Odd Jobs: things teachers once did for money

While some may be fun and exciting, many first jobs leave you embarrassed to be seen there. Many of the teachers here at Carmel High School have had the opportunity of getting one of these odd jobs that no one else wanted.

During college, math teacher Dawn Hatch worked as a petting zoo supervisor for the Eureka Zoo in Humboldt County. Her interactions with teenagers that summer greatly influenced her decision to become a teacher, even though she previously intended on becoming a veterinarian.

Tom Clifford, the computer teacher, used to work in retail at Macy’s

“I sold ties at Macy’s, which is pretty funny since I have no taste in clothes,” Clifford says.

History teacher Nora Ward put her artistic abilities to use when she had her first job in middle school, which was selling hand-painted coconut postcards to tourists from a booth on the side of the road. When she was a senior in high school, she sold personalized pictures of Japanese tourists teeing off at a golf course. She had to learn to speak Japanese to sell pictures, and while working there, she got three marriage proposals.

The first and last summer that English teacher Whitney Grummon came home from college, she worked at the local McDonald’s. Her uniform was a brown polyester dress, and she worked the late shift at the drive-thru window from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. Despite the restaurant being in a dangerous neighborhood and the manager always having to walk Grummon out to her car at night, the most dangerous aspect about the job was the girl who worked at the fryer.

“She hated me so much that one evening she chased me around the kitchen with a knife in her hand,” Grummon says.

Someone else that had a dangerous job is Physics teacher, Joe Mello, who worked in Arroyo Grande replacing a sewage pump down a 15-foot hole. When finished with the job, his coworker noticed that he had left a wrench in the hole and asked Mello to go get it.

Sports Medicine teacher Jay Christensen as an athletic trainer for the San Jose Earthquakes.

Sports Medicine teacher Jay Christensen as an athletic trainer for the San Jose Earthquakes.

“We used an extension ladder, and he did not lock it into place,” Mello recounts. “I stepped on the ladder, and it basically collapsed, dropping me into knee-deep raw sewage.”

Mello’s coworker tried to fix the ladder, but it was all jammed up, forcing him to drop a cable down, pulling Mello out with the winch attached to the truck. Mello’s ankle was twisted, and he couldn’t work for a while after that.

Someone that would have been helpful with the injury is Jay Christensen, who, before finally settling down and becoming the Health Occupations and Sports Medicine teacher, worked thirteen fun jobs. He was a college professor, paperboy, prep cook and dishwasher, just to name a few.

Olga Chandler, the Spanish teacher, was a receptionist at a psychiatric hospital, and helped with patient intake and routing calls to helplines. The most interesting thing that happened there was when a fire alarm mistakenly went off, and they had to evacuate patients with deep emotional and psychological problems.

“It was, pardon the pun, a really crazy night!”

-Kim Burns