Once upon a time, when schools were much less regimented than they are now, folks entering my 5th grade classroom often found themselves momentarily confused — apparently, to hear it described, the phenomenon was rather like one of those dreams where you open the door to one place, yet enter another.
It was the beginning of a brand new year and I was introducing the students to their new math books. The door opened and the principal walked in. It was my second year working for him and I was used to him often wandering through the classrooms, so I just kept teaching. He paused at the bird cage and greeted the parakeets. He stopped briefly at all three hamster cages, and all three fish tanks. He hunkered down at both aquariums. The trantula he took in stride, but when Iggy, the iguana, spit at him he backed up just a bit.
At that point he had made a full circut and was back at the door. He paused to look at me, so I paused to look at him. Straight-faced, he drawled, “I find myself wondering: will this be a fifth grade classroom, or Ms. A’s petting zoo?” Completely deadpan I answered, “Yes.”
As he turned to leave the room I saw a smile.