Just when I thought my family had dodged the Big Sickness bullet this year, yours truly came in at the bottom of the ninth with a gnarly stomach flu.
Can we talk about how being absent from one’s classroom (and one’s life in general… minus that corner of the bathroom where you have remained curled up in close proximity of the toilet for the last 48 hours) is probably worse than the actual sickness that caused one to be absent? Maybe I am a control freak, but NO SUBSTITUTE IS GOOD ENOUGH. On any front.
Honestly, the drama of sub plans…the necessary photo copying utilizing a photo copier that never seems to function except for six hours prior to the full moon…and the drama of subs is simply not worth it. One time, I returned to my classroom after being absent for a day to find that the sub had re-done my students conferring schedule and seating and “revised” many of my anchor charts (read: crossed things out and inserted batshit crazy nonsense). Um, what? You are there to hold down the fort, friend, not re-do the fort. The fort was fine. Actually, the fort was better than fine and I expected the fort to be returned to me in a similar condition.
Disclaimer: I am painting substitute teachers with broad strokes here that are based on my own personal
shenanigans experience. (See here and here for a sampling.) I know there must be subs out there who are crushing it. Sadly I have never met one of these individuals. They must be like the Loch Ness Monsters of education.
In every school I travel to, the teachers have pet names for the regular subs that come to their buildings. And by pet names, I really mean somewhat nice names that identify a sub by their particular brand of crazy. (Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you can get someone to do an impression.) Some of my favorites include:
The Dunce Cap (Who earned this name because she advocated for students to wear a DUNCE CAP. In 2015. Really.)
Pajama Pants (Self explanatory and simultaneously sad.)
Beardy McBeardface (There are not enough men in elementary education. Also, there are clearly not enough razors, clippers or whatever you use to keep facial hair in check in this man’s home.)
Big Purse (What is in that thing?)
That Guy Who Smells Vaguely of Farts (Again, self-explanatory and more evidence for why we need more dudes.)
Needless to say, I am playing catch up on many fronts. Just picture me doing 538 loads of laundry while answering emails, drafting a blog post, composing a grocery list and planning a small group on text features. You know, the usual.