Tag Archives: substitute teaching



It’s back to school time.  And though it’s just first weeks, I found myself subbing and surrounded by young people.  That led me to thinking…

It is amazing how the human body is designed.  This first came to my awareness when I broke my dominant right wrist back in 2011, in the depths of my brokenness.  Yes, pun intended.  Wouldn’t you know that I had to actually, really break something, to get my attention.

Anyway…I had an elbow cast which locked my arm at a right angle.  I couldn’t do much of anything with my right hand…couldn’t brush my teeth, fasten my bra, and even more personal self-care tasks.

All that made me think at the time of the miracle of engineering, by which we were put together.  It’s a God thing.  And it all came to mind when I thought about knees, this past week, as I watched kids rapidly run up and down three flights of stairs.

I was subbing for the Middle School, and I had stair duty.  The upper school really is upstairs.  At dismissal, the kids leave by the stairwell, and my spot was the mid-tier.  Hoo-boy.  You should see the way those kids go downstairs!  Those feet and knees move at super speed!  I used to go downstairs that way.  I remember.

Nowadays, I often go down the steps one at a time with the same foot.  Mostly, it’s slow, sometimes I go right left, but I always hold a rail.  I have a fear of pitching forward.  It’s all in the knees.  And the quads.  I’m fairly light.  I’m fairly agile.  But…hello, 70.  Body parts just wear out.  Knees and legs don’t lift the body, or let the body down, as it were, like they used to.  Falling is a reality.

It’s good to notice what used to be, and appreciate a good working body that is now.  The kids next door and my nieces and nephews remind me of agility and the spontaneity of life.  As for me,  I just want to be able to move, yes literally move through the rest of  my life.  Oh, welcome back to school!




“Who are you?”


I get asked this question often.  Actually, I have been asked this question everyday for the last two weeks at the school where I substitute.  It makes me feel a little like a person with Associative Identity Disorder, which actually is not really funny, but I digress.  You see, I will sub for any grade level in that school, and it goes from the three-year-old pre-school class right on up to eighth grade.

The past two weeks, I have been the Computer Lab teacher, one of the three-year-old classes’ teachers, the teacher of 8th grade English, Literature, and History, which also includes 6th and 7th grade History, and 6th grade Lit.  (Not much difference between the 3’s and the middle schoolers, by the way.)  Then I got a Pre-K class gig (age 4), and next week, I am in the Kindergarten.

Since it has now become a joke at school when I am asked, “Who are you,” I decided that this life of mine should be a television sit-com.  Really, it wouldn’t be any odder than a weekly show about a bunch of science geeks or one about a “blackish” family.  Since it is my very own show, I get to do the casting.

The name of my show is, Who Am I on Monday?  I choose Sandra Bullock to play ME.  Pretty good choice, huh?  Can’t you just see Sandra dressed to the nines, showing up to school for Field Day, and being assigned the Dunk Tank?  Or, her ending up leading a class of first graders on a Field Trip and having a kid get his head stuck between the iron bars of a fence.   As a matter of fact, both of those have happened to me in real life, but I think Sandra Bullock would do it better than I did.

In real life, some days are diamonds, and some days are stones.  They are all hilarious, after the fact, and with the distance of time, though.   For now, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Well, maybe I would change me into Sandra Bullock.  On second thought, maybe not.

Middle Schoolers, not your ordinary human beings…


First of all, let me begin by saying I have a middle school niece and nephew that I love dearly.  They are so remarkable, it wrenches my heart.  Ordinary, they are not.

They go to our neighborhood school which is private and Catholic.  This school is also remarkable.  There are eleven classes ranging from 3 year-olds up to eighth grade.  The school has incredibly caring and hard-working teachers and administrators, an award-winning curriculum, and an immaculately well-kept facility.  The parents are warm, friendly, and supportive.  Each day begins and ends with prayer.

Having the teachers gather to pray every morning before school is a brilliant stroke of genius, in my opinion.  As a thirty-eight year veteran of teaching in the public school system, I know how much prayer can do to get you through the day!  I taught all grades one through eight in my career.  I prayed independently and silently every day.  I know for a fact, I would never have survived without prayer.

Fast forward to this past week, when I substituted for the English and Religion teacher of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at St. Leo’s.  Let me tell you, it was not sparkles and rainbows.

These are good kids, but they are not ordinary.  These people eat well.  Most of the boys are significantly taller than I am.  Their feet are long, not unlike water skis.  The girls are tall, too, and have an endless number of things to talk about.  (I can relate.)  The boys have booming, breaking voices.  The things they think are funny are puzzling to me, while they find them hysterical.  They must all breakfast on coffee and chocolate and Fruit Loops.  Their energy levels are off the charts!

Oh, my.  I did survive.  After some recovery time, I may have flourished.  That remains to be seen, but right now, I am just worn out.  I’ll be going back next week, and thank God I have a weekend to recoup and regroup.  Yes, middle schoolers are a species unto their own, and I do have prayer.  Alleluia and Amen.