Sunday, March 04, 2007


Last week I had to miss a day of school. It's really no big deal to miss one or two days a year so I went through the usual motions and left very detailed lesson plans for my substitute. The reason I left such detailed plans is that I think substitutes have an extremely difficult job, perhaps even more difficult than a teacher's job. They come to school with no more than an hours notice and have to basically babysit 150 + kids for almost 7 hours. It's no easy task. I've heard so many others say that a substitute has such an easy job because usually teachers just give students busy work while they're gone leaving the sub with the excruciatingly stressful job of sitting at the teacher's desk reading the latest Danielle Steele or John Grisham novel. This is not the way I see it. I know most substitutes don't read romance/mystery novels all day. They are constantly keeping the kids from talking/touching/teasing each other and trying to focus them on their work. They have to field a barrage of questions completely unrelated to anything all while trying to enforce rules that, for some crazy reason, students don't feel apply when the teacher isn't there. So let me make this clear, I have full respect for substitutes...unless...

On the day I returned, I learned that my particular substitute had not instructed the students to do their work. Instead, the substitute chose to sit at the front of the room and lecture them about how to head a paper in the "real world" for 45 minutes. Not only that but on my lesson plans, I remind them of some unwritten, in class rules. Rules like "do not open the window because there is no screen protecting students from a 20 foot drop to the concrete below." Well, as I drove by the school that day, coming back from an appointment, guess what I saw? The window was wide open and a student was leaning out of it. (NO JOKE!) When I came back the next day, I found out that the substitute had opened it because he/she wanted a breeze to blow through the room. I cringed as I heard this. Part of me wonders if my students are telling the truth and part of me wonders where on earth this substitute came from.

So anyway, I was left to pick up the pieces the day I returned, and eventually I caught up to where I needed to be in my calendar. I guess the only point to my rambling is that you just never know what to expect as a teacher. Most subs are fantastic but every now and then you get one that even drives the students nuts.


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