Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (and Whimsy)

Posted on April 27, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


In case of emergency, insert.


Substitute teaching 2.0

“Don’t know much about history,

Don’t know much biology.”

Don’t know much about a science book,

Don’t know much about the French I took

What a Wonderful World this would be – Sam Cooke

Time travel is a wonderful thing. While it’s wise to stay in the present and look forward to the future, turning back the clock can be a lot of fun. Is there anything better than reminiscing about The Beatles, Guy Lafleur or putting a man on the moon? Your first kiss? Your first beer” Those may have happened on the same day! I’m a sucker for nostalgia, something well documented on this site.

Thinking back to our high school days can evoke a wide swath of memories. They could have been “the best days of my life” as Brian Adams reminds us, or they could have been “the worst of times” according to Dickens. It’s likely a bit of both. One thing is certain, none of us will forget those years.

I’m back in the classroom substitute teaching. Why in god’s name would a 70-year-old put himself through the aggravation of trying to herd cats? The truth is that I’m a restless soul. My great friend Merle Taylor, one of the most remarkable people that I have ever met, often remarked that she would rather wear out than rust out. I’m in that category.

Last week, I documented a few tales of substitute teachings from the past and the present. If you missed it, here it is: . I’m starting to find my groove in the classroom.

“With apologies, Len, 70-year-olds don’t have a groove. They have wrinkles. Not the same thing!”

I learned some valuable lessons in my life about being adaptable. Living and working in India and my recent foray into teaching in the north, I learned how to pivot very quickly. It’s not easy when many of us have travelled on a predictable path. We’re used to routine, and we hate surprises, but if you can get outside of your comfort zone, it can be a rich reward.

On one  of those subbing days recently, I accepted a job and I knew the teacher who would be absent. I messaged her early in the morning and she gave me an overview of the day. I walked to the school feeling quite comfortable. I arrived at the office and went to pick up my classroom key and the lesson plans. One of the vice principals came into the office and told me that my assignment had changed, and just like that, I had a new assignment.

Last week, I did three days of substituting. I taught ethics, history, math, science, technology among other things. Truth be told, teachers were very kind and left me detailed lesson plans and on one day, I had the benefit of a student teacher. Much of the time, the students were given some review exercises but, in a few cases, I actually taught. It is kind of crazy when you start recalling algebra that you took 55 years ago.

“Don’t know much about geography,

Don’t know much trigonometry,

Don’t know much about algebra,

Don’t know what a slide rule is for”.

I was particularly fascinated with one of the technology classes held in the computer lab. The student teacher was in charge while I just observed and wandered around. I stopped at several workstations to chat with students and to find out what they were working on. There were two young men attending the high school who were foreign students doing a gap year. One was from Italy and the other from Mexico. They were very bright and engaging. They confided that they were loving Canada, and both hoped to move here after high school. Canada still remains one of the most treasured of countries.

During one of the days, a specialist was supposed to come in to do a presentation for one of my classes. I waited a few minutes and a few minutes more. It became obvious that she wasn’t going to show up. There was no real backup plan.

There are a few things I always keep in my pants pocket. These include a pen, a credit card, a bit of cash,  a hanky, an emergency bracelet, a flash drive and some lint. What? A flash drive? Who in their right mind carries a flash drive? Me. I have PowerPoint presentations from my travels on my flash drive and also lots of photos and music. It has come in handy over the years. For the second time that day, I pirouetted and popped in the flash drive and did a presentation from my time in India. The students seemed to enjoy it.

If you are going to substitute teach, expect the unexpected. It’s challenging but very interesting.


I saw this quote a few days ago and I just love it.

“If you don’t know the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.”

I am lucky to have good health and good energy.

I don’t take anything for granted.

I am grateful.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. A hearty East coast welcome to a former Nova Scotian living in Red Deer who is my newest follower of Week45. Brave woman!

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.