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  • katelynsterchi

Books Help Substitutes!

I‘ve had many jobs all over the world interacting with all sorts of different types of people. After I published my first book, I wanted to do something totally different. I became a substitute teacher!


Substitute teaching is like being on a roller coaster with 20+ kids when the ride breaks down - you always have a backup plan and call in reinforcements when needed.


It’s thrilling.


I’ve learned what elementary school kids like to do these days, and I’ve had the opportunity to introduce them to my books. That’s been a lot of fun. I’ve also learned that they like to know your birthday, they clean up extra fast for a sticker, and minutes matter. Every minute.

children's drawing, art, children's art
A drawing of me from an elementary student.


In the beginning, I didn’t know the extent of what the power of a sticker could do. One day, when I was subbing first grade, it was clean up time, but the room was a mess. Papers and pencils on the floor, markers without their caps, scissors that appeared out of nowhere…so I told the kids that if everyone helped clean up the room, everyone would get a sticker later that day.


They all scrambled. Some kids dove down and grabbed the papers and pencils off the floor. Others went on a hardcore Easter egg hunt collecting all the marker caps.


“The brown cap does not go on the green marker, Sam!”


There wasn’t any evidence that the scissors had ever been out!


I had never seen a class clean up so fast at the mention of a sticker. I congratulated them and told them they would definitely get their stickers later! I was so happy and relieved…until I checked my watch. We still had six minutes left before lunch! Six whole minutes left with 20+ first graders staring at me. I panicked for a second, but then remembered…books help substitutes! Ollie! I raced to my backpack and grabbed my Ollie book.


“Guess what, guys? I wrote a book! It’s about an octopus!”


Ollie helped me out when I needed him! He ended up helping me quite a bit – just for fun and in times of desperation.


I’m not a substitute teacher anymore.


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