Lesson Learned As A Teacher: Always Check for Porn

I spent one year teaching English to middle school kids before I left to become a SAHM. That probably goes down as one of the shortest teaching careers on record, but despite that, I learned something that is pretty invaluable to all teacher and aspiring teachers everywhere: always check for porn.

Yes, porn.

I don’t care what grade you teach, but always check anything you bring into the classroom (or anything you give your own kids) to make sure it hasn’t been, ah, contaminated.

Lesson #1

My porn education started when I purchased a large box of books at a yard sale to build my class library. There were a lot of titles that I knew would appeal to the kids in the 11-14 age range, as well as some classics. Sounds innocent enough, right?

Wrong. As I was rapidly putting the books on the shelves, a piece of folded paper fell out of Le Morte d’Arthur. I didn’t think anything of it at first and picked it up to throw in the trash after I finished shelving the books.

Screenshot 2015-01-15 at 6.02.15 PM

King Arthur weeps.

On the way to the trash can, I unfolded the piece of paper, curious. Instead of finding a grocery list or someone’s random thought, it was porn. Fucking porn. In Le Morte d’Arthur, one of my favorites. I’ll spare you the details, but two nude women were doing something to each other that was not appropriate for the eyes of middle school students.

I went through the rest of the books that I had shelved and sure enough, a couple more pieces from someone’s home printer that was obviously low on the ink at the time of printing surfaced. Even though this could have potentially been a good motivational tool for reading for some, into the trash the porn went.

After that experience, I should have learned my lesson about checking the things–especially the used items–I purchased for my classroom for porn, right? It took one more incident for that to happen.

Lesson #2

A few weeks into the year, I bought a VCR (yes, one of those things my 6-year-old now wants) to play the video Hatchet for my kids (the movie that went with the book I was teaching, not the slice and dice film that came out that year). I found a good deal on one at a yard sale for $5, so I stuck it in the back of my SUV to put in my classroom the following Monday.

That Monday morning, my students were seated at their desks working on their morning exercises while I hooked up the VCR. After I connected it to the TV, I turned on the TV so I could get the input right and be ready to go when things got started. When I pressed the power button on the VCR, the word “Play” popped up on the screen, indicating that there was a tape already inside.

Whoever had left the movie in the VCR had been kind enough to rewind, so I was able to eject the movie to see what it was before those young eyes were exposed. It was porn. I don’t remember the title, but there was no doubt.

I was relieved that the students didn’t see any of the porn, of course, but then I had the following problem: what the hell was I going to do with a freaking porn movie all day? I didn’t have a cabinet that locked and there was no time to run out to my car. My 22-year-old self, who at the time was planning to teach forrrrrever, panicked at the thought of a student finding it (you know they would), so I used the walkie talkie set to call one of the principals down to the classroom.

“There’s a situation,” I tried to say in a hushed voice to the assistant, clutching the video close so no one could peak at the title. “Send Mrs. J down.” This caught the interest of a couple of students seated near my desk, since clearly nothing was happening beyond copying and correcting grammatically incorrect sentences.

A few minutes later, I heard a knock at my door. I stepped outside and pulled the door shut, save for a crack.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“I need you to take this,” I said, thrusting the porn tape at her. When she saw the title, her eyes got big. “It was in the used VCR I bought at a yard sale, I didn’t know–they didn’t see anything!”

The principal started laughing and turned on the walkie talkie. “Hey L, switch over to channel 4 for a second,” she told the co-principal, referring to the private channel we would switch over to when we had anything beyond a short request to make. “You won’t believe what Mrs. M has down here…”  and proceeded to fill her in on the details.

I didn’t get in trouble, of course, but that did make for an interesting moment at the teacher meeting after school. Especially when I offered up the info about the surprise in my yard sale books.

So yeah–if you buy your kids or students something used, and it has any potential at all to be used as something to stash porn in, check that shit.

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8 thoughts on “Lesson Learned As A Teacher: Always Check for Porn

  1. Risky business being a teacher!! I totally thought this was going to be a post about your students curious about porn on their devices. Too funny!! Well, at least it kept you on your toes! And I do love a good garage sale buy!! 🙂

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