Real Life Teacher Stories – The Day the Roaches Came

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Real Life Teacher Stories - The Day the Roaches Came

There comes a time in your life as a teacher when you are presented something SO CRAZY in your classroom you’re just not quite sure what to even think and instinct just comes out. And as a first year teacher you think you’re prepared for anything. Sometimes, anytime really, sometimes kids say (or do!) the darndest things. That’s what happened to my husband his first year teaching. His very first school, a Title 1 school in central Florida which was over 90% ESOL (English as a second language) and very transient. The area is predominately citrus growers and workers – when the crops and work are no longer needed the workers move to a new area with their families so that they can continue to work and the kids get uprooted and go with them. In the classroom the language barrier can be a big issue and this day was no different.

Let’s begin….

This story all started on a Tuesday when one of my 3rd grade students who we’ll call Emilia came to me. She was a quiet little girl and one of those kids who just broke your heart. Anytime she was sick, and I mean really sick, she would beg me to let her sleep in the back of my classroom instead of go to the nurse because she knew if she went home no one would take care of her. At least at school we could bring her a cup of water if she needed and look after her. She was the sweetest little thing.

She came up to me and said, “Mr. R., there’s a roach in my backpack and I don’t know what to do.” Not really wanting to make a big disturbance in the classroom I told her to quietly open her backpack, let the roach come out and then stomp on it when it went on the floor and I would clean it up. So I watched her calmly walk over to her backpack and unzip it. I couldn’t believe my eyes in HORROR when I began to see ROACH AFTER ROACH running out of her backpack! They just KEPT COMING! There must have been at least 20 or 30 of them scurrying around my classroom! The floor was just crawling in a horrifying way that I’ll never forget.


…..yelled one of the boys in my class. “LA CUCARACHA!!!! LA CUCARACHA!!!” All of the little boys began running around the room screaming at the top of their lungs – “LA CUCARACHA!!!” After being momentarily frozen in place from this invading army of roaches and a plethora of shrieks in the classroom I finally gathered my wits and yelled “STOMP ON THEM!“. My classroom instantly turned from a quiet place of learning to a circus of children giggling and shrieking and stomping around the room chasing roaches across the floor. The poor classroom next to us must have wondered what in the world was going on but that was the last thought on my mind at the time! We finally managed to take care of all of the roaches but the kids were in fits of giggles the rest of the day. When I went home later and told my story to my wife at first she opened her eyes wide in horror and then broke out in fits of laughter. To this day it is by far the craziest thing that happened in my first year of teaching. (Don’t worry, we made sure that poor little Emilia didn’t keep using that backpack, wiped down what was inside with some antibacterial wipes and made sure her mom knew what happened that day.)

TELL ME! What would you have done?! Do you have any wild stories that have happened in your classroom? Please do e-mail them to [email protected] if you would like your story to be potentially featured on our site in our new series “Real Life Teacher Stories”!


Real Life Teacher Stories – Unfiltered…….

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  1. Teaching 1st grade I was a little naive about how to speak to my little munchkinS. After a Christmas party, I asked my class to pick up everything from their desks and floor. Well, Joseph, a 120 lb. voracious eater began screaming after a few minutes at this task. Running over, Joseph was crying with what looked like chocolate in his mouth. It wasn’t. Another boy, a behavior disordered student, had pooped on himself and reached in and threw it on the floor. Joseph, being Joseph, thought it was a brownie and ate it. Gag.

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