Monday morning, at about 8:10 a.m., I nearly fainted in front of my class. I had just distributed answer documents for the all-important state tests we take every year, when I felt overwhelmed by nausea. I took a seat at my desk and enlisted volunteers to finish passing out test materials, fearing “passing out” was about to take on a far more literal meaning in my life. The test must go on, you see. Nothing in education is more important than these damn tests. The principals practically have aneurysms during the test administration and then develop ulcers awaiting the results.
Sitting at my desk, I started to see little black flies swarming the classroom, but I knew they were just on my eyes. Then the pins and needles started all over my body. You know how you feel when you have food poisoning or some other really bad gastrointestinal distress and you’re lying on the bathroom floor moaning and praying not to die (or perhaps begging to die)? For a few moments, that feeling washed over me. Twenty-five teenagers stared at me. I asked a student to go to the phone and call someone. T0 tell the person on the line I was sick. That I was fainting. I told her the extension. Through my fainty haze, I directed a student to make an emergency call. To the copy room.
No one came. I looked at the floor. Figured, I should lie down. Didn’t think I’d make it from the chair to the floor without losing consciousness. I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but I do know that I felt a soothing hand on my back and cold water on my lips. Someone in the class had the sense to get the teacher next door, and she ran right over. I started to feel better almost right away. Maybe it was the comfort of being taken care of. Possibly, whatever happened in my body had run its course. Probably both. Ten minutes later, or so, a substitute appeared in my room to take over the testing.
Because this was STATE TESTING WEEK, and fainting pregnant ladies in their 8th months aside, the testing MUST proceed without a hitch. When our scores come back and it turns out that our students aren’t as proficient in science as they should be, it could be lousy teaching, it could be the fact that 90% of our students speak a language other than English at home, it could be that the students bubble abcdeabcde until they’re done and then go to sleep. But it’s also possible that they will have done poorly on their tests because their 8 months pregnant teacher fainted at her desk and distracted them.
They love that expression. Thanks, “Clueless.”
I’m fine. I had a low blood pressure episode. I drank some Gatorade, put my feet up for the rest of the day, and was good as gold for the rest of the week. I distributed answer sheets, double-checked version numbers, read scripted directions and kept them quiet like a champ.
And only about half of my students were disappointed that I survived.