Before I get back to the district assessment scoring day, I have to give props to the sub (sorry, guest teacher) who filled in while I was eating snacks and reading papers and “calibrating.”

The scene when I announce that I will be gone on a particular day plays out the same almost every time. The following is from last year when I went to my units’ 50 anniversary, but it could be from any time in  the last 19 years.

 There’s a mixture of yeas and ooohs. I always play it up,

“I see how it is. I’ll miss you guys too…”

Then there’s the chorus of,

“You should get ______. (S)he is the best!” (Insert three or four names of pushover-type “guest teachers” who resort to videos or games of Heads Up Seven Up.)

Then there’s me saying,

“I never request a particular sub, sorry–guest teacher; you guys will have to learn to cope with whomever they send at you. Sometimes they will send you a bonehead. In your life you will sometime, no doubt, have a bonehead for a boss. But guess what? He’s still the boss! So the watchwords are: silence and respect. If you end up with a bonehead, let me know, and he won’t be back. But you better be better for the sub than you are for me.”


“I believe I said, ‘You better be better for the sub than you are for me.’ I was a sub back in the day, so I know from subbing. I’ll just share with you the first thing I put in my sub plan every time I’m gone: Kick _ss and take names.”


“Stop. I give them a seating chart, and if you’re a pain in the heinie, all they have to do is put a little mark next to your name, and when I get back, you’re…well let’s just say that it won’t be pretty. Plus I have them rate each class on its behavior and cooperation on a scale of 1-10. You get anything less than an eight, and I go old-school on you:

‘I must be obedient and respectful for the guest teacher.’ Fifty times. Hand-written. Capitals, periods, whole nine yards. Whole class… ”

“No way.”

“Way. Unless, I guess, you guys give up whoever was the real culprit…”


“Of course, if you get a ten, there’s a reward.”

“Yea! Candy!”

“Then you woke up. Something way better, but I’m not going to tell you now. I want you to be especially jealous of the classes that earn it.” (The classes that receive tens don’t have to do the KBARR response that week–it gets them out of a page of writing, and once the other classes find out, they are literally green with envy.)

Want I want from a sub are two things:  Follow the PLAN, and LEAVE A DETAILED NOTE.

Ok, three things. I also want the kicking ass and taking names part. But not everyone can do that, so you had better LEAVE A DETAILED NOTE, so I can kick it myself when I get back.

The guy I had for this gig doesn’t know from kicking ass, but he does leave a good note. And this time he did a little belly dance for the word sinuous…”just like you did…ewww!”

“And he used your pointer-finger stick! Luckily he couldn’t find your real stick.”

It turns out Mr. K has subbed for me before, and knew from my stick collection. The pointer finger is a small plastic hand pointing, attached to a one-foot stick. A nice little change-up from the heavy duty lumber. I’ll have my servant take some pics tomorrow.

Excerpts from Mr. K’s fine note:

(arrow pointing at a PITA kid on one seating chart) “Edgy kid – I like his spirit.” Uh huh. Edgy, as in puts you on edge. Or you want to push him off the edge of a cliff.

(arrow pointing at Tami, the subject of our previous post) “She is some trip!” Yup. To Venus.

(re: my sportiest class) “This group was a bit more rowdy – I think I was a bit overly friendly and relaxed at the start…” Read and learn kids. The wily veterans already know this one: You can always get nicer. It doesn’t work the other way nearly as well. Luckily for Mr. K, help was at hand.

“…but your ‘pointer finger thingie’ came to the rescue (where is your STICK?)”

The kids version:

“He started banging it on Larry’s desk, and poking it at people who weren’t being quiet, and…”

(Me) “Did it work?”


Back to the note:

“How do you cover all this in one class?” That’s why I get the big money , baby. No actually, I always overplan for the sub, so there is no room for “idle hands.” I assume they won’t get through everything, and if they actually do in a class or two, I will need to review it anyway.

“I know my handwriting is awful…”  It ain’t nothing, I’ve seen lots worse… I teach junior high.

And finally,

“Are you actually reading all these ramblings?”

Every word.