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WHY I TEACH-Part 29: Nepotism

by Kelley M Likes 2 months ago in teacher
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Because You Can

And no one can stop you.

I’d blocked off an hour to explain all the Industry Certification requirements to Mr. Smart. I figured since he was a long-term sub he was qualified to teach. I painstakingly went over all of the requirements and showed him the easy to follow checkoff list.

“So the biggest thing is you’ll need to teach lessons on the topics listed in this section and provide student examples of each. Do you understand?”

Mr. Smart nodded and said, “Yes, I get it.”

“We have 30 days before the initial observation, so this needs to be done. Are you OK with teaching the lessons? You just have to explain the information at the beginning of each chapter and have the students complete the work in their books.”

Mr. Smart nodded and said, “Yes, I can do that.”

The following morning, I checked in with Mr. Smart’s second-period class. They were watching America’s Got Talent.

“Why aren’t you teaching the lessons?”

“Well, we need to finish watching the show first. We’ve got like 9 more episodes.”

“You can’t finish watching the show. You need to be teaching the lessons so we can get the students’ work for Industry Certification. I thought you understood.”

Mr. Smart nodded and said, “Yes, I understood. I just didn’t think it was that important.”

I hit the spacebar on his computer and flipped on the light switch. “Alright everyone, please get out your textbooks.”

The entire class groaned in unison.

“Where did Ms. Keen stop before she left?”

Blank stares.

“What lesson are you on in your book?”

“Ms. Keen never really taught us any lessons. She just told us to read the book and do the pages in the workbook,” a girl in the front said.

“What lesson is everyone on?”

“Derek’s already done,” someone said. A scrawny kid in the second row blushed and shrank down in his seat.

“Derek, is this true?”

“Yes, it’s easy,” Derek replied.

“What chapter is everyone supposed to be on?”

“Ms. Keen really didn’t have a set schedule. We were free to work at our own pace.”

“OK, so what chapter is everyone on?”

I was met with a lot of shrugs and staring at the ground.

“OK, so let’s turn to chapter one. Mr. Smart, would you like to read the introduction to the kids?” I turned toward where he was just a minute ago.

“He left,” the girl in the front said, “right after you started talking.”

I cornered Mr. Smart at lunch. “Why did you leave?”

“I figured you had it,” he said as he slurped his soup.

“You are a long-term sub, are you not?”

He nodded.

“Then you’re going to have to teach.”

He shook his head.

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know anything about accounting.”

“It’s easy, all you have to do is follow what’s in the book.”

“I’m not qualified to teach.”

“Qualified? You have a college degree, don’t you? It’s required to be a long-term sub.”

He shrugged. “My uncle said I didn’t have to teach.”

“Your uncle?”

“Wayne Myers.” He continued slurping his soup.

I staggered back, “Wait, Mr. Myers is your uncle?”

He nodded.

“Do you have a college degree?”

He laughed. “I barely graduated high school.”

I found Mr. Myers in the faculty lounge, surrounded by the P.E. teachers/football coaches. “You hired your nephew to long-term sub?” I blurted out.

He slowly put down his sandwich and met my gaze.

“Why, yes I did.”

“He’s not qualified to be a long-term sub. He doesn’t even have a college degree.”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

“I need to have work samples for Industry Certification and watching America’s Got Talent isn’t going to cut it.”

“You’ll just have to figure it out.” He picked up his sandwich, took a bite, and turned away from me. The men around him chuckled.

My way of figuring it out was to teach my classes on Monday and Friday and have Mr. Smart sub for me Tuesday through Thursday as I taught his Accounting classes. For those of you doing the math, that meant I taught six classes in a four class block schedule, with no break and so much work to grade.

Somewhere in the middle of this mess, I got sick. I went to school with a 102.7 temperature, armed with what I thought was daytime medicine. Sadly, it wasn’t. After taking an unhealthy gulp, I woke up several hours later to a drool-covered desk. One of my classroom blankets adorned my shoulders. As I looked around, I noticed almost everyone busily working on their assignments. I smiled, coughed, and returned to my medicated slumber.


About the author

Kelley M Likes

I'm a wife & mother of five spectacular kids, retired teacher, B+ Latter-day Saint, Recovering Codependent Guide @

Find my books @

I'm also the CEO of NetherCream @

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