That one year during parent teacher conferences parents had no idea what the usually responsible teacher had hidden by a tote bag on the floor behind her desk.
Every time parent teacher conferences come around, teachers make sure kids clean and organize their desks. Lots of times parents want to check out their child's desk, and many, many times those parents are surprised/shocked/excited at how clean and neat the desk is. (For most kids, the desk goes back to pig-pen status within a couple days.)
Teachers also like for their classrooms to be nice and clean. Desks straightened, countertops wiped down, chairs neatly arranged around the tables. But I had a fish problem.
It just so happened this particular year my daughter came home from spending time with grandma with a fish. A goldfish kind of fish.
I've been traumatized by goldfish before. When I was a kid growing up my brother and I each had a goldfish. And I cleaned the tank. But cleaning the tank required getting a Cool Whip container for the fishies to swim in while the tank was being emptied. I wasn't exactly an expert fish wrangler. I could catch them in the little net, but to keep my hand covering the net while I carefully transferred them to the container? Not so much. More than once the little slimy creatures tried to make a run (or should I say leap?) for it. Leaped themselves onto the counter. Flopping all around. I had enough problems worrying about them touching my hands while they were in the net, so you can imagine the difficulty I had in grabbing them as they writhed around the counter. Downright frightening! Those fish didn't make it all too long.
So when my daughter came home with that fish, the fish tank cleaning memories came back.
We gave it a good go with that little fish. We cleaned the tank and we fed it regularly. But we had water problems. We lived in the country on a well with bad water. We eventually bought water at the store for fishy. Little daughter didn't take much responsibility with the fish, so I decided to take it to school where it could live in city water and be our class pet.
The students were more than excited to clean the tank and feed it and watch it swim around, right there on the counter next to the drinking fountain.
The town's water (and the school's old pipes) wound up being not so great for fishy and he started floundering in March of that year. He wasn't swimming as much, and although I brought in bottled gallons of water again, it was appearing to be a bit late for recovery.
But I didn't expect that just a few minutes before parent teacher conferences were to start, Mr. Fishy would be barely moving in his bowl. Having a lethargic, appearing-to-be-dying fish on the counter for all to see would not be appropriate for parent teacher conferences. So I did probably what seemed appropriate at the time.
Cover the bowl with a tote bag and hide him on the floor behind my desk. He stayed there all night.
At the end of conferences, the custodian took pity on me and took a walk to the boys' bathroom with our pal. There will never be anymore goldfish in my lifetime again.
Except for these. Don't forget to check out the video that goes along with them.