Our tip of the day this time is from someone we haven’t heard from in a long while. In fact it’s been almost three years since this guest artist made his first and only appearance here. Since then he’s been spending a few years down under. And I don’t mean Australia. I mean 6th grade. But now he’s seen the light of day, and by luck there was a spot open again at our site, and so he’s back torturing both 7th and 8th graders in math (my boy included–who also had “mrJ” last year for 6th grade). And I’m back to stealing tips from him.

First go read his first appearance here.

Ok. On to the tip of the day.

I know that when I have subs (sorry, they’re called guest teachers at our school), I always tell them to leave a detailed note about how things went. I also tell them to kick ass and take names, and I leave seating charts to make that easy. And I hate it when I get something like this:

“All classes were great. Thanks for a great day. Hope to be back soon.”

You are never coming back.

Well mrJ had one of those subs the other day. And he knew that his classes were not “great,” just because you just know that sometimes. mrJ also knows that middle schoolers will also rat each other out at the drop of a hat.

So. (Artist’s recreation.)

“Well the sub left a note, and he said things didn’t go as smoothly as they should have.”


“He also said that there were three main ‘issues’ that were most of the problem.”

“What did he say they were?”

(If you remember that old “Got Milk?” ad from the early ’90s, you’ll know where this is headed.)

“Well, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you guys two minutes to think about your behavior yesterday. And if you can come up with the three things the sub was talking about, then I will go easy on you for being up-front, and admitting it.”

Hands start shooting up immediately. They don’t need no stinking two minutes to start pointing fingers.

“We were kind of uncooperative.”

“Hmmm. How so?”

“Well, when we were supposed to be getting out our homework, a lot of us weren’t.”

“Hmmm. Well, he didn’t say anything about that, but thanks for letting me know. What else do you have?”

“Jhonny threw a pencil, and then Jack hit him with a–”

“Interesting. But that wasn’t one of the things he mentioned.”

And so on, until they copped to each and every thing they even MIGHT have THOUGHT about doing. It must have been a beautiful thing to behold.

And then the icing on the cake. He read the note to them. This time it’s not an artist’s recreation, it’s word for word.

“Great class.”