Clarification -- Clearly

Well, I need to clearly clarify some things I said yesterday.



(I was not a cheerleader.  But I was in Pep Club.  And that's just as good.  Especially because you didn't have to try out or do a dangerous back flip or anything.  Anyone could be in Pep Club.  And whether or not you were a cheerleader or a pep clubber, you still got dog bones thrown at you at away games.  We were the bulldogs so it happened occasionally.  And then at home games, we would shake our keys and chant "Go start the bus!"  It was just as good to be in the pep club, as you can see.)

1.  So . . . first of all, let's clarify the sub thing.

Yes.  It's true.  I hide books from subs.  

Besides leaving subs the dictionary to read, I also leave various User's Manuals from our microwave or stove or dishwasher.  There is plenty for the sub to read if there is extra time.

Okay, okay, okay.

I only hide the good books.  And however many good books I think I own is for me to know and you to find out.

I appreciate what subs do.  Truly.  I have only subbed three days in my entire life.  Two were for friends of mine when I was off track. It was first grade and I knew what I was doing.  But it still felt weird.  And the third day was in kindergarten.  It was a really fun day and I left thinking I could teach it if I had to.  Especially because our kinder day is still a half day.  And that's all.  No afternoon class.  No early bird -- late bird thing.  You just teach for half a day and then you prep.  Or help out your partner.  Or nap.  I don't know, really.  I've never done it.

In any case, I appreciate that subs walk into a strange class and have to figure out what to do and how it works . . . which is why I write a NOVEL of sub plans and pray the subs are fast readers and can finish the whole book before the kids arrive.

I have some go-to subs that I love and ask for every time.  Plus the kids love them so it's a win-win.  I don't like subs who leave a big mess at the end of the day.  Trash on the floor, chairs pulled out, lunch boxes left behind, cubbies not cleaned out, etc.  THAT annoys me.  So did the sub who came when I had a REALLY challenging class and left this note:  "I did the best I could."



And to clarify things further, I think there is a HUGE difference between a sub that is a credentialed teacher and could not get hired because of a sad state of affairs called Our State, and a sub that decided this would be a good gig instead of working as a  . . . well, I can't think of anything that's polite so I'll stop there.

2.  Student Teachers

I have had two and a half.  The half was my good friend, Kelli.  She started with another teacher on my team, and then that teacher went off track, so I inherited her when I came back on track.  It was confusing, but Kelli needed a master teacher so I took her.  Against my will.  And with a bit of whining.


She was born to be a teacher.  She was awesome.  

We became great friends and then I was in her wedding.  I'm sure that happens with every master teacher/student teacher relationship.  Right?

The second student teacher I had was . . . she always . . . well, she never . . . and then she would . . . and so I had to . . .

Clear throat.


Um.  Well, I think, maybe, quite possibly, she didn't want to be a teacher.

So I was a little confused as to how she ended up in the credential program in the first place and then in my classroom.

The parents of my kids weren't very happy.

Neither was I.

But I have this confrontational phobia thing . . . so I didn't really do my job as a Master Teacher correctly.  Unless you agree that my job was to let her bleed me dry of all my good ideas, evenings, mornings, enthusiasm, comforting, there-there-ing, reteaching, doing it over again, and planning every single thing with a back up plan just in case.  Then I did a fine job.

I also let her talk me into speaking at her university to her "student teaching class" or what have you.  They met once a week to discuss their experiences (or in her case, what she watched me re-do that day) and I went as a guest speaker.  On a school night.  And I had to drive to a place at least 30 miles away.  I know.  Shoulder shrug.  I'm a martyr.

I have not heard from that girl since.  Nope.  Nada.

My third and final student teacher was two years ago.

She is now my friend, Kassie.  She was also born to be a teacher, but the state didn't get that memo so she can't get a job to save her life.  She subs (which is wonderful because then I don't have to write plans and she knows exactly how I run my classroom!) and has also done a long term for someone on my team.  She deserves her own classroom.  As do many of you.  


Now you have it.

I'm not crazy.

Not so much, anyway.

I just like to teach.  Children.  Not grown people who want to become teachers.  

And I want to read the books.  In the right way.  With the right voices.

I just do.

If I were to have a student teacher this year, I think I'd like to interview her first.  

Maybe she could audition by reading a book???

Just saying.


  1. It's funny, but I knew exactly what you meant when you posted this yesterday. I must confess that I hide all of my pens, pencils and supplies... I leave one pen, one pencil and some essential office supplies, just in case. I always get my requested sub, but sometimes, it just doesn't happen and unfortunately I have been burned in the past. I have had 2 interns, one good and one not so good. I too am not a fan of giving up my class, but we do need good teachers out there, so I try to help in other ways.



  2. You're so funny trying to explain. We totally get it. (Unless someone snarked at you in a comment.) I totally get the books. I hate hearing the sentence "We heard that already". Cuz then I have to say "do you throw your DVDs away after you watch them?" Then they laugh and I read the book the way its supposed to be read. ;-)

    Coloring Outside The Lines

  3. I'm with you! I always requested subs and loved the ones I got (and cried - well almost - when I had to call in sick the morning of because the sub choice was out of my hands), but I still write super-detailed plans (idiot proof, if I can say that, just in case my sub gets sick). And my books are my books. I don't even like letting other good teachers read my books to my kids because I like it the way I do it.

