Stop licking your fingers | Why can’t you flip like a normal person

It’s already spread. Is it contagious? I don’t know. I hope not. But it seems to be following me. Even when they’re counting money – dirty, publicly-used dollar bills – they lick their fingers. I suppose that licking your fingers to flip through paper is “the new normal.” But I just can’t seem to accept it.

Sure, it gives you a “mechanical advantage” or whatever. Makes it sticky. Obvious. But there’s one drawback: it’s disgusting. Absolutely horrific. It’s like you’re just spitting all over the paper. It’s… it’s… it can’t be helped, apparently.

Every single teacher. It didn’t matter how old they were. It didn’t matter what gender they were, or what grade they were teaching. They all lick their fingers to flip through paper. It’s almost as if it’s contagious – like some viral disease. Yes, the disease of “licking your fingers before you touch any piece of paper.”

Do they know how I feel? Does anybody even care anymore? It’s just an accepted thing? Putting your saliva on the worksheet? On the review sheet? On the textbook? The letter?

Is this some sort of “initiation rite” that you have to go through before you become a teacher? Is this what they do at “teaching school?” Besides making shitty PowerPoints, they also force you to lick your fingers when you flip pieces of paper? Maybe that’s all they focus on. “Teacher mannerisms.” Yes, even more important than the act of teaching – even more crucial than the ability to explain complicated things in simple ways.

The criteria for being a teacher isn’t that you’re able to teach a class – it’s that you look like you could teach a class. You have to rummage through your bags every now and then, feigning forgetfulness. You have to learn to deny students washroom breaks in a non-offensive way. You have to figure out which hand to pick first from a field of 10. You have to correctly deduce the slowest reader in the class, and make them read the bulk of the material.

You have to be able to drink beverages correctly. An aggressive, yet controlled tipping motion to the mouth; as if you were downing a shot of whiskey. Even if you don’t drink, you still have to go through the motions.

You have to learn how to sit properly. You have to act casual. You have to act interested, yet detached. You have to act as if you’ve been forced into slavery (the “acting” could be genuine), but you still have to smile and act pleasant. You have to look up from your computer with your eyes gleaming. A smile is optional, but recommended.

You have to change the curriculum. You have to make sure that you “mix up the chapters” because “the book… ahh, I don’t like the book.”

Divert responsibility. Divert attention. Make them think that you’ve planned this out in a logical way, and not one that’s just going to give them a false sense of confidence. You have to make sure that you’re able to make convincing excuses.

“Ah, the photocopying machine wasn’t working.”

“Darn, I uhh… need to go print something.”

“Hang on, guys. I’m gonna go photocopy something…”

And when you come back with a stack of random word problems in your hand, make sure you lick your fingers to flip through the pages. You’ll be tested on that.


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