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Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I can honestly say that I can’t remember a single time I had a substitute teacher when I attended grade school. I know there must have been a few times where our regular teacher wasn’t there and someone else was in front of the class. I simply don’t remember any.

It may have been so long ago that I “forgot” due to the onset of early Alzheimer’s (aka: “Old Timers”) disease. I don’t remember.

Maybe it’s due to the fact that I went to a Catholic school where all the teachers dressed alike, in long black and white dresses with a ship’s prow shaped habit that hid all but “the face”. I simply don’t remember any “substitute nun”.

Most of the kids I substitute for don’t remember my real name but there are some who call out “Hi, Mr. Homework” when I arrive on campus. If I’ve been in the class more than twice, I can usually “recognize the face” and more likely than not can’t place the name to go with it.

So it was last week, on the way out to my 5th grade classroom, that I was confronted by a friendly pint sized boy asking: “Are you a substitute?”

Me: Well, yes I am.
Kid: Are you Mr. Homework?

Me: Well, some kids call me that. What’s your name?
Kid: (He tells me but I forgot now. See how bad I am?...)

Me: What grade are you in?
Kid: I’m in 1st grade and I know all about you. You write letters on the board when the kids are bad and give them lots of homework, huh!

Me: Well sometimes... How did you know?
(…Since I haven’t subbed any class under 2nd grade at this school, I’m wondering where this kid is getting his information.)

Kid: My sister is in 4th grade and told me all about you. Are you coming to my class?
Me: Not today.

Kid: Awww! She said you were fun. I wish we had a substitute today.
Me: “Well, maybe next time…”, as I continue out to my classroom.

I wonder how long it’ll take for the memory of “Mr. Homework” to fade. I’m guessing not much longer than June 13, 2008…the last day of school this year.

Substitutes aren’t meant to be memorable.


HappyChyck said...

It's difficult to remember people that you meet once--whatever your age or occupation!

I think it's rather exciting that you have a reputation that precedes you at that school. Doesn't it make your job a tad easier?

rattln along said...

gee, she thought you were fun. So much so that she passed on the information to her brother. What a great reference from a student.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

A good teacher is just that. I remember one of my HS subs. He flew torpedo bombers in the Pacific and had all sorts of stories to tell. Nothing like a living history lesson. I don't remember his name but I do remember his enthusiasm and the stories. And the hearing aids... Those planes had little to protect the hearing...