The pink panties story

I have been reminded that I owe you a story, and now that I’ve totally fucked up the SEO for my site for the rest of time I may as well tell it. I have two Honors Algebra classes, one first thing in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is a high school class that they’re getting actual high school credits for. My morning class is quite possibly the most chill group of kids I have ever encountered. I’ve never seen anything like them. No drama. They come in, they do their work, they ask questions if they have them, and when they’re done they just sit and relax and chat. They’re one of those classes where if I needed to I could just leave and everybody would still be in their seats doing whatever they were doing when I left when I came back. I love them.

I’m at my desk doing something or another and the kids are working at their seats. The word panties floats into my ears, and I hear what sounds like vaguely horrified noises and some relatively uncharacteristic teenage giggling. I look up.

Now, I am perhaps twenty feet away, but it is still fairly clear that there is a pair of pink panties on the floor next to one of my boys.

“Please do not tell me there is underwear on the floor in my classroom right now,” I say.

“There’s underwear on the floor, Mr. Siler,” they say.

I stand up to go look closer. There is indeed a pair of lace pink panties on the fucking floor in my fucking middle school math classroom. There should not be panties on the floor. I take a moment to regret every decision that I have ever made in my life that led me to the point where I had to ask a room of thirteen- and fourteen-year-old children “Does anyone want to claim the mystery underwear before I throw it away?”

(Fun fact about me: I detest the word “panties” for no reason I have ever been able to enunciate, and I have already used it far too many times in this post. I do not say it out loud unless I absolutely have to, and that is not a condition that occurs often.)

I look around at my girls. Roughly half of the kids in the room, maybe a little bit more. I note two things: first, they are all wearing pants, and second, none of them appears to suddenly be having the worst day of her entire life. Most of them appear entertained; a couple look scandalized, but not in an oh my god those are mine sort of way.

No one wants to claim the underwear. Someone suggests that the boy it is sitting next to is responsible for them. This would not be enormously surprising, to be honest. I give him my firmest Teacher Look, and he fails to wither under my glare. I think there’s no earthly way he could keep a straight face right now and go to get a pencil, which I use to pick up the underwear.

At which point something equally horrible becomes clear: there is not just a pair of lacy pink women’s underwear on the floor in my classroom. There is a pair of lacy pink women’s underwear on the floor in my classroom and it has been worn. Several days in a row, from the look of it. Soiled would perhaps give the wrong impression, but crusty? We can go with crusty. There are no obvious signs of blood on them; with girls this age the immediate suspicion would be some sort of menstrual disaster but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I look around again. Each of my girls makes eye contact. There’s no way they would be willing to make eye contact with a male teacher holding their underwear by a pencil in the middle of math class. There’s just no way, right? That’s a literal nightmare.

I throw the underwear in the trash and forbid any of my students to ever speak of this again, a promise that all of them make and I’m absolutely certain that not one of them intends to keep. Two minutes later, my boss wanders by, because of course she does, and I tell her the story, mostly to gauge her reaction. She is horrified but thinks it’s hilarious, and having been a middle school principal for more than ten minutes, volunteers to take my trash bag out of my room so that the boys in the next class don’t go digging to find anything, no doubt to start throwing them around the room.

As of this moment, several days later, I still have no suspects.

It was a weird day.

In which I make a new rule

I did not go to work yesterday, and I left early the day before, and apparently my room did not get vacuumed either day. As such, there was a bit more debris on the floor when I came in this morning than I’m generally used to, both because 1) my kids are pretty clean for the most part and 2) the room does generally get cleaned every night. However, I keep a dustpan and a broom in my closet for just these situations, and as I was cleaning up I discovered something that I don’t normally find on the floor of my classroom.

A tampon wrapper.

That’s new, I thought. Not necessarily alarming, or anything, but … new.

What did prove alarming was when a couple of minutes later I found the applicator. That’s what it’s called, right? This thing?

