I’m sorry sir but you have got to go!


It was a beautiful day in Texas when I showed up to my assigned substitution job.  I was all set to take care of the 6th grade Math group when I was stopped in the hallway.  The 6th grade team lead, we’ll call her Mrs. Evil, knew that today was going to be a real tough day since 2 of her teachers were going to be out but she was still happy that her substitutes were both male.

I introduced myself to the other sub; we’ll call him Mr. Man, and then followed Mrs. Evil out to the portable buildings.  I had already subbed for this group a few times that year and knew what to expect and who to keep an eye on but Mr. Man was new to our district, our school and possibly to kids in general.

Now, if you don’t know this by now, let me help you understand a little known fact:


There is this population on the face of the Earth of rude & obnoxious miniature adults known as teenagers.  They just so happen to begin their war path during the 6th grade years.  Much like the large predator cats in the wild, if you show weakness or fear around these “teenagers” … you’ll be lucky to get out alive.

Now we get to the fun part:

Mr. Man was holding down the Language Arts group while I was working the Math class next door.  We were separated by 2 cheap hollow doors and a constantly humming security panel.  As I was putting the Math notes & examples up on the board, I could hear some loud yelling through the wall.  My students were already unhappy that I was there but their faces would cringe at the yelling and all I could do was smile.  I smiled because, in my head, Mr. Man was setting his tone for his classroom by putting the “fear” into all of his students.

Crowd laughing

The bad part was that his outbursts were usually followed by a larger outburst of laughter from the class.  So about halfway through the class, I opened hollow door #1 then knocked on hollow door #2 to ask for Kleenex or whatever.  Honestly, I was trying to see how Mr. Man was doing because it really didn’t sound like he was doing too well.

He pulled the door open in ANGER and said, “WHAT!?!”

mad bull

My guess was that he thought it was another student messing with him and not me on the other side of that hollow door.  I smiled and then calmly asked him for the supplies and if everything was okay?  Mr. Man took a step back; stood tall and kind of sounded like Keanu Reeves when he said, “Sure Bruh.”

Now, I have been a teenager, I’ve had friends that were teenagers, I know some women that were CRAZY teenagers and a few guys that were ASSHOLE teenagers.  So when I saw Hitler, Kenny G, Lucifer and Michael Bolton playing Hop-Scotch in the glimmer of Mr. Man’s eyes…I should have known that THE CRAZY TRAIN was rolling full speed ahead to my location but I just closed the door behind me and rejoined my class.

Wouldn’t you know it that in less than 10 minutes, all I heard was a large boom followed by a lot of yelling.  This was no regular yelling though … this yelling traveled through the cool, crisp Texas air; it echoed through the portable building and through the souls of the students.



This was followed by another 15-20 colorful words that would have made Quint blush.  I calmly put that day’s assignment on the board (like anyone was going to do it); asked one of my trusted students to go get Mrs. Evil and told the rest of the class in my calmest yet creepy voice, “if I hear one sound come out of here … you don’t even want to know what will happen.”  Then I walked into Mr. Man’s classroom.

No one was laughing but there were a handful of smiling students, a few scared students and Mr. Man standing toe-to-toe with this one “trouble making” teenager.  Apparently his backpack had tripped Mr. Man and caused the rest of the excitement.  I walked up between them and asked the student to take his seat and asked Mr. Man to step outside with me so he could cool down.

Mr. Man turned to me and barked, “This little shit needs to learn some respect!”  Now I hadn’t been yelled at by another adult in a while and for some odd reason I know that it started to piss me off.  So I turned to the student and told him to step outside, looked Mr. Man right in the eyes and told him to get his things and wait outside, too.  I then looked for another trusted student in the Language Arts class and asked her to take names for Mrs. Evil.

By the time I got outside, Mrs. Evil was just walking up and you could see a bunch of 6th graders pressed against the portable windows waiting for a show.  Mrs. Evil was pretty pissed off at this point and started asking question, after question, after question.


To which I took a deep breath and calmly said, “Ma’am … you might want to find another sub for English because I don’t think that Mr. Man will be back after I walk him down to the office.”  Her facial expression showed a level of confusion that I have yet to find on any other face.  I then looked up at the portable windows again and saw the 6th graders scatter; I shook my head and simply said,

“Go to the office.”

I’ve had a lot of firsts in my life: my 1st bike, my 1st truck, my 1st Whataburger (Thank you 8lb 6oz Baby Jesus), my 1st kiss and my 1st job but this was the 1st time that I ever had to separate an “adult” from a teenager then walk them both to the Principal’s office.

Oh well … now I can just chalk it up to experience.


Is that your dad?


