“What’s your favourite subject to teach them?” It’s a favourite question to ask teachers. I hear it so often I’m tempted to never answer sincerely again. ‘Preschool Teacher’ is an endearing profession, especially to men. The more advanced degrees they possess, the more endearing it becomes. They beam at you; they want to give you apples. It’s visible, palpable.
“Ethics,” I answered, thinking about apples. There was a sudden cessation of group conversation. “How do you possibly teach ethics to children so small, Lola?” I looked around. These were men who had contact with neither teachers nor children. “It’s just a matter of – of conveying ethics in a way that directly applies to their world and feels like a natural realization rather than a forcing upon of foreign principles.” Silence. “It’s just a matter of reaching them.” I added on, turning to my martini, hoping I was done. “What, with your arms?” I turned around to the guy on my right. Thinking I misunderstood him, he mimed hugging a small child.
“I thought you told me you’d had an Ivy League education?” I asked. He stopped miming, brightened considerably. “Yes! I mean – I’m sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable with my superior intellect? I’ve tried to keep it toned down but it – well, I didn’t mean to make you feel inadequate.”
I laughed, heartily, for roughly three minutes. It doesn’t sound very long but in real life, not printed word, it’s sufficient time for everyone to get the joke. Or at least laugh along.