When I was a kid and we had a supply teacher in our classroom, I used to cringe at the thought of how our eight hours together were going to unravel.
The substitutes who plugged in a movie or assigned “independent reading” were the ones who had clearly been in the industry enough years to have the good sense not to try to teach anything to anyone the day the regular teacher was away.
Something about having a supply teacher gave kids permission to act out.
It didn’t matter how engaging this person might be outside of the classroom which sometimes added to the problem because everyone in our small city knew each other and we often welcomed a former Sunday school/swimming instructor/Chinese food restaurant waitress as our supply teacher.
We might have exchanged pleasantries (or chicken balls) on the street moments earlier but when that person walked into our classroom the students were on the attack.
The supply always had an unpronounceable last name and went only by Mr. or Mrs. “G.” Now that I think about it, this discretion in revealing their identity might have been more about protecting their vehicle from a rogue egging.
Apparently, kids haven’t changed that much.
Yesterday, one of my daughters had a supply teacher in her class. I sighed and asked, “How was the day for your guest?”
Her response was no different from the days I remembered, “You mean, Miss ‘R’? I think it was okay. Two boys were playing with scissors. One snuck up on the other and cut his friend’s hair.”
“Oh and another boy puked on one of his friends on their way outside.”
I wonder how many drinks it took poor, unsuspecting Miss “R” to reconsider her choice of career.