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Teacher aides complete tedious, unusual tasks

Students often become teacher aides (TAs) to earn school credit or spend a free hour with a favorite instructor. However, many do not bargain for some of the unusual, painstaking tasks which are required of them.

Freshmen Rayna Endicott and Hannah Avila serve as TAs for athletic director Cynthia Ward and have completed an array of strange tasks. Endicott especially recalls a time when she and Avila had to take inventory in a most unusual way.

“The trailer that keeps all the concessions for football games is out in the field, and we had to go out there to take inventory of it all,” Endicott said. “We had to count everything, so we climbed through the trailer that was packed full. We were laying across all the Gatorades, jumping and climbing through, trying to count the boxes and write it all down.”

After a school-served lunch, Avila was asked to clean the spaghetti containers, only to discover that they had been used three days ago.

“One of my TA adventures was when Mrs. [Cynthia] Ward made us wash three-day-old spaghetti,” Avila said. “It was so gross. It was in a big Crockpot, and the sauce got on my hands and it smelled really bad.”

Assistants carry out repetitive tasks

TA Elora Hargis, ’14, who assisted music director Michael Ogdon, was asked to perform the grueling and time-consuming task of sorting through music.

“So there are these big file cabinets in the Music Suite closet filled with literally thousands of music sheets,” Hargis said. “Basically, I had to go through each file and organize by each instrument and put it in order from piccolo all the way to drums. I had to do however many boxes possible, and it seemed like it would never end. Eventually, I just quit that TA period.”

Though Hargis disliked the repetition of her TA experience, junior Scott Jennings, who grades workbooks for freshman and junior English teacher Greg Stobbe, finds enough motivation to finish.

“I really don’t think it’s annoying to grade the same thing every week because you get more familiar with it,” Jennings said. “When I finish my work, I get free time, which is nice because I can finish my homework. I think it’s helped me to be more organized.”

As a TA for biology teacher Herbert Kendall, sophomore Ian Rustigian is asked to create packets of handouts. According to Rustigian, the repetition takes its toll.

“I don’t like stapling papers, because it takes a long time to do,” Rustigian said. “I usually do it about every TA period. I make a lot of copies, and it’s frustrating when the copy machine doesn’t work.”

Senior Kory Thompson serves as a TA in order to earn the required number of credits to graduate. When she assists Natalie Douty, a junior high English and history teacher, Thompson finds herself spending lots of time handling paper.

“I have to make lots of copies,” Thompson said. “But sometimes I mess up and I have to throw all the papers away. I do a lot of hole-punching, which I hate because I make tons of noise and people in the class stare at me. One time it [hole-puncher] got jammed, and everyone laughed at me. And I grade papers, which always seems to take forever.”

Students’ effort benefits instructors

Though TAs frequently tire of handling paper, math teacher Jane Gillespie appreciates the work that the assistants are able to complete.

“I would totally die without my TAs,” Gillespie said. “My good TAs are wonderful. They get all my copying done, they organize my papers by classes and basically do everything I need. I would be here after school for a couple more hours if they weren’t there.”

FC’s high school secretary, Lisa Dooley, oversees several TAs and feels that the discipline required to perform seemingly pointless jobs will come in handy in the future.

“I think it’s good experience for the work force,” Dooley said, “because you have to follow what somebody says and do things that you think are meaningless tasks. But you have to do those things in life.”

For more information on extracurricular classes, read the Nov. 29, 2010 article, Woodshop educates, offers creative outlet.

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