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.
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.
IT IS NOT THE TEACHER’S JOB TO RAISE AND SPOON FEED THE CHILDREN!!!
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.