The Sassy Housewife is weekly advice column on Momaha.com by Danielle Herzog. She’ll cover the adventures in housewifery — from parenting, entertaining and recipes to the interests of a been-there-done-that and somewhat-know-it-all wife. Sassy Housewife runs every Saturday. Have a question for her? Email email@example.com
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Dear Sassy Housewife,
I’m an elementary school teacher who is about to celebrate 10 years of teaching. I love the kids, the other teachers and the staff. However, the one thing that I can’t stand is Parent-Teacher conferences. Not because I don’t like talking to with the parents, but because I hate shaking everyone’s hand. I meet with more than 20 parents in one night and I get grossed out thinking of all the germs passed from person to person. How can I be polite and reject their handshake?
Dear Grossed Out In Grade School,
Being a former teacher, I completely relate to the dread of parent-teacher conferences. However, mine was because I hated telling parents that their son can’t stop scratching his private parts in public or that their daughter can’t tell me she has her period every day so she can meet her friends in the bathroom. I never thought about the hand-shaking aspect of it, but now I suddenly feel a need to Purell my entire body.
With that said, here’s an idea – keep something in both of your hands at all times. For example, a pen in one hand and a file folder in the other. Then, when they enter the classroom, you can just motion to them to sit down and not have to actually exchange hand touching salutations.
If that doesn’t work and they outstretch their hand anyway, perhaps simply say, “I have a little cold right now and would hate to pass it on to you.” Then I recommend adding a fake sneeze or cough, one with head shaking and a big sigh afterwards, to really bring the point home.
If that still doesn’t work and they say it’s OK to shake their hand when sick, I recommend shaking it with the most limp, pathetic handshake possible. Once they feel something like that, I guarantee they won’t want to shake it again. However, they might also then think you are super weak and wimpy. It’s a toss up with that one. You’ll have to decide which is worse – germs or judgment. I’m going with germs.
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Danielle Herzog, a married mother to two, blogs for momaha every Wednesday. She taught middle and high school students and served as a student counseling advisor in the Washington D.C. area prior to moving to Omaha. She was a project manager for the Washington D.C.-area’s Boys and Girls Club and is currently completing her master’s degree in counseling at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.