After years of watching movies, after school specials and yes … even some Lifetime movies (with my wife and mom), there is always a part in those shows were the kids will yell, “I HATE YOU!!!” to their parents.  I never truly understood why they would say that when I was watching those shows but now I do.


I have always been pretty tough on my kids.

I expect good manners, good grades and a great sense of humor.  Most of my kid’s friends only recognized me from yelling at my son’s football games, their practices and from my awesome dance moves while sitting in the parking lot waiting to pick them up.

That being said: I found it really weird when my kids would ask, “Dad, are you subbing at my school today?”  They were NEVER allowed to call me “Dad” at school and it was weird hearing my kids calling me “Mr. Garcia”.  I had to promise my wife to NEVER treat my kids or their friends like OCS kids or to give them any “extras” because I knew them.  After a few years of substituting, my son was sitting with his friends in the cafeteria at his high school when an interesting conversation began.



Now, I was not present at this lunch but according to my son and his two best friends, the guys started to make fun of one of their teachers and how much of a “jerk” she was.  Then of course, it became the guys “pissing contest” of who was the WORST teacher that they ever had.  One mentioned his previous History teacher.  Another blasted his fourth grade teacher, then out of nowhere the last kid boasted, “The WORST teacher I ever had to put up with was this ASSHOLE called Mr. Garcia.  He was my OCS teacher.”  My son and his friends looked at him cautiously and asked him to describe this “Mr. Garcia” that he spoke of.  This kid described me almost perfectly,


so I guess that I must have made an impression on him.  My son’s best friends started laughing and my son just shook then just lowered his head.

The kid was confused at why the others were laughing and why my son had his head lowered.  That’s when one of my son’s best friends told the kid, “Dude…you’re talking about his dad.” The kid questioned my son for about 10 minutes after that.  Before the end of lunch, this kid stood up, told my son that he was sorry for making fun of his dad and went to by my son a coke and some cookies.


When he handed the coke and cookies to my son, my son asked, “What’s this for?”

The kid took a deep breath and said, “I only had to deal with your dad during OCS … you have to live with him, I think that you deserve something for that.”

When my son and his friends told me this story, I laughed along with them for a while but I made sure to give him a hard time the next time I saw him.  Maybe next time this kid will give my son something better than a coke and some cookies.


Hugs, Not Drugs!!!


It was my first year of substituting for the district and I was starting to get called regularly by teachers because:

1.  I am a man

2.  My size kind of intimidated the kids.

I was lucky this one morning to be able to substitute at my son’s school for the 4th time that year.  At his school, the kids never knew me as the OCS teacher but they knew that I “didn’t play” and that I was “mean as hell”.

I knew the name of the teacher that I was subbing for but didn’t know what grade that she taught.  I remember walking into the office and after asking the secretary what grade was I going to be in and she smiled and said,


“Fourth grade” as she handed me the copy of the class roster.

This was my first time to handle fourth grade and I was a little nervous.  I started to walk down the hall to my designated area for the mandatory hall monitoring.

I counted the classrooms as I passed them:  Room 3, Room 5, Room 7, turn right at the end of the hall Room 9 and finally Room 11.  As I waited for the janitor or team lead to come open my classroom door, all I heard was



This was said in unison by a bunch of 2nd graders in an eerie song like chant.

I swear that I shook in my shoes when that happened.  Then they sprinted at me like

the claw

those little green aliens from Toy Story that prayed to “The Crane”.  Before I knew it … I was surrounded.  They were actually giving me a group hug.  I had never had one of those before.  Even though I knew they were little kids and they were innocent and happy … I still patted my pockets when they all let go (checking for my wallet, watch and cellphone).


I know that sounds like a shitty thing to say but this school was not our first choice for our kids.  Then again, we weren’t aware that we could pay an extra $50 to transfer our kids to a “better school”.  Oddly enough, I kept getting booked at this school for a while and I kind of miss it … every once in a while.

There’s a Party in my Head


It was a beautiful spring day when I was asked to substitute for the sixth grade math class.  I agreed to the phone call, suited up and walked in for my day.  The sixth grade’s first block was PE so that gave me an hour to talk with the other teachers and find out what was scheduled for the day, check the attendance roster and review the day’s lesson plan. 

I got all the needed information for the day, put my “quote of the day” on the board and set my phone alarms for the block switch times.  I then patiently waited for my class to come back from PE so that we could begin the day.

dodgeball PE

It didn’t take me long to realize that this 6th grade group was going to contain a few of my OCS regulars.  Especially when they walked in and most of them could be heard groaning, “Aww man…not Mr. Garcia”.  While they complained, others were intrigued and began asking question after question after question.  It almost felt like I was a museum guide and they were a bunch of sugar feed 2nd graders.