It had been, uh, discharged, so there was nothing inside it, which actually was kind of alarming, because I’m pretty sure you generally don’t keep those when you’re done with them, right? So somebody either put in a tampon in the middle of Math class, which even in 2023 seems kinda unlikely, or they put it in in the bathroom, brought the wrapper and the applicator back to class with them, and then dropped it on the floor? Or was there a tampon floating around the room somewhere as well?

I didn’t find the tampon.

Fast forward to 6th hour. One of my Honors groups. My favorite class, but I will deny it if you tell them that. They are fucking obnoxious, but they’re somehow obnoxious in exactly the right way? I’m not sure how to explain it.

Anyway, after hearing someone saying something about “the tampon yesterday,” I investigated, and … well, now there’s a new rule in my classroom. No one who does not possess the proper body parts to successfully use a tampon is allowed to use, distribute, touch, throw, or taste tampons in my classroom, nor are they allowed to say the word “tampon,” given that I heard it more in class today than in the entirety of my teaching career up until today. And those verbs? I needed all of those verbs.

Also, I discovered that one of my boys was unaware that there was a difference between a tampon and an IUD, and in fact thought both were contraceptives.

Anybody else wanna teach middle school?

The difference

I am very curious to see just how many of you recognize the significance of this photo:

Actually, looking at it, that tape dispenser is in fact sitting flat on top of my desk calendar and, despite a really weird and unintentional trick of the shadows, is not floating a couple of inches above it.

A bit of necessary, but possibly not sufficient, context: my current classroom has been unoccupied for a month in between the resignation of the previous teacher and my arrival on Monday. There was a surprising amount of stuff on my desk when I moved in, including that tape dispenser. This afternoon, finally finding a roll of Scotch tape in the boxes I brought over, I picked the little wheel out of the dispenser, attached the roll of tape to it, and put it back on my desk.

This photo, in a nutshell, is why, so far, I love my new building.



We may, or may not, have a blizzard coming, depending on which weather service you’re looking at right now and whether you’re looking at where I live or where I work. The weird thing is that where I live is under a winter storm warning for tomorrow at 4 AM through Thursday at 10 AM, during which we might get five to ten inches of snow, but the forecast doesn’t predict that. Where I work has word-for-word the exact same forecast but without the winter storm warning.

I am assuming that lake effect fuckery is involved somehow, as lake effect snow is famous for dumping a foot of snow on a path two miles wide and barely touching anything on either side. This leads one to wonder, though, just how screwed I’m going to be if the lake effect band lands on my house, or between me and work, but not at work.

I’d kind of prefer it to move a bit to the east, is what I’m saying.

Honestly, I’d kind of prefer to not have a snow day this early in my tenure at the new school, particularly since, for various bad reasons, I have to prepare 2/3 of my kids tomorrow for a test on Thursday, one that was scheduled before I arrived and which they have to take anyway. I had talks with all of my classes today about how I was planning on integrating their previous (miserable) grades with the Post-My-Arrival grades, as they’re all surprisingly concerned about it. And it’s 7:08 and I really ought to get to writing tomorrow’s lesson plans so that we can have a snow day or a two hour delay and everything can be all screwed up.


(Day 2 proceeded with much the same pleasantry as Day 1. So far? This was absolutely the right call, other than the fucking commute.)

Woohoo, and advice to the Democrats

Today went exactly as I thought it would, as opposed to how I feared it would. Everybody, from the building principal to the security guards to the kids, seemed really nice, and there don’t seem to be any shouty people in my hallway yet, and other than some casual profanity in the hallway I didn’t even see any misbehavior. Learning the LMS system the new district uses is going to crack my skull open, and right now I kind of hate it, and I talked all day so my throat feels like somebody ran an electric mixer in it for a couple of minutes, but other than that? No complaints.

I had a whole bit here about the Speaker of the House but having written half of it, I’ve decided it’s dumb and I need to learn more before I put anything dumb where people can read it. So … yeah. My advice to the Democrats is to listen to people who are smarter than me.