Recap: Jo arrives at an elementary school for her first day as a student teacher. The supervising teacher, an old lady named Grace, introduces Jo to the class, aka a group of ultra-hammy tots who tepidly clap while Grace is all, "Good luck, Jo!" and then beats a hasty retreat. LOL. Jo tells the kids that she'll be educating them about the coffee trade in Brazil, and they groan unhappily and do their best to look as unengaged as possible.
When the bell rings at 3:00pm, the kids race out the door - just as Grace pops back into the classroom to ask Jo how her first day went [while she was off lollygagging in the teachers' lounge, I'll assume]. Jo says she feels like she bombed 'cause she wasn't able to hold the kids' interest, but Grace just chuckles and says that if she wasn't pranked or tortured in any real way, she can chalk it up to a good day.
Natalie returns home in a work-suit onesie and gabbles excitedly about her temp job at a dog food factory. Tootie says she remains incredulous that her best friend is choosing to slog it out at horrible manual labor jobs when she could be studying at Princeton - but Natalie says, on the contrary, she looooves all the real life experience she's getting as she mixes with the poorly educated who don't have teeth. Jo arrives home and glumly shares that her first day as a student teacher was a total bust, then notices a letter addressed to her from JTI, aka Jordan Technical Industries. Blair perks up at the mention of JTI, particularly when she learns that they're interested in scheduling a job interview with Jo, who she advises to seriously consider the offer. She wanks Jo about how hard she works and therefore deserves to reap the financial rewards of earning a college degree - but Jo just makes an ew face at the prospect of having a solitary-type job sitting in front of a computer all day and says she'd prefer a more person-to-person type of career. She digs in even after Blair points out that teachers get shitty pay, risk getting laid or knifed...and/or risk getting laid off because they were knifed. Har har.
The next day at school, Jo is trying to teach the kids math...and eventually manages to connect with them when she hands one kid a bunch of one dollar bills and gets them to develop problem-solving skills when they have to stretch their tiny brains to figure out what portion of the cash equals one-third.
At 12pm, Jo enters the teachers' lounge with her Scooby Doo lunchbox to mingle with the faculty. She asks them if they read the latest article in Teacher's Quarterly, and the jaded veterans roll their eyes and are all, "Aren't you adorable for reading professional literature and then expect to discuss it with us during lunch." Jo tells Grace about the letter she got from JTI, and Grace advises her to strongly consider doing anything other than teaching 'cause of the many drawbacks of the profession. When Jo points out that it can't be that bad 'cause she's been doing it for forty years, Grace explains that there wasn't much in the way of career choices for women when she was young...and urges Jo to take full advantage of all that the mid-80s has to offer a female college graduate.
Blair, Natalie, and Mrs. Garrett are helping Jo prepare the cake and cookies for Grace's retirement party. Blair wonders aloud why the school isn't shelling out their own money for the food, then lets out a dramatic sigh and not-so-subtly tells Jo that the school probably doesn't have the budget to give a forty year teaching veteran a decent farewell party. She implores Jo to not be rash about her career choice and to consider how nice it'd be to earn a salary that would allow her to help out her long-suffering mother financially...and Mrs. Garrett chimes in and agrees that teaching is "a hard road" with a lousy salary and a meagre pension. Jo says she's not actively looking to being a part of the working poor her entire life, then stares contemplatively into space as she mulls over the important choice that lays before her.
Jo arrives home and finds the JTI interviewer, Tom, waiting for her on the couch. Interesting that a recruiter at a technology firm conducts job interviews in the form of home visits. Jo tells him she's probably not right for JTI 'cause she's not sure she could adapt to a corporate culture and/or sit alone in front of a computer all day, so Tom assures her that JTI isn't a stuffy kind of place, and that she'd be working with a team of developers to put together educational programs. He says he looooves the fact that she has activist tendencies, along with a whole lot of drive and imagination. A startled Jo asks him if he's offering her a job based on this ninety second conversation, and he's all 'sure, why the hell not?' and says she's welcome to start her employment at JTI immediately after graduation.
Retirement party time! Grace thanks Jo for supplying the cake and cookies for her party, and Jo tells her about the JTI interview and says if she were to take the job she'd be developing educational programs...and that she has to call them back by 3pm if she plans on accepting. Grace looks impressed and says it sounds like a wonderful career opportunity - just as the principal asks for everyone's attention so he can congratulate Grace on somehow managing to slog it through a poverty wage level teaching career for the last forty years.
During class, one of Jo's students is reading aloud his report on World War II...and after the bell rings, the kid stays behind to ask Jo why there's war in the world. She's like, "Uh, that's going to take forever to explain", then anxiously looks over at the clock and sees that it's nearly 3pm. The kid's like, "Oh, OK" before dejectedly shuffling off - but Jo stops him, sits down with him, and starts to explain the concept of war...and by doing so, I can only assume, blows off her followup call with Tom at JTI.
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