About the Author

Teresa is a Brooklyn-born, Jersey-raised, Midwest transplant. She’s a writer, editor, theater director, and creative collaborator. Teresa sees all of her work—across genres and disciplines—as an opportunity to help people say what they mean.

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Reader Interactions


  1. For the past five years, I have been working as a sub teacher, and this reading hit home to me. This is so true, we have to pick our battles. But I have discovered that some of these pupils are looking for a gentle hug, a kind word, and a daily smile. Over the years I have been called mama, grandma, they appreciate my caring touch.

    • Ty for reading, Joan. I agree; I never start out as an adversary. Even when other teachers or administrators tried to ‘warn’ me about certain students, I took that with a grain of salt because it isn’t fair to the student to have someone else make their first impression for them. Keep on keeping on!

  2. Thank you for allowing me to have this experience through your eyes. Yes, I remember how the substitute teachers were treated. One incident was as if the inmates had taken over the asylum. The poor woman ran out in tears. That next day we got Ms McQuertter! Her physical appearance alone made it clear that we better not make a sound, not even to breathe!

    Most teachers are angels, especially the substitutes because they usually come with the desire to make a positive difference.👩🏽‍🏫🍎

  3. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your outlook- how not wanting to go in like a deer caught in headlights. Expectation remains the biggest killer of joy, so you took the road WAY LESS traveled and found your niche.

    KUDOS, brave Sista! 👏🏽

  4. I, too, substitute in the elementary setting and find it to challenging but rewarding. There are times when I want to throw up my hands but I do not. In doing long-term assignments, I feel that I am contributing more to the students and feel a bigger purpose to them.

    • Ty for reading, Donna! It took so much energy to reorient myself each day to go to someplace new. So taking a long-term assignment, where I knew I’d be going to the same place every day, allowed me to reallocate that energy toward what I was actually doing in the classroom. Keep on keeping on!

  5. Wow this is truly me. I started I’m August as a long term teacher with no experience I excepted the job I wanted to start a new career.. While I started with 7th grade.They were a little ruff but in November they got an English teacher that was certified. Well I took the next assignment as a 5th grade long term and as I speak I am not feeling it… Wow…thanks for sharing. . .

    • Ty for reading, Letreanna! It’s definitely not easy work–especially if you care. Maybe try working with older students, or much younger ones? Good luck!

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