Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wake Up and Smell the Teacher

What do you do with a colleague who doesn't believe in regular bathing? I mean, before indoor plumbing I suppose people just put up with it, and covered themselves in perfumes to mask that natural stench. But nowadays, even on a teacher's salary, you can afford a place with a bathroom and a shower.

It's a baffling challenge in some respects. This particular colleague doesn't speak anything I recognize as English (and believe me, as an ESL teacher, I am more forgiving than most), nor does he respond to everyday comments beyond laughing as though I were the funniest guy in the world. People who speak his native language, which he supposedly teaches, tell me he's incomprehensible in that as well. It's not just kids putting down a teacher, because adults concur.

The other day I walked into the teachers' lounge. My malodorous colleague was there with a bunch of other teachers. I ever-so-subtly remarked, "Boy, someone in here really needs a bath," and made a great show of opening a window. However, my words seem to have fallen on deaf, or at least uncomprehending, ears.

I'm afraid my schedule puts me in this person's path on a regular basis, and the warm weather seems to have had a pronounced ripening effect. What is the protocol for a situation like this? Can I file a grievance?

I don't suppose calling his parents would help.

Darn it.
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