromptu science lesson.

At recess, I brought my prize to the secretary. When the Superintendent arrived for a meeting with the Principal, the secretary met him at his car bearing the cup.  He was not really that excited to see our specimen, so she followed him across the campus until he took a look.

Focusing on the important issues is key for District officials, so of course his first concern was why, exactly, we had Windex in our classroom.