the quarter tip


Day-to-day  substitute teachers have a tough row to hoe . I’ve done my share of it .  Between jobs at one point , I  subbed for an entire  year , mostly with Glendale  School District . I’ve met a few people who substitute teach for a living . That would be hell .

So , once upon a time , long , long ago , I decided that it would be a good idea to leave a quarter for the sub whenever I was out , with a friendly note . ” Buy yourself a coffee ” it said . At that time the cafeteria coffee was $ .25 .   Well , it wasn’t  much , a token kindness I thought , a welcoming gesture .library

I wasn’t out from school much , and I never gave much thought to the quarter left for the substitute —– sorry , the ” guest teacher ” .

One day I returned after an absence and on my desk was a note . Usually the guest teachers  would leave a note about how the day went and what was or was not accomplished . This note, however ,  spoke only about the twenty-five cents ( if , indeed , notes are able to speak —- you know what I mean , though ) .  Angry note . Outraged note .  Enraged guest teacher . ” I can afford my own coffee ! ” the person had scrawled . The quarter was taped to the note .dragon red

Must have been an especially tough day with my classes . Middle School ; what can you do !

I “revisited” the whole idea about leaving a quarter for coffee.   It could be interpreted as an insult , a put-down , a patronizing action. Of course , this particular sub may, on the other hand ,  have been a nut case . But , I abandoned my little welcoming gesture of leaving a quarter . I decided that “Welcome!” and ” Good Luck !” on the top of the lesson plan would have to be enough .  What do they say  : Let no good deed go unpunished ?


Filed under teaching

5 responses to “the quarter tip

  1. Hi Dan. I taught Junior high way back when, and I’ve done a lot of subbing too, I think your gesture was lovely, and anyone who didn’t appreciate it, well, that was their problem. That was a nice thing you did.

  2. Your last line about sums it up!

  3. Some day I’m going to write an entire post about when “Let no good deed go unpunished” ruled the day. I used to think that was just one of those funny sayings. I volunteered to do “Career Day” presentations in middle school. It would take more than a cup of coffee to get me to go back into that building.

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