Today I had a serious case of Open Mouth Insert Foot.
At this point in time I have one student on crutches, another student undergoing foot sugary, and just yesterday, one of our 6th graders was hit by a car. Our poor kids are falling a part. This is also the time of year when we “exchange” students. At the beginning of every term, we have several students who up and leave, and several students who show up at our door from who knows where. Sometimes we are notified when new students will be showing up to our classrooms, but more often than not, they just show up in our doorway. I have acquired of each this week.
This morning, about 5 minutes into block 1, my door starts to open, and I see a staff member who usually shows up if a student is going to be out for a long period of time and needs work, or if a student has suddenly had a change in circumstances and needs some sort of accommodation. The door starts to open, I see the staff member and I see the bottom of a crutch and all I can think is, “Who’s hurt now?” As the door opens, I say, “Oh, honey, you are all broken.” This is my staple remark to students who have induced some sort of injury since I last saw them, and is then followed by their story of what happened.
Today, as I’m saying, “Oh, honey, you are all broken,” the student steps from behind the staff member and I suddenly realize, this is one of my students who has sustained an injury. This is a new student. A new student who happens to need two support crutches to walk.
At this point several things run through my mind: oh crap, my students don’t really seem to be reacting so I’m pretty sure they didn’t hear me, oh crap, new student is all smiles so there is a good chance she didn’t hear me, oh crap…
As I approach the new student to introduce myself, I overhear one of my students saying, “I can’t believe Miss Lewis said that. That was so mean.” I quickly shoot him daggers before he can quote me to the rest of the class who clearly have no idea what he’s talking about.
I make my very awkward introduction, while trying to read my new student and the woman who brought her in. Again, I over hear the same student make a comment about how awful what I said was, but at this point, for everyone’s sake, I’ve made the decision to assume she did not hear me.
Luckily, the students were taking a unit pretest today, so I had a minute to email the staff member. This was my message:
Serious faux pas today. Please tell me you did not hear the comment I made when you brought M——– in today.
I just got a new student yesterday, who looks a lot like M———-, and that’s who I thought you were delivering this morning. I also have two students on crutches, and when you opened the door, I saw the crutch and thought another student had been injured. I made the comment, “You are all broken” thinking she had broken her leg. I am so embarrassed and I hope to God she did not hear me. If you heard it, I’m guessing she did too. Good lord, I am a horrible person. 😦
Luckily, the two of them were talking to each other when they opened the door and didn’t hear a word I said. Sadly, I’m pretty sure the student who did hear me, thinks I am a horrible human being.