I have never written the “it’s hard for seniors to find jobs” column, because I’ve never really liked that topic. I prefer to wax moralistic and condemn those of you on campus who don’t agree with me. It’s how I win friends.
But, being on the frantic lookout for jobs at this point, I am having to admit that, yeah, it’s hard for seniors to find jobs. Even in a fairly high-need field like teaching, people are still feeling the crunch. There was a teacher job fair on campus a few weeks ago, and all current student teachers were mulling around Lory’s Main Ballroom franticly looking for any district that a) was hiring teachers and b) was not in Manzanola.
The bizarre thing about specialized job fairs like the teaching fair is that you’ve had classes with the same people for years and they’ve become your friends. And they’re all looking for the same job that you are. And so while you hope that Deb gets a nice job, you hope that it’s not in Fort Collins. You want the Fort Collins job. You hope that Deb gets a job in Manzanola.
So, the job crunch fear does not set student teachers apart from those of you looking for a job. But what does set us apart is the delirious perils that we have to face. Namely: Blackteeth.
The Rocky Mountain High School day is broken into four, 90-minute class chunks of time, neatly segregated into the morning and afternoon sessions that are separated by the 50-minute lunch period. This period, you will recall, was your favorite period as a 10th grader. In a bizarre twist of events, lunch is still the favorite period. It is that single period of time during the day when you don’t feel completely fake and dishonest. The following scenario can occur and frequently does:
Student: Ms. Laribee, what is the difference between existentialism and transcendentalism?
Ms. Laribee: Um. (If I tell them a story about what I did this weekend, will they forget that they asked me that question?)
Lunch is the one thing you feel like you know anything about. I have eaten a trillion lunches since birth, and feel like the expert on that. I still feel a little shaky sometimes on the whole literature thing. Not something you want your student teacher to admit, but still true.
The problem with lunch is that it doubles as your catch-up period, and so while inhaling the pasta that is on your plate and cuing up a video segment for the next period, while grading journals and while trying to find a second to call your friend to see how their day is going, you somehow weed out the time to go to the bathroom.
This is problematic for multiple reasons. Studies have shown that young teachers have the highest rate of bladder infections among professionals. Yeah, sure, dentists claim the highest suicide rate. But bladder infections are ours. But, more than the obvious reason for restrooming, the main reason one should go is to, of course, check one’s teeth. Because there’s nothing like being a professional public speaker, as teachers are, and subjecting your audience to dental foulness.
It is after my third 90-minute class that I finally check my teeth. And, of course, there are, happily residing between my lower central and lateral incisor, and spread gleefully in front for the whole world to see, is a piece of perfect oregano.
At this point I do not hate the circumstances I am in. I do not hate myself. I hate my students. The ones I talked to for a few minutes before class, and who looked away politely rather than grimace at my utter foulness. I hate Marissa, who sure, went to Walgreens to buy me a Cadbury Egg, but didn’t tell me I was disgusting. I hate all those kids who have perfect, beautiful teeth and look at mine for ninety minutes finally realizing why I don’t have a date to the Prom I am chaperoning on Saturday.
For all of you scrambling to find meaningful employment, I salute you. But know that the hazards of your job will never be as poignant as mine. Sure I have summers off. But I also have no time to brush my teeth.
Sarah Laribee has brushed her teeth since writing this column. She would like to thank her family for such a nice visit.