Friday, March 27, 2009
A pool of Substitutes: throw that one back
Walking down the hallway, I spied a "let say" very interesting man sitting in a student desk in the hallway. By sitting down, I mean crammed so tightly in there that he seemed to be bulging from the top of the desk. If you put a 250 lb. bullfrog into a suit and put him in a school desk; this is what he would look like. The desk was so crammed that the bolts holding it together seemed to be strained to a popping point. He had a huge pompadour of sprayed hair and was almost screaming into his cell phone. A substitute you ask? Is it Friday? Is this person a bit on the odd side? Oh yes, we have a substitute teacher sighting in E Hallway. I don't mean to knock people who do a job I myself avoid like the plague. Substitutes get no respect but a whole plethora of abuses thrown at them by students who will and try to do anything disruptive at all possible. When I cover a class for a fellow teacher, the first thing I do is flash my ID badge at the class, tell them what I teach and definitely make it known that I am not a substitute. In other words, I have names and numbers to call and the email to document any behaviors that I don't like. I've worked in several schools and two different districts but we do seem to have some of the strangest subs this year. One poor woman shuttles down the hallway like she's avoiding sniper fire and drags a fully loaded teacher cart of books and papers. One guy has a long braided beard, at least eight piercings in each ear and looks more like he should be juggling bowling pins at a renaissance fair rather than subbing in a World Geography class. My favorite is the extremely fussily three piece suit, overdressed sub who walked into my class during a lecture and interrupted me by announcing that I needed to fix his VCR right then. I did it because I'm a nice person. Did he say thank you? Oh no. When his class erupted into chaos thirty minutes later, I picked up my phone and called the AP's. Oh well. It may have been petty and I could have left my class alone again to help him but manners go a long way with me. He subs quite often and his classes erupt just as frequently. Has his demeanor improved? Oh no. Why is he still subbing? Who knows? There is this telepathy that seems to exist with the teachers on my hallway when we know that there is a sub. We all subtly notice the sub, pass the word around and try to maintain a discreet watch over the classroom. When the "interesting" subs come off the elevator, little warning flags seem to unfurl above our heads with the raising of eyebrows in disbelief sometimes. Like I said, I wouldn't want to be a substitute. It's a paycheck at best to some I'm sure. But where in the world do these people come from?