An Ode to Subbing

The life of a substitute teacher is sweet,
I meet lots of students and think on my feet.
I know that the students will make an attempt,
To persuade me that they should from math be exempt.

I put on my strict face [if the grade’s five through eight]
And make sure they know I’m the boss on this date.
I give them instructions and hear all their whines,
I give them some leeway in the teacher’s confines.

With the little kids I don’t try to be scary,
I bribe them with plans to go out and be merry.
If one little child is naughty and cries,
They’ll spoil it for all and we won’t go outside.

Kids try to tell me their name’s not their own
Jackie will sit in a desk labeled “Joan”.
But I see right through them and don’t let them pout.
I threaten that later we won’t get to go out!

I never enforce this most difficult rule,
Some children can’t help it if they cry and they drool.
So, no matter how difficult one child can be,
We still play outside and can shout and be free.

But if they’re not quiet when I try to talk,
Or if they close their laptop when behind them I walk,
They know that I know that they’re not being good,
And my mad face is mad and they don’t like to look.

So sometimes I let them have a bit of palaver,
After all, they’ll be back to the grindstone tomorrow.
And if I’m kind to them the first time that we meet,
They’re better behaved the next time that I teach!


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