I had a sub last Tuesday. Usually, I can tell by the length of the note how much I will like the guest teacher (which is what we call them round these parts). In my eyes, there is a direct correlation between the length and detail of the note and the quality of the sub. Obviously there are exceptions. Outliers, as our big-haired training lady called them. I once had a sub chronicle, in painstaking detail, every single wrong-headed move, right down to not rating the classes. She claimed she didn’t want to be “judgmental.” I have spoken before about the secret weapon, the 1-10 rating, I give all my subs. A concept so simple, yet so effective, that I can’t believe I had to steal it. And she didn’t deploy it. She hasn’t been back.

About five years ago, I had a former student sub for me:

So I get back on Monday, and I read the note. It’s a bit skimpy; I like a lot of details in my sub notes, but…ok. Two classes got nines, one eight (living dangerously), and two tens. Not bad. I never believe it when they all get tens.  Then I look at the name, and a bell goes off. I ask the kids,”

“So how was Mr. B.?”

“He was awesome! We told him that you sometimes kicked our desks when we weren’t paying attention, and about your stick. He said, ‘Like this?’ and threw Jake’s desk across the room. Luckily Jake was absent. The teacher from the room next door is weird.”

“What does that have anything to do with anything?”

“When he threw the desk, it hit the wall, and he was sort of making a lot of noise. She came in and told him to be quiet. Then we did the test. He showed us a picture of his fiance. He was awesome.”

“Did he follow the plan?”

“I guess.”

The note from Tuesday’s sub was a solid two pager. Nice. Let’s break it down.

  1. Hahahahahaha. She fell for the “PLEASE ENTER THROUGH THE OTHER DOOR” joke! Hahahahahaha. She actually admitted it! She even said that another teacher “helped her.” And the best part is, she thought that it was funny!
  2. Looks like the plan was followed… although there were some answers given away. No worries; that’s allowed for. Looks like things took a lot longer than usual. Also figured into the plan.
  3. Uh oh. Gave 4th period less than an 8, but didn’t call out any specific hooligans on the seating chart. Now I gotta get them to give up whom she meant by “some boys.” Not difficult, but I shouldn’t hafta do it.
  4. GOLD! Something new. Something I will probably steal. She took the idea of the 1-10 rating, and raised it to the next level, making it look like an “app” or something. She called it the Good-o-Meter! I like it. I like it a lot.


I have no class second period. That’s my aide rolling the meter over a few times on her own behalf.

All in all, the Good-o-Meter rating for this sub is… 9.0, including a bonus for the invention of the Good-o-Meter.

She’ll be back.