A Viable Substitute

I am a college substitute teacher, the lowest of the low in the opinion of some students. I am a substitute by choice rather than by accident. I’m on the senior side of my teaching career, having taught Language Arts for the past thirty plus years before retiring from the public school system in 1993. I enjoy being a substitute as I can say yes or no to the requests for work. Besides, it gets me back into the classroom. Most of the time, the absent teacher has left open-ended assignments such as “let the students discuss the assignment with each other” with the admonition at the end that their writing is “due the next class meeting.” I am amazed at the skills and information that I have accumulated during my years in the classroom. If only I had had access to those skills when I first started teaching. For instance, my substitute assignment this morning in a composition class was to let students “work on their themes and favorite passages from the story list. Or, if the instructor wishes, they can discuss the assigned short story, ‘The Lottery.'” Since “The Lottery” is one of my favorite short stories, I decided to take the second option and lead the discussion of Shirley Jackson’s intriguing story, asking the students to suggest themes and to analyze characters and to ferret out the purpose of the story. The discussion was pleasantly animated, and when we finished, I was hopeful that I had accomplished my goals even though I was “just a sub.” As I wrapped up the session and was dismissing the class, one student looked up at me on her way out of the room and said, “This was the best class I’ve had all day.”

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About bobosbest

I am a 79-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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One Response to A Viable Substitute

  1. I love “The Lottery”! I use it to teach plot (and twist endings) to my students. Sounds like fun.

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