By Melissa L. Webb
The chair squeaked slightly as the applicant shifted her weight. Her eyes quickly moved to her hands, where her fingers played with the bracelet hung around her wrist.
Professor Dawson chuckled slightly as he leaned forward, his hands folded on his desk. “Relax, Ms. Edmond. This interview is just a formality. I’m very impressed by your application,” he said as he glanced down at the paper on his desk.
The girl glanced up at him. “But I’m not qualified for this job. I don’t have any experience in this kind of setting.”
The professor shrugged. “Sometimes experience isn’t all that’s important to me. You’re a very bright young woman. And you’re very eager. I like that.” He shook his head. “Honestly, I want someone who truly wants to be here and I can teach you everything you need to know.” Professor Dawson smiled at her. “It’s really simple. I basically need an extra body in my classroom. You’ll be giving my students the extra help they need. So, Ms. Edmond, are you interested?”
The girl nodded her head quickly. “Yes, I would love to be your teaching assistant. And please, call me Jenny.”
“Okay, Jenny,” Professor Dawson said with a smile. “I just need to know one more thing. I may need a lot of hours from you. There is always so much work to be done in my classroom. Do you think you can spare the extra hours working for me?”
Jenny nodded again. “Yes, that won’t be a problem at all.”
The professor thought for a moment. “There’s no one who will be mad if I monopolize all your free time?”
Jenny shook her head. “No, not at all. My family lives back east. I’ve only been here for a short while, so I really don’t have any close friends. My free time is usually spent studying.”
Professor Dawson nodded. “Well, I think this will work out just fine then.” He stood up offering his hand to Jenny, who also rose. “It was a pleasure, Jenny. I look forward to working with you,” he said as he shook her hand.
“Thank you, Professor,” Jenny said as she returned the handshake. “I look forward to working with you as well.”
“Now,” he began as he led her to his classroom door. “You won’t be actually helping in the classroom for a while, but you’ll need to start prepping right away. Would you mind meeting me here tomorrow night so we can get started?”
Jenny smiled. “Sure, that would be great.” She started to leave and then turned back to him. “Thank you, Professor, for giving me this chance. I really need this job.”
Professor Dawson smiled at her. “I should be the one thanking you, Jenny. You’re the one who’s doing me a huge favor. It gets harder and harder to find the help students need nowadays. What with budget cuts and all.” He watched as she headed out of his classroom with a little wave. Jenny was indeed a godsend.
Professor Dawson stood in front of his class. “I know it’s been hard to get the things we need around here. It’s difficult to show you students how to do something without a proper example. But I’ve decided to get the help you need, no matter what the school board says.” He looked around at his students. “How else can you call yourselves pre-med students, if you’re not learning anything useful? Right?”
His class nodded in agreement.
“So,” he said with a smile. “On to the study of human biology.” He disappeared into the back room and wheeled out a gurney covered with a white sheet. “Everyone meet our new medical cadaver. Her name’s Jenny,” he told them as he removed the sheet. The professor smiled as he watched their eyes fill with excitement. Yes, Jenny was indeed the best teaching assistant he ever had.
©2010 Melissa L. Webb