    This year I don't have to worry about it because they don't get a sub if I'm not there. One of the perks of being out of the main classroom.

    The Dalton Gang

  4. Hilarious! I totally get the sub thing. I typically leave a novel with great details and really you can't go wrong. I get picked on by my peers that 11 page sub plans is simply ridiculous! But I don't want things to go awry. I typically even leave enough change for them to get a soda from the machine (I kill them with kindness). I try try try to always get out building sub too. But sometimes that just doesn't happen.

    I think of who I was as a student teacher. I was eager.. ready... but my mentor teacher just didn't like my ideas or who I was as a teacher. (she even told me to stop getting so dressed up for class) really! So I took her with a grain of salt and look at me now!

  5. I am with you on student teachers! I have had 1 and she was only barely average w/ students and the go getter spirit! But I have had 4-5 practicum students most were GREAT but this last one was BEYOND terrible. I was BEYOND thankful she didnt ask me to write a recommendation (usually those are the ones that DONT GET IT) Phew! I just got an email, another student comin my way!! WISH ME LUCK! ahhhh!!

  6. I am only sick if I get my favorite sub: my mother! She taught for 35 years and then "retired," but she subs just for me (and anyone else in the school who has a nice class). She knows where everything is and she doesn't need plans. Thanks for keeping us entertained with your posts!
    Teaching Fabulous Firsties!

  7. Haha, first off, I do the same thing as Janine- I hide my good pens, too! Or just take them with me! I'm a control freak, too, so I stress out so much when I have to have a sub. I can count on one hand for the number of full days I've taken because of sickness or personal from the past five days. I'd rather come to school, completely sick, than leave my class with a sub.

  8. I am cracking up! You are hilarious! I agree with you about the student teacher thing...they just...they umm...well you know what kind of student teachers I'm talking about...cough.;)
    Oceans of First Grade Fun

  9. I have had 4 student teachers in 8 years of teaching, but we do get to interview them. All the schools in the district that want one send teachers to the interview night and we interview them in groups of 4 for 10 minutes each. Not the best, but better than nothing. Then we choose based on a lottery system. If all the ones we liked get taken before all the teachers that want one have one, we just don't take any more. If they don't get picked, they have to go interview in another district until they do. They also split between 2 grade levels so we only have them for 5 or 6 weeks each semester. That helps.

  10. :D Perfectly and as always humorously said!

  11. Well said! I also leave a novel for plans when I am out. I would rather come to work sick then plan for a sub. Last year we had a lot of trainings (out of my class 12 days) and I had a few challenging students. I had to come up with a back up plan for a few of my students. There are a few subs that I know if I get I will spend the next day reteaching. One even told one of my students that they needed to get a tutor. The said student did ask a lot of questions (sometimes silly ones), but wow!

    Ms. Lopez I am stealing your remark for my students. I love it!

    I have not had a student teacher. My neighbor has had a good one and a well you know.

  12. In our district all student teachers have to interview with the teacher before the teacher has to take in the student teacher. It is the only way I would take one. I want to know before hand what I am getting myself into :)

  13. I've been lucky enough to have 2 great student teachers.. sounds like I need to send my luck your way! Glad to hear you are going above your duty to help potential teachers find their voice (or lose it!) hehe

    Always A Lesson

  14. I thought my student teacher was great but she had a hard time and she quit :( It was only after that that I realized I wouldn't want another student teacher again. I LOVE reading your blog! I laugh out loud at the things that only other teachers would understand. When I explain it to my husband he just looks at me!

    Keep Calm and Apple On

  15. I always hide books from subs. I like to read the stories the way I do with the voices and dramatic pauses too. No explanation necessary! What do you mean when you go off track?

  16. I totally understand the book thing too. Once I was reading "bud, not buddy" aloud to my 4th trade class. We were at a really good part and I had a sub for some reason one day. (I'm sure it was really interesting prof dev). Anyhoo I left a whole other book for her to read but the kids talked her into reading the next chapter of bud!!! I did not like that I had missed that moment with them but was also happy that they loved the book as much as me and just had to hear what happened next! :)

  17. Thanks for starting out my day with some big laughs and an "Oh yea... I remember those days!"

    I'm a new follower and a new blogger. Hope you stop by my blog.


  18. I am with you on both counts. I always request my sub days in advance...because you know I feel "sick" days in advance. I have never had to call out in an emergency in 20 years, luckily. As for student teachers....well I have some wonderful gals and some NOT so wonderful. I have a problem though with giving up control of my class especially with behaviors. I can't stand by and watch the destruction of my behavior system to a "greenie" student teacher...heck no...I always step in. I don;t care if they don't like it, they are there to learn after all.

    I could go on and on, but I will give up the control this time and stop here:)

    Cialini Chat

  19. I love this post!!!! I have the same feelings! So glad to read that there are others out there like me and that I am not alone!

  20. I think we've all had some "interesting " subs in our rooms...ugh! Retired teachers...especially from your own district are fabulous subs! I was in my first student teacher's wedding as well!! Too funny:)