This morning I had just settled at my desk and turned on the computer when there was a sound at the door to my classroom. "Will you come to my room for a minute?" one of the teachers on my team asked. There was a note of anxiety in her voice that made me uneasy as I headed next door. "Do you smell anything?" she asked as I stepped into the hall.
I sure did. It was the unmistakable stench of death. We exchanged knowing grimaces-- there was a dead mouse somewhere in there. We walked around the room sniffing, and it wasn't long before we realized that the odor was strongest by the entry. She dropped to her knees and peered under a large rolling cabinet. "Oh God," she whined and stood up, unable to move. For whatever reason, my usually level-headed, no-nonsense, very competent colleague was totally undone by that rotten rodent this Monday morning. No matter-- I was not.
I asked someone to call maintenance while I opened the windows and borrowed a fan. We added her homeroom kids to mine for the morning, and I lent her the Zen air freshener that I keep at my desk for those random stinky moments that occur all too often in middle school. By first period the room was back in commission, no big deal.
"Wow," said the director of counseling who just so happened to witnessed the event. "What a great team leader!"
If only that was all it took.