Back in the day when I was an instructional aid for Bubba, my student with Autism, I had one of my most memorable teaching moments. We had gone on a fieldtrip to the Forestry Services. It was a really neat fieldtrip with the students learned about forest fires and having treated wood to help prevent fire, etc. I was incredibly proud of Bubba, he was doing a fantastic job in a new situation which could often create some challenges. He was doing so well that looking back on it, I realize now, that I wasn't quite on my toes as much as I probably should have been. I was confident in how well he had been handling the fieldtrip, so I guess I got just a tad bit comfortable. Not lazy, but comfortable, I let my guard down a little bit.
Next thing I know as we are all sitting listening to a fireman give some sort of lecture about fires (in all honesty I wasn't listening, so I have no idea what he was talking about). He was just wrapping up and kids were starting to get up from their seats when Bubba got up. I didn't think anything of it initially because the other kids were starting to do the same. I then saw him starting to wander timidly a few feet from me, he was turned towards me and I was chatting with the teacher of our class. He had wandered about 10 feet from me, still watching me the whole time, and I was still keeping my eye on him, when all of a sudden I saw that look in his eye, that one that told me, uh-oh something is about to happen. Once he had a mission, he was quick. In that split second I realized that he had a mischevious plan, whatever that might be, he bolted. I of course went quickly running after him surveying the scene quickly to try and figure out what the heck he was after. He was a big kid, but he was quick and I was dodging in between benches and other students. It was a few feet before he reached his target that I realized what it was...the fire extinguisher. Oh boy. The scene that soon evolved will forever be etched in my memory as one of the funniest moments I have ever seen. He reached the fire extinguisher seconds before I did, but it was just enough time for him to hit the handle and spray the fireman across the back of his leg. The sound was loud, white foam was flying, and the fireman quickly jumped as his back was turned as he was caught off guard being sprayed. Bubba wanted more, and he would have probably emptied the whole extinguisher if I wasn't seconds behind him. I grabbed the extinguisher out from under his grip and was able to quickly stop things from escalating. I quickly apologized to the fireman, thankfully without laughing, walked away with Bubba loving him even more than I always had. That's one of the great things about teaching students with Autism, I always felt that no matter what they did, they weren't doing things for the intent of harm, and they often didn't know any better. You couldn't help but always love them.
I will never forget the look on the fireman's face as he turned around, foam all down the back of his leg, looking at Bubba, and looking at me wondering what had just happened. Priceless. Truly priceless.