It was my first year as a teacher. As most beginning educators (or teachers in general in any year they’ve taught), I had a very limited budget and looked for ways in which to save money. Because of this, many of my clothes were purchased at the local thrift industry store. I’m all about saving a few dollars here and there, and purchasing an entire ensemble for school for fewer than ten dollars was always a screaming deal.
One particular day found me purchasing a pair of pants that were awesome. They were just my size, and though a little worn in the seams, were a great deal for only four dollars. After all there were no stains, the legcuffs weren’t frayed at all, and the pockets didn’t have holes in them. I made my purchase and left the store. Over the next few weeks I wore my new acquisition, and I was relishing in the fact that I’d purchased them for such a great price.
I’m all about screaming deals.
I quickly stood and talked even faster so that my students wouldn’t be aware of what had just happened (luckily, they had all been in front of me and none behind). I put my hands behind my back and could feel the rip—completely up the seam all along the backside.
My face reddened slightly as I wondered just how I could get out of this. I was out on the field with two dozen students left to my charge; there was no ready-made solution—I’d have to make it back to the building, unnoticed, and then go home to change.
Now the challenge was finding the way to get there without my rip—a gaping one at that—being observed.
I got the game going as quickly as I could, I put two responsible students in charge and then began backing the entire distance to the school building; I smiled, offered up encouragement, and pretended that everything was okay to the crowd of boys and girls who were playing. Occasionally I had to turn to one side or the other when another group’s student was in close proximity so as not to give them a show. In reality, I must have looked like a dancer twirling this direction and that before covering the distance to the building.
I had never noticed what a long walk it was from the field before…
I reached the building, walking sideways and making sure my backside was to the wall as I passed both teachers and students in the hallway. I breathed out a sign of relief as I reached my classroom sanctuary and began to look for something to cover the tear…there was nothing.
I finally opted for the only thing I could readily find: a girl’s jacket that had been hanging on one of the classroom racks for as long as I could remember. I tied it about my waist and headed to the hallway. In reality, it was pretty hot out and with a girl’s jacket I looked completely ridiculous, raising more than one pair of eyebrows as I walked down the hall.
Undaunted, I made my way to the program coordinator’s office and told her that an emergency had arisen and I’d need to go home.
She asked what was up.
I told her it was personal.
She asked why I had a girl’s jacket tied around my waist.
I had no choice but to explain what had happened.
My boss’ face showed concern. She told me that I was more than welcome to go home to change. She nodded appreciatively and didn’t say anything as I backed toward the door. Then her face split into a huge smile as she broke into uncontrollable laughter.
I guess it’s a good thing that I had a sense of humor, because instead of being even more embarrassed I laughed, too.
Since the horrendous day of the I-got-a-huge-rip-right-in-the-seat-of-the-you-know-where I decided to limit my purchases at said thrift store. After all, some deals just aren’t worth the possible costs of embarrassment in days of future passed.
However, the story I got in the end was totally worth it.
Let’s hear it for screaming deals.