Before I landed in a classroom, I worked in a group home.
The ratio of kids to staff was about 14 to 1; in our classrooms, it is usually 4 to 1.
Group home community trips entailed loading up a fifteen passenger van with as many bodies as you could, and hoping to God that nobody seizured in the backseat on the way to the petting farm.
Things I found while cleaning out the van after a community trip: matches, poop, weird old pornographic novel, tons and tons of candy wrappers that I don't think anyone paid for, pieces of a CD.
Pieces of a CD were from a guy that compulsively broke CDs whenever he came across them.
He couldn't help himself.
When there was an outbreak of parasites at the group home, I was responsible for collecting a poop sample from this CD hater.
I was supposed to put a little catcher's mitt inside the toilet bowl right before the kid dropped anchor, and then whisk away the sample.
However, this guy felt a strong sense of ownership over the byproducts of his body.
When he caught wind of my intentions, he refused to use the bathroom.
Knowing him, and knowing his...regularity....I knew that one was coming before the end of the night.
He kept trying to sneak and go, but the second he heard my footsteps, he would scramble off the toilet, sometimes with his pants still down.
I never got the sample, but I learned something important.
You cannot make someone go poop.
You just can't.
Anyways, I drove that van stuffed to the gills with the developmentally disabled all over the place.
I remember driving towards a beautiful sunset along a stretch of rural highway.
The radio was playing that song "Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette, and one by one, fourteen impaired young men began to sing along.
I am not sure any of them knew the verses, but they sure knew the chorus (someone might have even sung annoying improvised harmony parts, like people who believe strongly in their own singing ability always do) ((that someone might of have been me, but I really hope not because that is so embarrassing))
It was like a real life musical, or an episode of The Muppet Show.
Then someone said "Look, a baby deer!"
I looked, and sure enough an adorable faun, truly a living Bambi, was standing alongside the road.
Fourteen faces glued to the van windows to get a better look.
They oohed and aahhed.
"Oh, oh, it's running! It run so fast!" they exclaimed.
Nobody knew where the little deer's trajectory was leading it except me.
Nobody knew how unresponsive the van's brakes were except me.
As the van cracked into the side of Bambi, fourteen voices went "OOOOOOOhhhhhhh NNNNNoooooo"
I had braked, I had braked with all I had, but it was not enough.
The van came to a stop with the deer laid flat and still, directly to the left of it.
No one said a word.
Muffled sobbing came from the passenger seat next to me.
But suddenly, miraculously, the little deer began to weakly try and pull itself off the road, using only its front hooves.
The van erupted into cheers. "IT'S OK! IT'S AWIVE! IT NOT DEAD!" There were hugs and high-fives, streaming tears of joy and thankfullness.
I took my foot off the brake and started to drive again.
"Yep, guys, I think that little fella is gonna be allllllright." I said.
And then I made a shifty sideways glance and slowly shook my head no.