I took my second grade special education class to my dentist as part of my career education unit. While they were learning about dentistry, I’d also get my teeth cleaned. It seemed too good to be true: taking care of my teeth on school time. I recruited two speech teachers to come along. They were tired of giving speech lessons in their small offices, and liked the idea of a change in scenery.
I divided my class into two revolving groups. One would read magazines in the waiting room while the others would watch the dentist at work. The only problem I didn’t foresee was my students also wanted time in the dental chair. But just sitting in the chair was not enough. It’d be like mounting a horse, then having to dismount without being able to ride it. They wanted the dentist to poke his hands in their mouths.
I was hoping that need would pass, but one of my students had a temper tantrum. He wouldn’t stop kicking and crying unless he had a turn. Luckily I had a great excuse not to intervene: the dentist’s hands were still in my mouth. I tried commanding the student with my eyes to obey, since I couldn’t use my mouth. But eye language only works if the student is looking back. His eyes were locked on my feet. He was hoping for a chance to grab on to them and pull me off the chair, so he could be next.
The dentist decided he could not give me proper care under these circumstances. I had to come back next week. I also had to bring him magazines to replace the ones my students destroyed in the waiting room. Since they didn’t have scissors they just ripped the pictures out. One student showed me a picture of a man in a dental chair. Other than that, there wasn’t much resemblance. The dentist and patient were smiling.