Sulphuric acid (and other mistakes)


A member of my family (who shall remain anonymous but is famously known for being a tad on the clumsy side) told me something that had me in stitches yesterday. I really shouldn’t have laughed, but it was the way the story was told and the visions I had in my head. Judge for yourselves…

In science yesterday, this person was doing an experiment involving sulphuric acid and iron filings. They (and a fellow student) had already been told off for drinking water from drinks bottles before the lesson began. They were asked to put them on the floor, but instead put them on the windowsill, out of the way. Strike one.

Later, they had to carry a beaker and a glass vial holding sulphuric acid. As they walked to put it on the bench, a neighbouring student pulled out their chair, making my family member stumble. Desperate not to drop the acid , they ended up slamming both the beaker and vial on to the table top in an attempt to save this from happening. Sadly, both smashed and they were left holding glass tops as acid splashed all over the top and onto the floor. Panic ensued and they then managed to knock over the iron filings which reacted with the sulphuric acid on the floor… Strike two.

The class teacher rushed over and attempted, bare-handed (idiot!) to gather up the glass and obviously managed to cut herself in the process, so blood was also added into the equation. (No stitches required, thankfully.)

Now, my family member is not good with blood. Very not good. They gagged. (At least this time they didn’t pass out, so I’m grateful for small mercies.)  The class fell silent when the teacher started to scream some rather unpleasant things at my family member who was still gagging at the sight of the blood because the teacher was waving her dripping hand all over the place.

Now, up until this point, I was laughing – I could envisage it happening – the horror on the face of my family member and the wide-eyes of the students in the class. Then the teacher spotted the water bottle on the sill and she went ballistic… Strike three. One family member outside of the classroom for ten minutes for the first time ever, and the threat of having their prefect application stopped.

This is where it stopped being funny. It was an accident. Believe me when I say that this person would do anything to keep out of the sight of teaching staff and is really not the kind to mess about or do stupid things with dangerous chemicals. Reports have said year on year that this person is a credit to themselves and the school and teachers always comment on what a pleasure they are to teach – a fact that makes me smile and be grateful every year (and yes, they do have friends and a social life before you ask – a damn sight better one than I do!).

I’m the first to support teachers (considering I teach English, Maths and ICT and have dealt with my fair share of students who don’t really want to be doing any of them, I can’t very well not do so, can I?) and if this family member was known for being a pain in the xxx I’d be completely on the side of the staff.  But I can’t help but think that this teacher reacted so spitefully because they hurt themselves through their own stupidity and took it out on someone they shouldn’t have… What do you think?

(However, I’m still sniggering over the mental picture I have of the entire unfortunate incident – warped sense of humour, obviously.)


2 thoughts on “Sulphuric acid (and other mistakes)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s