The Substitute Teacher Series: From Middle School Math to High School Detention

This is a revision of a previously posted story. For privacy purposes, in this particular series, I do not disclose real names, other than my own, or locations. Although the original story content was positive and uplifting, I thought it might be too specific and possibly identifying, therefore, I chose to revise.


My 2nd sub assignment: 4th and 5th graders

After a class of 25 kindergarteners, this was a piece of cake.

The morning began in a computer lab, along with another teacher, helping students with practice math games on the computer. Good students … no problems here, unfortunately, no hilarious anecdotes either.

I spent the rest of the day in the office/classroom of the teacher I was subbing for. For 50 minutes at a time, I tutored small groups and individual students who needed help with reading and story comprehension. I loved that part of the assignment; I would be happy tutoring all day, every day.

Tuesday – Detention Duty:

On Tuesday, my assignment was half-day detention duty for high school students. Not really knowing what to expect, I was a little apprehensive about this.

The sub coordinator gave me the lowdown:

1. The students would arrive at a certain time. They would use detention time to work on homework assignments.

2. They could request breakfast and lunch, which would be brought to them. They could only leave to go to the restroom and I would need to accompany the entire group to and from the classroom where the restroom was located.

3. At the end of the day, each student would leave with a parent.

I must have had a “what have I gotten myself into” look on my face, because the sub coordinator was quick to add that students in this program are generally good kids, they’ve just racked up too many unexcused tardies, absences, or other minor offenses. That was good to know.

In a situation of this sort, I think it would be normal to anticipate some attitude, but all I encountered was politeness and respect. To the school system and the parents: kudos.

At the end of the day, the classroom emptied and I packed up my entire library, in the form of a Kindle reader. On the surface, detention duty didn’t sound like a positive gig, but it was surprisingly pleasant, and I got a boatload of reading done.

*These are true stories. In this series, all names, except my own, have been changed.

This is a first draft, no editing. Please accept my apologies for any grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

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Wrong Hands

Cartoons by John Atkinson. ©John Atkinson, Wrong Hands

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