The life of a substitute teacher can be surprising. Calls may come through for upcoming dates allowing for orderly planning and a clear expectation of responsibility. Calls can also come through at the last moment and they can carry surprises.
Substitute teachers may well be accredited for a particular subject area, but that doesn’t always mean that’s what they end up teaching. Just last week Jim had been hired well in advance to cover for the high school science teacher. Since Jim is a bit of a Renaissance man, he was quite happy to be teaching his pet subject. For the first time ever, he was free to expound on all things scientific and get paid for it. He had a lot of fun and I just bet those kids were pretty surprised that they had a substitute who was knowledgable, engaged, eloquent and quite interesting. Did I also mention loquacious?
It can, however, go the other way as well. Take Monday for instance. The phone rang around 6:30 a.m. and suddenly Mr. Chips was The White Shadow. Our favorite English teacher was called to take over for the girls high school phys ed teacher! Okay, so that isn’t quite the plot of the tv series, but I can take liberties.
He dashed around the house assembling his wardrobe and in the end he looked just like a gym teacher! He even found his whistle!
Of course, just because you look the part, it doesn’t mean you get the role. No sooner did Jim arrive at school looking the very image of the puissant phys ed instructor, he was reassigned. Reassigned to teach Italian! All he could really say was, “Do I get to keep the whistle?”