Life After…Go figure

A Narrative of Life Outside The Box

Why Substitute Teachers Need a Union (or a suitcase full of cafineated lizards)

(Note: this letter to parties unlikely to read it is based on a composite experience of subbing in two separate states)

Dear Principal ___

I worked at your school, ____high perhaps 15-20 times before the fateful day you summoned me into your Cavern of Hypocrisy office. On the day of your Summons you informed me that “several” teachers had complained that I had taken their classes so off track that their students’ performance and progress was irrevocably damaged. You refused to tell me which teachers had complained. You also refused to explain how, since I had never covered the same teacher’s class more than once, an hour and a half with ME had delayed every person in each 35-student class to the point where their academic progress was irrevocably stunted. You then defended the choice of your school secretary to treat students and substitute teachers alike–as raw sewage streaming into a wedding. You finished with a smile worthy of a minion in the eighth circle of Hell (Human Resources) and a suggestion that maybe I wasn’t “up to High School and should work in an easier setting like Middle School.”

Well. Here is a list of what I actually prevented in the classes I covered:

Students attempting to irreparably damage school property (desks, chairs, library books, textbooks, computers,ceramic equipment)
Students attempting to damage the finished work (research, papers, art projects) of their peers
Students throwing objects larger than a pencil sharpener.
Students using profanity above the level of R movies. (mostly by resorting to: “Dude! I’ve got nothing but love for the F word BUT NOT ON SCHOOL GROUNDS!”)
Students logging onto porn sites.
Students playing with hand tools.
Students attacking other students physically.
Students pretending to reach orgasm in class.
(possibly) Students actually achieving orgasm in class. (Personally, I’m with Austin in Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff. “Some loud noises are more convincing than others.”)

You also suggested I “spend time in the faculty break room and listen to the experienced teachers.”
Now, I always meant to ask which teachers you meant. Was it the antisemitic who was actively fighting to restore prayer in public schools?
Was it the woman who teaches Chaucer but can’t read middle english?
Or was it perhaps the music teacher, who, when informed I would be covering his class–I was right in front of him; literally, introduced–locked all of his desk drawers, computers and cabinets, before unplugging every synthesizer in his classroom?

I’m sending you this “Congratulations!” card, Principal____ because some time ago, I read in the local paper that you were starting at the town Middle School. Now I appreciate all your perky comments about looking forward to the change and the positive nature of the challenge. I do. But come on…really? Even as a substitute I know that school administrators in this general region would rather eat hot leaden caltrops coated in strychnine before they transferred from a High to a Middle school position.

Anyway, I guess that you found your talents more suited to a simpler arena…like Middle School, and I wish you all the joy in the world.

Now I just need to send a condolence card to every child enrolled at ____Middle School. Any idea what shade of black roses they’d find most comforting?


Substitute Teacher


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2 thoughts on “Why Substitute Teachers Need a Union (or a suitcase full of cafineated lizards)

  1. Are you serious???? This is too funny! How in the world did I find it!

    I appreciate this because at my school the substitutes love working for the 9th grade floor. They say I make it easy, and I am so supportive. I am the 9th grade leader of the floor.

    I tell the kids that if you make it hard for the sub then I will make it harder on you. It is like a guess coming to your house. The expectations should be even higher. You should be showing your best-not your worst!

    This is the way I think!

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