I’ve spent the majority of my adult life supplementing my artist’s income as a substitute teacher. I have taught on both coasts, from kids young enough for diapers to seniors in high school. Any miserable, stupid, asinine thing that you once did to a substitute teacher has been done to me at least five times, and probably with more vitriol and aplomb than you could have ever fathomed when you were busy scribbling your plans on loose leaf paper ripped out of your NKOTB trapper keeper. Kids have gotten super creative.
But I also have enough drawings, handmade books, cards and hastily-assembled gifts to fill two small storage boxes and one large Trader Joe’s bag that I keep in my car because I would feel too guilty throwing them away. My first marriage proposal took place in a 6th grade classroom (where I was also served my first divorce papers when I later yelled at him… I still have that too, a very small piece of paper on which is angrily scrawled the word “devorse.”) Over the years, my students have unwittingly helped me though a tragic loss, a very scary cross-country move, and a failed engagement. Additionally, without my students, I would never have known that my very expensive designer jumpsuit “looks like pajamas,” or that it appears that I consistently forget to brush the back of my hair. Or, of course, anything about my computer. At all.
No one remembers my name because no one is ever listening when I announce it, and I have long since stopped writing it on the board because I could no longer bear to see the word “SUCKS” written underneath it. But, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. I speak for every sub who has ever tried to call attendance without butchering a single name (impossible), or taught an entire day with no lesson plans (likely), or had eight periods wherein they were instructed to repeatedly show the SAME first hour of the SAME MOVIE (just awful.)
And this is me having the last word.