#193 – Tis the Season

I’ve had to learn the hard way that many temps just don’t give a crap. Whenever I’ve hired temporary secretaries to fill in for my regular assistant, they’ve displayed the kind of disinterest typically seen from the people in orange jumpsuits spearing roadside trash. And those were the intelligent ones! The less intellectually gifted souls who’ve shown up at my office compounded their lackadaisical attitudes with an equal dose of ineptitude. And as I discovered today, the temp who messed up my holiday gift order must be the poster child for both deficiencies.

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#230 – Speaking of Danger

Last night I received another hint why the boy I mentor needs a male influence in his life, even one as questionable as me. Ernie’s teacher had invited me to a recital at the elementary school in place of my normal weekly session with the lad. Not only would he be participating, Ms. McDaniel informed me; Ernie would open the show reading a paragraph he’d written for a homework assignment. He and his classmates had been tasked to write about a problem in the world today, and his piece on the havoc caused by IEDs scored the top mark.

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#243 – Try to Eat the Gingerbread Man … I Dare You!

My mentee’s third-grade class was told to write a letter from the Gingerbread Man to all his pursuers in the classic fairy tale, telling them why they shouldn’t eat him. I took a gander at Ernie’s work product today, at the conclusion of our weekly session. Unsurprisingly, he’d opted for violence, threatening death and destruction of biblical proportions to all those involved. His message may’ve seemed excessive, but if I’d been the old man or lady chasing the oven-baked lad, I would’ve turned tail and fled the moment I read it.

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#250 – Trawling the Classroom

For a host of reasons, teachers shouldn’t use their classrooms as trawling grounds for dates with attractive parents. First and foremost are the ethical considerations: perceived, if not actual, preferential treatment for the child of the targeted parent. Then there’s the embarrassment factor: taunting of the child by classmates due to the teacher’s crush. And last but not least is the detrimental impact on the educational system itself: nowadays, kids learn slowly enough without having teachers distracted by efforts to score a new stepchild from the student pool. While most people, including educators, recognize and agree with these concerns, a few require a kick in the ass to properly reorient their moral compasses, like Mr. Rogers for instance.

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