substitutes

When Tina Fey creates a television show based on my life and career as a teacher, I think a sub-plot should revolve around substitute teachers.   I have the utmost respect for these individuals.  They are called in, mostly at the very last minute, to conduct an unruly class of teenagers that the regular teacher is barely able to contain.  Below are my favorite tales of substitute teachers:

1.  Donald Driver:  Last year several of my 9th grade students came into class one day very proud.  They were so talkative that I had no choice but to get involved.  Fortunately for me, they decided to brief me on the following events.  A student, we’ll call him “Matt”, was acting particularly difficult for a sub the day before.  When she decided to write him up and send him out of class, she asked for his name.  Without hesitation, he told her “Donald Driver”.  Unless you are an avid NFL fan, or from Greenbay, you may not be aware that Donald Driver is a player for the Greenbay Packers.  The sub did not know this either.  To this day, Donald Driver has a discipline record at our school.

2.  Windows:  It is often necessary to monitor the progress (and safety) of subs in surrounding classrooms.  One day when I heard quite a roar of laughter and yelling coming from my absent colleague’s classroom, I stepped in to see if there was anything I could do.  When I walked in, I saw something that resembled a crime scene.  A desk with work on it, a book bag, a sub on the phone, and an open window.  What I learned was that one student refused to wait to use the restroom…so she crawled out the window.  Luckily we are on the 1st floor.

3.  There was a time last school year when our new building was still under construction, so many teachers shared classrooms.  This meant that during my planning period, there was another teacher holding class in my room.  It was inconvenient, but it worked.  On days when that teacher had a sub, I tried to find another place to do my planning.  It was just awkward.  One day I had to step back into the classroom for some papers.  Imagine my surprise when I found 20 teenagers and no teacher.  So I waited a few minutes, but no one came.  Finally I asked one of the students if they had a teacher, and he said “Yes, she went to get a magazine.”  (He was Latino, so read that with a Spanish accent)  I called the office to let them know what was going on, and it wasn’t until twenty minutes later that the sub returned.  Thinking that I had just walked in, she had the audacity to lie and say that she “just stepped out to the restroom.”  I wish I could say that she doesn’t sub for us anymore…

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