Current/Recent Reading List

18 November 2007

Occupational Hazards

Being a yearbook advisor has many consolations, and as long as you are conscientious, it is hard thing to screw up. Of course, there are headaches (as I've mentioned before, English teachers are not the first group you think of for natural businessmen), but in the big picture they are relatively minor.

Since, at the high school level, girls tend to be more conscientious students, and since,for some reason, it's mostly girls who seem interested in yearbook, one of my consolations is that I tend to get good core groups to work with. However, having an all-girl class can be tricky for me from time to time. One of the reasons is that conversations in the yearbook class are not bound by subject matter the way they are in normal classes. Seems anything goes, so long as it isn't completely lurid. And so, I have to be circumspect about which matters to offer "I'm-old-enough-to-be-your-father" opinions on, and which ones to pretend not to have heard at all. No matter how careful, though, there is a subject I seem to often accidentally step into which involves... er... female biological functions.

Usually it starts when I innocently ask one of the girls who looks deathly ill if they are o.k. So it began on Friday, after one girl came in class and immediately dropped her jacket and proceeded to lay out flat - incommunicado - on the cold, dirty, hard floor. Another girl, sitting at the computer near me, also let out a weary groan from time to time. Soon, in some telepathic manner, my editor has figured out and announced that four of them are , um, having the same experience on this day. As I checked yearbook pages, I heard snippets of conversations about the wonders of Midol, or about personal stories their mothers tell, etc. Can you say "sticking out like a sore thumb"?

Look, I've been married 11 years, and I helped the doctor and nurses bring my son into the world, so I'm no wallflower. But on days like Friday, I can't help but have that same icky feeling I had in fifth grade health class. And seventh grade health class. And ninth grade health class.


JP said...

This reminds me so much of my yearbook classroom.

Midol conversations, chit-chat about the dumb boyfriends, the urgings of a fellow classmate to give up on boys and find a nice girl to settle down with...

I almost felt a pang of sympathy for the yearbook advisor, until I remembered that he was also secretly dating the co-editor, who was a young senior, having skipped a grade. Ooops.

Please don't grade that last paragraph.

School Master P said...

Whooaaa... that is some really ugly stuff there, JP. Sounds like the recipe for several disasters. How did the actual yearbook turn out (under such circumstances, you know, artiste's sometimes do their best work).

One reason I'm always circumspect about where I enter into conversations is that I am mortified of ever being considered a creepy old lecher. Important for all kinds of reasons (especially important not to actually be a lecher, btw), but one of them is because 90% of the yearbookers I work with are girls, and they have to feel comfortable in my presence.

We all know there are male teachers they don't feel comfortable around. Ick.