Stories of a Sub.

0As I’ve mentioned before, I occasionally substitute teach in our district. So far, I’ve only chosen to sub in middle schools, and it has worked out great. Mostly because middle schoolers are at their peak awkwardness. And yes, my header is a little dramatic…my experience subbing for these little devils has not been reminiscent of a creepy murder scene. However, they can be challenging at times to say the least. Here’s a little chronicle of some of my more interesting experiences thus far.

Best lunchbox ever. Everyone needs a PackIt.

First of all, every school I substitute in has morning announcements during 1st period. They start with the pledges, and EVERY TIME, I say the Texas pledge wrong. Want to know why? They CHANGED IT since I was in school! It is now, “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.” Apparently it changed in 2007 with the addition of “one state under God.” Who knew?  Well every middle school student I guess because I’m the only person that jacks it up every morning. Note: Learn the pledge.

I love when teachers leave me seating charts because I can call kids by name, and it totally freaks them out. Sometimes, albeit rarely, all it takes is a “Jimmy, stop talking!” and the rest of class I have a quiet, wide-eyed boy who’s mesmerized that I mysteriously know his name. A few weeks ago, I subbed for a teacher who added descriptives next to students on her seating chart…perhaps to help her remember who was who early in the year? It was very entertaining for me because the adjectives included: best, smart, sweet, tall, amazing, weird, fun, colorful, random, and another tall. I think weird, best, and tall were my favorites. Note: They were all very accurate.

I did love that teacher’s seating charts but not her grammar…she used the wrong ‘there’ on her instructions! Ugh. She wrote: “Turn in their papers when THEIR done.” Gross. If you’re teaching our future generation, you should at least be able to figure out there, their, and they’re! And your and you’re for that matter! Get it together teachers. (Also, now that I’ve complained about grammar on my blog, I’m sure I’ll make a huge error soon.) Note: Proofread posts multiple times.


One morning, as I was reviewing my assignment for the day, I saw a small carton on the teacher’s desk. I tipped it towards me and saw it was full of small black and white spheres with red lights. I set it back down on the desk, and suddenly all of the red lights lit up and the spheres started beeping. Y’all, my immediate thought was that they were bombs, and the teacher hated her job and students, so she planted bombs and called in a sub to do her dirty work. I was seconds from sprinting out of the classroom when they stopped beeping and lit up different numbers. I then realized they were dice. Crisis averted. Does anyone else jump to the worst possible scenario possible first? Note: Stop overreacting.

My face half time time I’m subbing trying to figure out these kids…

Whenever I take attendance each period, I always try my best to pronounce each student’s name correctly. Growing up, subs always pronounced Ali like Muhammad Ali. I understand that they’re spelled the same, but to this day I get mail addressed to Mr. Ali…awkward. Anyway, while taking attendance one day, I reached the last name on the sheet, and it was: Abcde. I said, “Is someone’s name in here actually A-B-C-D-E or is this a typo?” A girl replied, “Oh, that’s me! It’s Ab-suh-dee.” Obviously. Note: Sound it out? (But not, because then I would have said Ab-kuh-duh.)

In that same class, a 7TH GRADE boy came up to me and asked what we were doing for the day. That wasn’t so out of the ordinary. What was awkward was the fact that he looked me in the eyes and asked me while picking his nose. We’re talking finger halfway up the nostril, digging for gold, totally unashamed. I somewhat awkwardly responded that it was a free day, and he strolled over, dislodged his finger, and started typing on the class computer. Note: Always bring hand sanitizer when subbing.

Until next time…

Black all caps siggy

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Stories of a Sub

StoriesofaSubToday, I had my first assignment as a substitute teacher! I subbed for an 8th grade Social Studies class, and let me tell you…a LOT has changed since I left middle school. Granted that was 10 years ago (what?!), and I was in a bubble with about 15 other nerds in an advanced program. Either I was may more naïve than I realized (probably the case), or kids are exponentially more mature these days. Or perhaps they aren’t more mature, they’re just discussing MUCH more mature subject matter. I didn’t even know about some of the stuff they were talking about today, and I’m almost twice their age!

Figured I’d review some memories of the day, so I’ll never forget my first day of subbing. 🙂

Super official with my sub badge.

1) Without fail, every class spent several minutes pestering me about how old I was and trying to guess my age. “You’re married?! How old are you??”, “Are you even old enough to be our teacher?”, etc. I generally just pushed off the questions with, “I’m old enough to be your substitute. Work on your assignment!” However, one class kept pushing and were shouting out what they thought my age was. Then the following conversation occurred:

Class: “21? 24? 26? 22?”

Boy: “My mom’s 26!”

Me: “Aren’t you 13 years old?”

Boy: “Oh! I mean my lesbian mom!”

Me: “So not your birth mother?”

Boy: “Nope! My birth mother’s 40! Her partner is 26 though! I actually have 3 moms! My dad’s girlfriend is 32!”

Me: “Okay class, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. Back on task, please.”

I thought kids had learned how to filter what comes out of their mouths by middle school, but I guess not.

2) No matter how many times I reminded everyone of my name, all anyone ever called me was ‘Miss.’ “Hey Miss, can you help me?” “Miss, how your hair so long?” (I never knew how to answer that…because it grew?) “Miss, can I go to the bathroom?” My last name is one syllable. It’s not like it’s difficult to pronounce. Has this always been a thing? I always remember utilizing my teachers’ last names growing up. And what do they call their male teachers/subs? Sir? Mister? Man? Very odd.

3) In 3rd period, the school had the morning announcements over the intercom. About 20 minutes after the announcements, I heard a beep over the intercom, and then someone said, “Excuse me.” I assumed someone had accidentally leaned on the button in the front office and wittily replied, “You’re excused,” thinking no one could hear me but the students. Moments later, the intercom replied, “Umm, I’m sorry. If Theresa is in this classroom please send her to the office.” The students then explained to me that the front office can intercom into any individual classroom to request a student to come to the office. Hopefully they just thought it was a kid being a smart aleck and not the substitute? Oops.

4) You’d think since the students thought I was so young, they would realize that it hasn’t been THAT long since I’ve been out of school. Each class presented a new way of trying to trick me including the following:

  • While trying to explain what it would be like for them to be in a foreign or unfamiliar place, I used the example of them being in China. One boy quickly replied, “Well I was born in China, Miss!” I instantly asked, “Oh how interesting! In what city?” He immediately blushed and stopped talking as his classmates giggled. SHUT DOWN.
  • Trying to creatively stack and prop open books and notebooks to hide their cell phones from my view.
  • Acting like they were working on their assignment when they were really staring at their phone in their lap. Do they not realize how obvious it is when they stare at their crotch for 15 minutes without looking up?
  • “Miss, he lets us use our phones in class!” Oh really? Then why does that huge sign on the wall say “PHONES SHOULD BE OFF AND OUT OF SIGHT” in bold, red letters?

Nice try kids, but you’ve gotta wake up PRETTY early to fool this girl. Lord, listen to me. I do sound old…maybe I’m not as young and hip as I think I am.

Anyway, all this to say, it was a long, interesting, eye-opening day. Perhaps next time I’ll try to get an assignment at an elementary school…they don’t have cell phones yet, right?

Siggy Autumn


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