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FROM READERS: A poem from a substitute teacher

Thursday, May 9, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:10 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 13, 2013

Margaret Prezioso-Frye is a single mother of two children who moved to Columbia in 1987. She often writes poems and shares them with the Columbia Missourian. This poem has previously been published on her blog.

I've been a Sub for a substantial part of my teaching life. The one thing that amazes me is how the attitude toward Substitute teachers hasn't evolved in any direction on the part of teachers or students. I remember when I was a kid (never bold enough to torment a teacher young or old myself), I was appallingly thrilled by the actions of my classmates. Why? 

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Here's some food for thought:

The Sub

Years ago we thought
The Sub meant free class
At school

We followed no rules
And were rude
We justified being crude

This hasn’t changed over time
Who started it?
I wonder why

I’m sitting here now
Sub for the day
There’s not much to do

Legitimate free time
Wish I’d brought a book
Or a laptop

For the sake of feeding my mind
Guess there won’t be Sub abuse
Prove myself yet again

Though my co-instructor 
Didn't present me by name
The students know nothing to gain  

Saw Kant written
On the board
Wished I’d kept a copy

The University undeserving
My prize
Checked terminology to stay on top

But I’ll have no need to reply
A monitor to police
The extent of my day

No Sub notes otherwise, just keep an eye
Make certain all students
Type away

Next time select slowly
No desperations to work
Duties won’t disappoint or surprise

At least the first block
Awarded me time
For Espresso and a soufflé

That wasn't a bad way
To start off
A day

Last block
Didn't need me
So I was sent away

More afternoon time to write
And take not a bad way to start off a day
Into a very good night

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor Joy Mayer


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