It took me a bit to calm everyone down and answer the “where is our teacher” and “how long are you going to be our sub” questions.  A few minutes into the lesson the classroom phone rang and the office lady was requesting one of my OCS kids for an early dismissal.  I called his name and when he answered, I told him, “grab your things and head to the office … you’re going home.”  He got excited for a minute and distracted the class by hooting and hollering for a couple of seconds then asked,

“Why am I going home?”

Without skipping a beat, I responded with “I didn’t ask but don’t worry…in my mind I’m throwing a party in my head” (responding to his cheers for early dismissal).  “Oh yea … well … I’m happy too” he stuttered “cause I won’t be stuck in this class with you either”, he muttered as he slowly walked out of the class.  I smiled at him in my regular, evil way, closed the door on him and continued with the day.

I didn’t think anything about what I had said for a while until the next morning when I was asked to return for OCS.  When I walked in, the Principal and Assistant Principal were both standing in the office waiting for me and they were smiling.

laughing at Don in group photo

I know that I didn’t show it at the time but I was actually pretty worried when they said that they needed to talk to me.  Once they got me into the office and closed the door, they both started laughing and carrying on about my comment to the OCS kid.  I apologized for the comment because I knew it wasn’t “cool” but they just laughed and said, “you’re fine, his mom called yesterday after school and complained about how ‘cold’ you were to him, especially since he was being pulled out due to his uncle passing away.”

That’s right … this kid’s uncle had just died and unbeknownst to me, I told him that I was throwing a party in my head because he is leaving.

cold blooded


His mom was furious and had apparently called up to the school and complained to anyone that would answer the phone.  She requested that I be fired; never has anything to do with her kids ever again, demanded a formal apology and other outrageous things like a public execution.  According to “legend”, she even filed a complaint on my behalf for my comment but to this day, I still have not seen or heard a single blip about it.

It was weird walking around the school for the next few days with some of the teachers, office workers and staff thanking me for the laugh but I honestly felt like crap for saying that but could not show weakness in OCS.

It took the OCS kid about a week to come back to school and when I ran into him in the halls, I pulled him aside and told him (without being asked to) “I’m sorry for your loss.” He looked at me kind of confused and asked, “What are you talking about?”  I paused and said, “Your uncle…the one that passed away last week?”  He thought for a minute and said, “Oh him…I didn’t really like him anyway.”


I’m sad to say that, I really wasn’t shocked by this but it just made feel sorry for his mom … even though she wanted me gone.

Oh well, we learn something new every day.

The Jersey

The Jersey


Warning: Some of these stories will make you laugh, some will make you feel all warm inside and others might straight up piss you off.  I hope that you all remember how we, as former students, treated our substitutes back in the day and see that our position in the schools has changed but the kids seem to be getting worse.  I never said that this blog would be in any order.  I can remember certain things better than others and hope that my lack of sleep from the past few semesters of college doesn’t affect the stories.

During my second year of subbing for the district, I had made a name for myself as the “heartless OCS teacher”.  I was tired of constantly hearing the kids say, “it’s not fair” or “but the other kids always get to do that” or my personal favorite “but my mom and dad always let me do that at home”.  By this time, if I was seen walking through the halls, a silence would fall over the kids.  It was creepy and cool.

This was the Friday before Super Bowl XLVI, 46 for those of you who can’t read Roman numerals.  The students were able to wear their favorite team’s gear for Spirit Day.  Since it was the New York Giants against the New England Patriots, the school was draped in a very patriotic Red, White and Blue.


The school that I was working at usually gave me 3 locations to hold my OCS.  There was the Library supply room which was quiet … too quiet, an extra classroom inside the building that offered too many distractions for the OCS kids or a storage classroom in the portable building that was shared by the Orchestra class.

I liked the 3rd one the most because:

  •  I’m a band geek from way back when.
  • band geek
  •  Most of the kids that were in OCS couldn’t stand the music (torture #1).
  •  In order to get to the building, we had to walk past the playground that these  kids wouldn’t be able to play in (torture #2).
  • When the Orchestra was done playing, the kids had to listen to the other kids outside playing (torture #3).
  • I actually believed that the building was haunted (I’ll cover this one later).

On this day, I had 3 “jokers” occupying my OCS room.  Two of them were repeat offenders, while the last one was a clueless tag-along.  I don’t remember exactly what they were in OCS for but one of them was about to learn a lesson that he wouldn’t soon forget.

