Anonymous 3m 845
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
One year I worked as a substitute teacher for an elementary school. This is a strange job, because most of the time you do not know if you are going to have work or not, until the day of or the day before (unless one of the regular teachers are out for a planned leave, like maternity).
One time, I got a call to take the place of one of the teachers who was in a car accident and had to stay out for two weeks to recover. I was looking after a second grade class and the teacher who had the classroom next to me, Ms. Jones, also had a second grade class, and she kept forcing herself on me, telling me what to do and what not to do. She looked very much like Kathy Bates with Harpo Marx’s hair.
I did not like her very much because she was very pushy, and always smelled of cat urine and perspiration. She was 5 feet tall, three feet wide. She would only dress in denim jumpers that had some stupid embroidered pattern on them, such as the alphabet or baby animals, or something like that. Also, she had an unhealthy attachment to cats, more like an obsession. Her classroom had pictures and statues of cats everywhere.
She told me that she has 23 cats at her house and is forced to keep them hidden, as the neighbors would turn her in to the authorities if they ever found out. Since she smelled of cat urine, I don’t know how the neighbors DID NOT know she had too many cats. And sometimes when she came in to work, she had a smooshed cat turd stuck to the side of one of her croc shoes (the only shoes she would wear were either croc’s or slogger’s).
The good thing about being a temporary employee is, that if you find yourself working with someone whose mental state is questionable, you don’t have to worry very much, because luckily you’ll be out of there in a few days.
Anyway, back to the story. I was scheduled to be a substitute teacher for just 2 weeks. Ms. Jones, the five foot tall, cat lover who had a classroom right next to mine, informed me that we are having a bake sale this Saturday, to support the band and chorus. She told me that I should instruct my students to bring baked goods in on Friday.
For the entire week, I reminded my class to bring in baked goods, and even printed out a memo for them to take home, to give to their parents, letting them know about the bake sale. On Friday, I collected a lot cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, all sorts of wonderful goodies.
The five foot tall cat lover from next door brought me a carton to put all of the items in. At the end of the day, I saw her taking the carton of sweets to her car. I ran to catch up with her and asked her what she was going to do with all of the baked goods and she told me she is taking them to “the school’s other campus.”
At the time, I didn’t think about this, because I was just a substitute teacher, and I have worked for schools in the past that have more than one campus. I did ask her if I could help her at the bake sale tomorrow, and she thanked me, but told me that they already have more volunteers than they need. We said good night to each other, and I went home for the weekend.
Monday morning came and I was in the teacher’s lounge enjoying some coffee before 8:00 a.m. I met one of the other teachers who told me she is in charge of the music program. Very innocently I asked her about the bake sale. All of the teachers who were standing around listening to us just stopped for a second and burst into laughter. I did not know what was going on, so I asked them, “What is so funny?”
The music teacher answered, “Did Ms. Jones tell you that there was a bake sale on Saturday?”
I said, “Yes. She did.”
They all started laughing again, so I asked, “What’s going on?”
They explained to me that every time there is a new substitute teacher, Ms. Jones will make up a story about a non-existent bake sale. She collects all of the sweets, and takes them home to eat. No bake sale. Just her and 23 felines enjoying the cakes and cookies.
I could not believe it and thought they must have been playing a joke on me, but I later confirmed that she does this all of the time and that is why she is so pushy when she first meets a new substitute teacher. When I asked why someone does not stop her from doing this, the music teacher informed me that the principal is her uncle and she gets away with all sorts of things. Unbelievable. But, true.