The (Usually) Unsinkable Sub (Part 3)
"Survivor" - the REAL one - a Reference List
by Margy Ferguson
Continued from April Gazette
Along with many of you, I have watched bits and pieces of those "Survivor" shows on TV. And, I bet, along with many of you, I have laughed my head off at the stupidity of the shows, and some of the people who are supposed to be 'surviving.' I have hurled snotty remarks, insults, and the occasional rolled-up sock (doesn't break the screen) at the mostly young, mostly buff, frequently fluff-brained people who don't mind appearing dumb as a box of rocks on national television.
Yes, I have scoffed at these 'survivors', because they don't have clue one as to the true meaning of the word.
Webster's New World Dictionary defines a 'survivor' as "someone capable of surviving changing conditions, misfortune, etc."
Hey, on those TV shows, 'changing conditions' means the wind is blowing, and 'misfortune' means an empty sunscreen bottle!
I double-dog-dare any of those wimps to substitute in elementary school for a week straight, in four different grade levels in five days. (HA! I knew it!! Don't see any hands raised, do ya?)
In the world of subbing, 'changing conditions' could be any of the following:
- the sunny day turns to a downpour 5 min. before recess - three times that day
- you come in prepared to sub in a 2nd grade and are told you've been switched to 6th
- you come in prepared to sub in a 6th grade and are told you've been switched to P.E.
- you come in prepared to sub in a 6th grade and are told you've been switched to P.E. and you are wearing heels and a skirt
- the other same-grade teacher gets sick and has to go home and they can't find a sub for him, so they put all the kids in your room for the day (see also 'misfortune')
- the music/PE teacher is sick and there's no sub, so there goes your prep time
"Misfortune" is when:
- the class hamster croaks and one of the kids notices
- there are no lesson plans - nothing - not even from the previous day
- the worst kid in class comes to school all week
- the VCR doesn't work
- you left home in such a hurry that you forgot your lunch and are forced to eat Cook's Choice
- there's an all-day, out-of-town field trip that wasn't mentioned when they called you to sub
- the bathroom nearest your classroom is out of order
- the copier doesn't work, either
- there's an unannounced fire/tornado/hurricane/lockdown/monsoon/volcanic eruption drill
- there's an unannounced fire/tornado/hurricane/lockdown/monsoon/volcanic eruption drill, and you can't lock the classroom door because subs don't have keys
- the kid who ate a whole bag of gummy bears at lunch barfs on the floor and you can't get hold of the custodian
- the pop machine in the teacher's lounge eats all your change and you still don't get that Pepsi
- you have two classes in one room most of the day, but are told you are only being paid for one (see also 'changing conditions')
- a bee flies into the room
- you look at the clock and it's only 10:15
Taking all of this into account, I think most subs would agree that
Survivor is when you are called at 7:45, school begins at 8:20, and you are there with 5 minutes to spare.
Survivor is forming an alliance with the nearest teacher-you watch her kids so she can run to the bathroom, and vice-versa.
Survivor is watching in disgust as a student eats a live worm on the playground, and there's no prize for doing so.
Survivor is holding a pet snake without fainting.
Survivor is popping in an educational video when you realize you don't understand the math assignment.
Survivor is handing out M & M's to the kids who are NOT swinging from the lights because they've had 4 subs in 5 days, an entire week of indoor recess, and state-mandated testing for the past 3 days.
Survivor is returning from that all-day, out-of-town field trip with all the kids, and all of them safe.
Survivor is staying cool, calm and collected even though there is no TV camera on you.
Survivor is grinning at the end of the day because you got through most of the plans, nobody got sick or hurt, and 4 kids said they wished you'd come back tomorrow.