Fakin’ it ’til you make it AKA a week in the life of a substitute

Manic Monday

Regret staying up too late Sunday night (and Jon Stewart wasn’t even on!)  Call comes in at 6:30, rousing you from sleep.  An automated computer voice from AESOP (which sounds nothing like Stephen Hawking, by the way, which is a bit disappointing as it would be awesome to get a call from him saying you have an assignment for the day) says there’s an opening at such-and-such a school in less than two hours.  Click 1 to accept, 2 to reject.  Sleep looks better than pawing at the coffee switch for sweet, sweet Starbucks nectar.  Then remember you have bills.  Darn bills and credit cards.

Click 1 to accept.

Get ready for a day’s work in half an hour, including gathering things that will suffice as “lessons” in case the absent teacher hasn’t left a plan.  This could be a problem as you’re a Humanities guru and the assignment is for high school Chemistry and Physics.

Feel slightly nauseated about facing a day where you know NO ONE but must pretend like you do in order to maintain some semblance of “control” over your class.  This is called faking it until you make it.  In other words, trying to ignore that I’m going to throw up feeling while acting like an authority figure who, in theory, has their $#!^ together.  Sometimes you do.  Sometimes you don’t.  Just pretend you do.

Day goes well, though you’re pretty sure you’ve been called B!^{# at least three times today for telling teenagers to stop swearing.  Well played.  Well played.

No one has hurt themselves, which in the day of a substitute is pretty remarkable.  The lunchtime jousting with wheeled business chairs and metre sticks may have turned into a fiasco, but it seemed to turn out for the best.  No fatal injuries.  Same with the Battle of the Elastics.

Go home.  Nap.

Terrible Tuesday

No work.  Sleep in until lunchtime, then play on the internet for hours.  Log into AESOP and click REFRESH a million times. Seriously.  A million.

No jobs appear until afternoon when you are rewarded with a gig tomorrow doing elementary Phys Ed.  Yes!  Money!  Experience! Feeling productive and putting on makeup!

Thankfully, you have an evening to prepare, so you gather up some balls and pack your indoor sneakers.

Go to bed early.  Load the coffee machine with Starbucks for the morning.  You are a goddess.

Wasted Wednesday

It’s still dark.  Darn darkness.  Why must it be dark when it’s time to get up?  There’s nothing less inspiring to start your day than a sky full of black nothingness.

Coffee.  Lots of coffee.  But not too much coffee because it will make you pee too much and you can’t leave the students alone in the classroom at certain ages otherwise they’ll be hanging from the rafters and wearing lampshades and there aren’t even lampshades in the classroom.  Not exactly the way to get a call back to that school.

Drive for 45 minutes to assignment.  Half way there, you feel your bowels chattering nervously, which may mean an irritable bowel attack.  Consider stopping at a gas station, but decide to soldier on.

The twisty, turning road, however, makes you regret this.  And there are too many houses along the road to allow you to sneak into the woods for an emergency BM.


Make it to school but can barely walk into the school.

Upon arriving inside, notice washroom. Dash immediately into washroom in time for emergency BM. Hope no one hears you. Faintly worried someone will be upset you haven’t checked into the office yet and may be serial molester/serial killer who is going to steal a child.

After washing hands, gather teacher bags and go to the office only to find out assignment has been double booked.

Drive 45 minutes home, stopping at McDonalds for a consolatory Egg McMuffin.  Then decide to get two for lunch. Wish you could get breakfast 24/7.  Egg McMuffins are better than burgers.

Go home and nap for hours with cat.

Thankful Thursday

Even though you’re trained for high school antics and curriculum, you end up doing an assignment at elementary level, because let’s face it, when you supply teach, you make double what you’ve ever made in your life.  Woohoo!  And small students are just so darn cute!

Start your day running.  Sneak in a pee.  Pees are precious in elementary school.

Sift through directions on teacher’s desk.  Find piles of assignments and busy work.  Wish for list of rules at the elementary level.

Students asks: “Can we use markers?”

“Of course,” you reply.  “You may use markers.”

Half an hour later, another student comes to you and reports, “So-and-so is marking all over their hands and then stamping their hands on the desks.”

Discover why students aren’t allowed to use markers.  Send them to washroom one at a time to wash hands.  Bless Crayola for making their markers washable.

Do recess duty.  Tend to boo boos, disagreements, and tattle-tale reports.  When the bell rings, get students to line up for inside.  All do except one.  Try to convince this particular pupil that indoors is where it’s at.  Fail.  Another sub tries.

Get inside late.

Survive day, though classroom looks like a natural disaster hit. Must sweep to keep custodians from hating your guts.

Delighted to get handmade card from student saying “I will miss you.”  Heart warms.

After cleaning classroom, go home with head still buzzing from little voices.  Even as you try to nap, you still hear the little voices.  Make mental note never to have more than two children.

Finally Friday

Alas, there are no calls to wake you up, so the cat finally jabs your face with its claws around 11 to make sure you’re not in a coma.

The bed is so comfortable, you’d like to lay and enjoy the sun just a few minutes longer.  Determined to ensure your survival, the cat begins tasting you and gnawing your arm.  Maybe the cat’s dish is empty.

Lounge around the house in comfy clothes, which consist of a tank top and yoga pants even though, let’s be frank, you wouldn’t know yoga if it twisted you into a pretzel.

Click REFRESH a million times for assignments next week.  Check for term positions and hope someone soon goes on mat leave or something.  Full time pay with benefits would allow you to finally stop dodging calls lest it be the credit card mafia.

Write blog entry to promote some feeling of productivity in your day.  Annoy people on Facebook and Twitter with your links.

Then, to get ready for the weekend, nap.

One of the buildings at Acadia where I learned to be a teacher.

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