If you ever feel that you are the odd one out at your place of work, consider this: You might feel awkward, but before you pre-diagnose yourself the black sheep, remember that no matter how awkward you feel the first day of work, it is nowhere near what I felt as a teaching assistant on the first day of kindergarten in an inner-city school.

Work technically started last week, but I didn’t really get a good taste of awkward until Monday (yesterday), when the children arrived. As I am not accustomed to areas not conditioned by air, it only got worse as the children flooded in. I found myself standing in a sea of very tiny children, dripping in sweat, simultaneously trying to tell the kids where to go and also trying to not die of dehydration. The next part of the day took place in the actual classroom, and it was air conditioned, thank my Jewish deity. However, I was still so overcome by the heat that my sweat continuously dripped onto the poor children until the next hour, when I had enough time to change clothes.

Then came lunch. Of course, I didn’t get to eat until after the children did. While manning the lunchroom, I quickly discovered the reason why America is obese. The answer lies somewhere in the giant hot dog, bowl of melted cheese sprinkled with broccoli, chocolate milk, and ice cream sundae for dessert. Though I would usually not be tempted by public school lunches, I had yet to eat my own lunch. Those under-cooked hot dogs lying in a stale bun, overcome with ketchup, was maybe the most delicious looking thing I had seen since I saw the school’s breakfast, which I will not disgust you by describing. I will only say that it involved sausage, cheese, and scrambled eggs mixed together in a way nothing should ever be mixed.

Though it’s only been one day, I have a new respect for teachers and really anyone who works in schools. I’d say about 67% of the women on this site that I date are teachers and I now think of them in a whole new way. It is not a cushy job and it requires all of your attention all of the time. The least I can do is show a little attention myself.

So now I’m back home from my first day of kindergarten. I will never again take clean sheets for granted again.