I had a sub a week or so ago who went off plan.


Dear Guest Teacher,

If you are a noob teacher, out there subbing (sorry, guest teachering) your heart out and trying get a foothold on a full time gig, and you’re reading this?

Don’t do that. We don’t forget.

If you’re just someone who likes the freedom of subbing and doesn’t really need the full time work, but likes a semi-regular sub gig?

Don’t do that. You aren’t coming back.

Now it’s a completely different story if you are left holding the metaphorical bag with not a plan in sight beyond “Study Hall” or “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Feel free to bust all the moves you want and then some. Break out your guitar. Photocopy a class set of the front page of the Smell A Times. Steal that class set of Weekly Readers out of the SPED teacher’s box. Make sure to put (most of) them back. Make them draw their vocab words for the week, and then do Pictionary. No vocab in that class? (GASP!) Open their book and start calling out key terms.

Group Nap anyone?

Yes. My name is Mr. Coward and I did all those things as a “guest teacher.” But things like that only happened in classes where I was left without a plan.

Remember, the kids will rat you out in a heartbeat, so if there is a plan it better be followed. To the letter.

And leave a good, detailed note. We know that “Everything was fine, no problems,” is a lie. And a lazy one at that. We want the juicy details. You can’t pretend you didn’t have to tell Jimmy to shut up fourteen times, because that’s the minimum number of times it has to be done WHEN I AM THERE. We want the good ones reported too. They shouldn’t have to rat out the boneheads; that’s your job.

As a sub, my reports were legendary. And I know that they were one of the factors (22 years ago) that led to my current teaching gig.

Follow the plan and do the paperwork.

We don’t forget.



SO… This sub thought that since the kids finished their Friday test a bit early, he would do some Outsiders reading. OMG. We don’t read Fridays. And we especially don’t read Outsiders when I’m not there. We were talking about it a few days later…

“We tried to tell him…”

“He tried to do voices, but they were all so squeaky, we couldn’t understand.”

“Then he went monotone. Sooo boring, I stopped paying attention. I don’t even know where we are.”

(me) “How is that any different from usual?”


“And he didn’t read the “he saids” or anything. It was weird.”

(me) “That is a bit weird.”

“I know! But it was still boring. Weird huh?”

“It’s just not the same when it’s not you.”

(me) “Awww.”

“AND… he didn’t stop and point out important stuff that would be on the test.”

(me) “So the truth comes out! So that’s your excuse, huh? That’s why the wheels fell off the cart on the Outsiders part of the test last week? When I wanted to reread those parts he read that day, you told me, “We read that!” in your annoying voices, and wouldn’t let me go back over it.”


“Can we read Outsiders now?”