Sam tried not to stare, but Jason was doing such a vigorous job at cleaning out his ear that it was hard to pull her stare away. It looked as though it was in as far as the first joint, if that were physically possible.
How do these people become teachers? She thought. More importantly, how do they stay teachers?
Jason McDougal had been teaching at this school for twenty-seven years. He had been assigned here straight from teachers’ college back when teachers were sent to schools. Then, it was a newly opened single sex school. It was pedagogically believed that girls learned better when they were taught in an environment without boys, and it was conveniently ignored that boys thrived when challenged by female counterparts. Now, the school was in its fifth year of severe mismanagement by a principal who interviewed well but had no understanding of interpersonal relationships and even less understanding of fiscal management. The principal was still in place but there were rumours of department takeover and votes of no confidence. The student intake had dropped considerably and the school council was considering an intake of male students.
This was Sam’s first parent teacher interview night, and she was petrified that she was underprepared. She’d entered the gym half an hour prior to the starting time of 4pm and set out her mark book, her laptop, and a box of work to return to the students and another box of work to correct. As a special touch, she’d even brought in a small vase and flower. She was fully set up at 3:35 and sat behind the desk. Jason had lumbered into the hall at almost quarter past four with two sets of parents already waiting. He dumped his mark book and a messy handful of essays on the table and dropped today’s Age on the floor next to his seat. After charming the parents, he’d wandered off for a coffee and to chat up the Year Eight co-ordinator.
Now, at almost seven, Sam had seen no parents and Jason had his finger deep into the depths of his head whilst he checked out the back pages. When he pulled his finger out, Sam was sure she heard a pop. He placed the finger beneath his nose and took a deep breath. Sam tried not to gag, but couldn’t look away. His finger then wandered to his open mouth and, just as Sam retched, he looked up and at her. She looked away, but not quickly enough to miss his lecherous wink.
‘Miss S?’ It was her first appointment. Sam looked up, forcing the revulsion off her face with a look of delight.