By Carly Tovell

[audio:”>The Older The Wiser-Podcast- Carly Tovell]

Swoosh; a spitball blasts across the room when the teacher’s head turns.  Phones and iPods whip out of students pockets, and notes pass from desk to desk. So far no notes, homework, or reading done. No respect given. It seems to be the case that when students have a substitute, they feel as if they are the ones in charge and have no reason to pay attention or do anything in class. Although they may be unfamiliar with the teacher giving them instruction, substitute teachers deserve respect in the classroom.

“Dude Johnny, did you hear Mr. Klum is our sub today in Lit?” The student’s buzz when they find out that there is the possibility of having a class where they can do absolutely nothing: having a substitute. “No way man he is so old, I don’t even know if he can talk anymore… my mom said he was her teacher when she went to school here.” The student’s groggle into class with only one question in mind, how can I get away with doing NOTHING? Students intend to do whatever they want the entire class.

The eighth period bell rings and everyone stampedes into class like they do everyday. A wave of relief comes across the class as they realize their “sub” is the ancient Mr. Klum. But for two boys Johnny and Phil it’s one of the more exciting parts of the day. They get to harass Mr. Klum for the next 53 minuets.

Mr. Klum slowly waddles into the room, adjusting his binoculars as he reads the teachers note. Unfortunately for the class his voice is a few levels shy of hearing volume. This translates as the same thing to all of the students in the class: Study hall! Johnny looks at Phil and laughs. “This should be fun,” he says. In the back row Phil bangs his fists on the bottom of the desk, “Knock- Knock Knock”. Mr. Klum looks around, and after a few seconds he gets up to see who is at the door. The class laughs and giggles, taking interest in the humor of a grandpa for a teacher. A few minuets later, Phil does the same thing again, but this time, as Mr. Klum treads into the empty hall, in search for the person behind the knock Johnny launches out of his seat and locks the old man out. Students laugh and went on with the work sheets Mr. Klum gave them at the beginning of the period, whole Johnny and Phil kicked back a relaxed. I mean what’s the “old fart” of UAHS going to do about it?

For Johnny and Phil, their victory against the innocent Mr. Klum was short lived. The next day during eighth period the boys entered the class expecting nothing but the worst. To their surprise they got away with it. No Lunch detentions, no Saturday schools.  But as class started, Mr. Motts handed out a three-page test on the notes Mr. Klum gave the class to work on.  The stunned look on the boy’s faces described what was running through their minds— “Ah Crap”.

The boys ended up feeling bad for the old guy and apologized for what they had done after paying the price of failing what was easily the largest grade of the quarter. It turned out that Mr. Klum gained their respect and the lesson was learned, that they were only hurting themselves by not giving substitutes respect. So however “old, gray, young, naïve, mean, stupid, confused” you may think your substitutes are, all have your best interest at heart and deserve to be treated right.