Another day, another 150 students


Let me give you a little background for some of my upcoming blog posts. I’ll be writing about public schools on theoretical and practical levels. I may delve into issues of public policy, culture, unions, schedules, testing, and lunch at 10:30am. You’re probably thinking, “Did she get a degree in education?”


I’m going into my 4th school year as a substitute teacher. (BTW, all the titles listed in our county library system with ‘substitute teacher,’ in them are for school-age readers and all allude to subs being evil, sinister, monstrous, or alien beings.)

I work at 3 area high schools and one middle school. They are all good schools. So my personal experiences come from being in classrooms with lots of resources and many of the kids from nice houses in the suburbs or rural areas. The racial makeup in the area is 94% white.

There is often a shortage of subs, sometimes called guest teachers, in the schools I work at. Much more so in the city schools. The hours are great. Pay is lousy. Assignments unpredictable. Much of it frustrating. How I got talked into this is for another post.

In case you are wondering what the qualifications are to be a substitute teacher in Michigan (and probably everywhere else), here they are:

  1. Have completed 2 years of college
  2. Have not been convicted of a felony

The unofficial qualification is to “show up.” Front desk women (yes, they are always women) are usually happy to see me lately. I thought it was because of good feedback and my charming personality, but it’s just because I always “show up.”

Step into a school building and you will be humbled many times in a day. And amazed almost as often.


This is the first post in an ongoing series on education issues.

The View From Here

IMG_0558It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and I am avoiding stores. Shopping is stressful enough, and as a perpetually overstimulated introvert, I savor a day to recharge at home. It’s morning and still dark. I have the little white twinkle lights on because they make me smile and think of the millions of the same twinkle lights in the trees along Michigan Avenue. Living in an apartment again – and love it. The kitchen is perfect. The layout feels spacious. Possessions have been trimmed to the favorites. It’s quiet and peaceful here. As I look around, every item has a story. Drinking my Starbucks Morning Joe coffee, comfy in my favorite chair, I’m thankful for all I have and for everything, and everyone that have brought me to this place.

The rest of my day will be planning the next three weeks of classes until Christmas Break. I am teaching U.S History and World History high school classes this semester for a dear friend who had back surgery. (I told him it’s a good thing he teaches history because if he taught algebra, he’d be on his own!) It is a challenge that is taking almost all my waking hours and all my brain capacity. It is good. It is good to be challenged and learning everyday. Every night I’m up working until I stumble – really, stumble into bed. Every morning I’m up before my alarm goes off at 5am, ready for another day.