No Really, I did…

As I’ve returned to the classroom these past few weeks (though in a very different atmosphere), I can’t help but reflect on my years of teaching prior to becoming a stay at home mom.  I was blessed to teach for 3 years at a small, Christian school.  I learned a lot and grew from the experience.  I honestly think it shaped the way I parent today.

That being said, I can’t help but reflect on the single. worst. teaching mistake of my life.  I share it with you so that on those days when you do something truly stupid, you can comfort yourself with the fact that “at least it wasn’t as bad as what Crystal did…”


Seriously, brace yourself b/c it just doesn’t get worse than this.

It was my first year of teaching and I was very excited to have my kids read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Being fresh out of college, and brimming with ideas, I was eager to involve the parents and children in hands on activities.  I sent home a letter at the beginning of the book asking the parents if they would be willing to come and volunteer with some real world experiences for the children.  We baked bread, we had a “Little House luncheon,” and we did some crafts from the time period.  I was so excited to let the kids engage in the activities they were reading about and to learn more about the time period.  Naturally, when I had a father volunteer to come in, I was elated.

Since he taught at a nearby school, he was able to come at the end of the day to present to the class.  I was so excited.  I remember him walking in the room and showing the kids what a muzzle loader looked like.  “This is great,”  I thought to myself.  Now they will truly know and understand what Pa Ingalls used to hunt in the book.  As he talked about hunting, and showed the kids the bullets, and then the rifle, suddenly, it hit me.

Like a ton of bricks.

What was  I thinking?

I let a parent come into my classroom with a weapon and I didn’t notify the administration.

As he showed the kids how he looked through the scope (please note the weapon was not loaded), I felt sick to my stomach.

Honestly, it wasn’t until I saw him holding the rifle, like a gun, that I realized the enormity of my error.

If I had been asked on a test for educational theory or practice, or any one of my education classes, “If a parent is coming to your classroom with a weapon do you think you should
a) seek permission first from your school administration

b) notify the parents first

c) say, “hey come on in and why don’t you go ahead and bring some ammunition too”

d) What?  Invite a parent to bring a weapon to your school?  Are you crazy?

I am confident, I would not have circled C.

And yet, there I sat that spring day with a class full of 8 and 9 year olds while a father showed them his gun and ammunition.

That afternoon with great angst and fear, I walked down to my principals office to tell him of my great ignorance and apologize for my error.  I was so nervous.  I vividly recall knocking on his door and then begging him for forgiveness as I confessed my idiocy.

He was so gracious.  He forgave me and then I recall him saying, “Crystal, in the future if you plan to bring a loaded weapon or any weapon for that matter, to school, I would appreciate knowing about it in the future.”    I can only imagine the conversation he had with his wife that night about the crazy, young teacher in the third grade.   I am so grateful, he let me stay and teach for 2 more years.


  1. that is awesome. but more emphasis on the "awe" part. you are hilarious. i can picture you with that pit in your stomach that comes whenever you have to walk that long hallway to the principal's office. did you feel 10 again? you poor thing.

    but really, the question is. how did i not know of this story sooner? family is supposed to be privy to this sort of information!

  2. Oh, I'm sure you felt terrible, but what a great story to tell of your teaching days! I can only imagine how nervous you must have been going in to tell the principal.

  3. That made me laugh so much... wow. I'm glad you told him I might not have had the guts to own up.

  4. I can't imagine how you must have felt walking down to the principal's office. Oh my goodness.

    But, these kinds of stories make for the best laughs and gasps later on. SO glad we can laugh about these things now, huh? It's a great story!

  5. You must be glad that you don't have a principal's office at home :-) I am not sure who learned the most from that lesson!! LOL

  6. I really thought you were going to say he taught the class how to LOAD a gun.

    Hilarious story!

  7. love it! that story is always funny :) i love the way you wrote it up. honestly, i didn't realize how serious it was until i saw it in print :) but, at least that funny old guy was harmless! oh, the good old days :)

  8. Oh my! Great story...classic, really. I love your exuberance for the whole learning/teaching process, though. I'm sure your principal did too as you obviously continued to teach there.

    Did you have any additional times that you needed to get approval for firearms/weapons in the classroom?


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