Shortly after the 6th grade Orchestra finished playing, they rushed into the OCS room to store their instruments.  There was this one kid, we will call him Boy, that was always smiling and joking but that day his head was down and it looked like he had just finished crying.  When I asked him what was wrong, Boy answered by saying, “it’s this stupid shirt, sir.”  I asked him to show me the shirt and there it was, right smack in front of me …


A duct tape Tom Brady New England Patriot’s Jersey.  I looked surprised but 1 of my OCS kids started to laugh at him.  Boy started to get red in the face, and then told the OCS kid to shut up.  I asked Boy, “What’s wrong with it” (Little did he know that I had made a few shirts of my own in the past like “Save a tree, eat a beaver” for my college buddy and the countless number of iron-on Star Wars decals from when I was younger)?  Boy answered with “Everyone’s been making fun of me because of this shirt today.”  My OCS kid quickly commented with, “Because it’s not a real jersey, stupid.  It’s made from duct tape for crying out loud.”  Before Boy could say another thing, I asked my OCS kid, “What has your dad ever made for you?”


His face quickly went from laughing to shock.

I explained to the group that jerseys are expensive and maybe his dad couldn’t find one in his size because we live in Texas and don’t carry many New York or New England team’s merchandise in our stores.

I told Boy, “You, my friend, own an original Tom Brady jersey. That is the coolest jersey I’ve seen yet.   Who else can ever say that?”

I asked him if I could take a picture of his shirt, Boy agreed then he walked back to class with his head held up and smiling again while my OCS group was dead silent for a good 10 minutes.

It’s not every day that you get to stand up for someone else but I’m glad I was able to get that Boy out of his funk and back to normal.

Too bad his Patriots lost to the Giants that weekend.


Oh well, the picture of his shirt will last forever, Forever, FOREVER, 4-EVER!!!!


And now for something completely different

Memoirs of a Substitute Teacher


Rene D Garcia


When I was a student in Alice High School, I had this dream of being a teacher after I graduated.  I enrolled in Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi under the veil that I wanted to become a Music teacher but I really couldn’t see myself in a room listening to some kid “honking away” at their instrument and saying, “That sounds great, Buddy. I can tell that you’ve been practicing.”


Unfortunately, my method for dealing with music being played wrong would have been more like,”I can tell by how bad you sound, that your instrument was used as a door stop this weekend.  Maybe we could have you play in a concert for the deaf. I suggest that you give up music and take up sign language … because that’s how bad you are and you should be denied the gift of sound.”  Yeah… If you couldn’t tell… I was/am kind of an asshole.

At that time, I really didn’t know much about encouragement but I knew that I had it in me to help others.  The only thing that was keeping me from this was that I loved making money and I loved having fun.  So it only took me another 15 short years and a handful of jobs to finally get back to my dream of being a teacher.

I hope to one day be remembered by my students like I remember some of my former teachers.


Mrs. Garcia, my 3rd grade teacher that always made fun of how small I wrote but never let me do just enough to get by.  She wanted me to get all A’s because she knew that I was capable of it.

Mr. Lerma, my 6th grade Math teacher who made learning fun by wrapping math around sports.  He also made sure that we never lost our values or our discipline.  He always wore Longhorn/ Coyote Burnt Orange on every Friday in support of both teams.


Mrs. Quick, my 11th grade Honors Chemistry and 12th grade Honors Physics teacher who stopped me in the hall before I walked into her class and pissed me off by saying, “So you’re Ronnie and Robert’s little brother… I wonder which one you’re going to be like in my class.”  I guess she knew that asking me that silly question was going to light a fire fueled by anger that would later make me work my ass off for better grades.

And finally; Mr. De la Garza, my 12th grade Honors Calculus teacher who pushed me so hard to make me understand that my “breaking point” was where I did my best work.  He never let me give up on myself, he stayed after school for tutoring, came in early for tutoring and didn’t want me to memorize the work… he wanted me to know how to find the answer, which is far more important.

I also owe a lot to my parents for keeping me when I know that they sometimes would drive past the fire department and wanted to drop me off but would only slow down, grit their teeth, say a quick prayer then keep going …even though I was just visiting from college.

My wife also deserves an Award, a National holiday or even a Sainthood


named for her (and this is what it should look like) for staying with me so long and keeping this old mule when anyone else would have traded me in or just put me down in order to make glue.

Currently, I am an OCS (On Campus Suspension) teacher and a Math and Reading tutor for an elementary school.  I don’t have a contract yet but I am booked till the end of the year at my current school because for some odd reason … the faculty and administration like how I am with the kids and don’t mind my odd movie quotes and my desire to give the kids a form of structure that I had as a kid.

Some of the students say that I’m too strict and that I act like a police officer because I prefer them to answer with respect.

key and peele

Call me crazy but I still believe that it is the parent’s job to raise their children and teach them to respect their elders so that the teachers can educate.


Forgive me for getting of track,

but these four teachers inspired me to become a teacher and they are Legendary!!!

So I will keep up with my part by running through past and present episodes of my adventures through the years and all you have to do is sit back and read.  Comment if you want, share if you must and Macarena only when you’re drunk.