Substitute Teachers

Alejandro Latorraca, Creative Writing

Many people would want a substitute teacher everyday, but then it wouldn’t really be a substitute, would it? No, I get it. They want to laze and arrange themselves in the most comfortable positions attainable on a school desk, which aren’t very comfortable at all, and maybe make up for the sleep they didn’t get the previous night. Maybe they actually want to complete assignments due the next period or study for tests that loom ominously above the week. I myself find that I too am of this stock–and what a fine stock it is, rich with a plethora of distinct rationales beyond those already stated.

I’d like to delve deeper than a haphazard pile of assignments or a fervent wish to lounge about and touch on these aforementioned rationales. Our teachers, and substitutes, are normal people, too. They get tired, they have their days, and they have their idiosyncrasies, like we do. Trust that I am all for the re-humanization of teachers! Sometimes, however, as unfortunate yet unsurprising as it may be, we get tired, too. The material we are taught can become dull and we ourselves assimilate this dullness as a consequence of boredom. Teachers learn and regurgitate this material to us so that we may later re-regurgitate it onto a paper that will gauge whether we regurgitate things adequately enough for the regurgitation standards at our age. How disastrously tedious. Our consequent weariness, however, unsurprising as it is, is not exclusive to the material, but is also attributable to the forms in which it is taught and sometimes the person behind them. As a human collective, we get tired of other people, too. In this sense, the roots of teachers’ places in our minds are as strong as our pedestals in theirs are tall–in a bad way. It makes me wonder whether teachers would ever want substitute students or whether they are disproportionately grateful for the paltry duration of a drop day for a certain class they’d hate to see that day.

Maybe this phenomenon isn’t exclusive to any kind of teachers at all and is rather universal in nature. Taking a break from anything would probably augur well. The fact that one decides to take a break speaks for itself. Assuming one is responsible with their allocation of limited time, a break could only do us well. Respites from constants are essential to the honing of our weary senses dulled by repetition. A constant too constant is not on par with the dynamic nature of a human being, which serves as another explanation for why things become boring besides simply wishing we could be engaging in other activities. Maybe these two explanations are one in the same.

Maybe I’m getting too philosophical about people just doing their job. Maybe I just want a substitute teacher in Calculus after panicking about a single expression for an unhealthily absurd amount of time.