Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Substitute

We have all had that one teacher that sticks out in our head. That one miserable individual you think came to school simply to torture little children for a few hours away from her normal bunny-boiling schedule. Sick twisted individuals that never got hired as real teachers, probably because they'd be better suited to be on Dateline NBC with Chris Hanson than putting smiles on young faces. I remember my nightmare substitute teacher well. Even remember her name, even though I can't remember the name of my best friend from that particular grade. For the sake of not calling out this individual, that surprisingly still has a job in the education system, let’s just call her Ms. Blah Blah.

Of course, she was unmarried. I mean, who would want to spend the rest of their waking life with this woman?.. She was the only teacher I had, whose icy cold stare alone had the ability to make me burst into tears. She even took away my star on the award board. My STAR!!! What kind of heartless bitch WAS this woman???.. I was a straight A student until I was in high school, never caused any behavioral disturbances in my entire educational career. And this woman was hell-bent on making me cry in front of the class.

It all started in kindergarten. She subbed maybe once or twice for my teacher that year. I spent naptime on my plastic cot with one eye open around this bitch on wheels. Then, she appeared again in first grade, when, if I am not mistaken my teacher got half the year off on maternity leave, so I was forced to deal with this heartless mutant. And then again in third grade. Sheesh! How does this woman still have a job??.. Are their no better candidates in the substitute pool than HER???.. It was always the highlight of my miserable days with her, when the bell would ring signaling the end of her reign.

When I graduated elementary school, I thought I had finally rid myself of Ms. Blah Blah. Then, one fateful day, as I strolled into my eighth grade algebra class, there she was. I had finally had it. I threw my hands up, excused myself to go to the clinic to get tested for Ebola or something crazy… and left. Never to see Ms. Blah Blah again.

That is the thing about substitutes. They are only supposed to be for a limited time. To fill in for the original, because lets face it, nothing really compares. In fact, I honestly believe in life that there are substitute people. I’m pretty sure I have even been one of them. We’re simply there to hold the place between the real thing and the next real thing. People treat us poorly, and do things to us they know damn well they could never get away with under normal circumstances… in a REAL relationship.

Some people may refer to such individuals as rebounds. I wouldn't necessarily use that term, because rebound would imply they helped me get past something. (And it’s never been my philosophy to get under someone to get over someone.) Instead, I think of them more as transition people to get us our next journey in life-- kinda like an Interim coach. They’re there during a crisis situation to fill in for the big guy til the next big guy gets hired. Still, what if you thought all along you were up for head coaching job, just to be passed over when that person was ready to take the next step? There’s nothing worse than being a substitute and not knowing it. It ranks up there with being the ass of a bad joke, or outside the circle of trust. Because there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re up for promotion, then getting fired.

Then again, sometimes if substitutes do really well… they ARE the next big guy. Same thing when a player gets injured. Take, Wally Pipp, first baseman for the Yankees in 1925. Legend has it he sat out one game with a terrible headache, and some kid subbed for him. Some kid named Lou Gehrig. Gehrig went on to play in 1,925 consecutive games. The streak only ended when Gehrig was so debilitated due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or as it's commonly known now - Lou Gehrig's disease. And that is how a substitute… became a legend.

I guess at some point, we’ve all been the substitute, or the kids who wreak havoc while the real teachers away. There’s nothing wrong with either role, so long as all the players know their part. Who knows?.. With a little patience and understanding, maybe you’ll be the substitute turned superstar.

As for Ms. Blah Blah, it was years down the road, my senior year of high school to be exact, when she walked into my band class sporting a huge rock. That’s right, Ms. Blah Blah was now Mrs. Blah Blah-Blah. Sure, she was just as miserable and mean as I remembered, but now.. I was a hell of a lot stronger and wiser than I had been in our previous run-ins. Besides, I loved band class, and there was no way in hell I was letting some bitchy substitute rain on my marching parade.

Mrs. Blah Blah-Blah currently resides in Tampa and still substitute teaches in Hillsborough County. Those poor, poor children…

Sucks to be them.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you, and I also had my share of teachers from hell.
The ones that made our lives as miserable as possible.
But where they so bad as we thought?
Or where they only trying to prepare us for what the world was going to throw at us?
I don't know the answer, but I like to believe that they were has they were for a reason.
This is my point of view.
We are all indebted to our teachers
Those were the teachers who taught us all the things we know and do today.
Now you ask – who were those teachers?
Teachers are the instructors, trainers, tutors, coaches, lecturers and professors from the kindergarten to the university.
Teachers taught us how to read and write, they explained how to search for the logic behind every statement and argument.
Teachers demonstrated to us in many ways how to approach problems and solve them.
Whenever we made mistakes and commit errors, teachers always remind us that there were
nothing to be ashamed of because we were still apprentices and not yet masters.
Sometimes, when we were depressed our teachers were always there to motivate us with sweet words of encouragement.
They taught us that the world we live in is a planet which rotates and revolves.
That on this planet there are two-legged, four-legged and multi-legged creatures.
That human beings belong to the two-legged species and have many colors and languages
Our teachers taught us that one man can make a difference in the world we live in men like Abraham Lincoln, Mao Tsetung, Lenin, Mandela, Mohammad Ali and Bill Gates.
Our teachers are sources of inspiration.
Can we live without teachers? You decide!

btaylor07 said...

good stuff sterg!


Anonymous said...

If you're looking for another rebound, I'll gladly let you have sex with me.

I'm nice like that.