Mrs. Speels was awesome.
The Substitute Teacher
It wasn't because she was older and smaller than most substitute teachers; although she was. Or that she was funnier looking; which she wasn't. She was just plain awesome. Warren Flack proved it to our class.
Warren , who was usually kinda quiet, was transformed into something else by subs. His favourite game was to ask the sub why she had parked in the principal's parking stall. Of course they never had, but it always upset them until they checked it out at noon.. Even though one of the subs reported Warren to the principal, who was not amused, Warren kept on playing the same trick.
When Warren told Mrs. Speels she'd parked in the principal's parking stall, Mrs. Speels didn't even look concerned. She just said that she always came early enough, at every school, to park in the principal's parking spot because the principal's spot was always closest to the entry door. "Very convenient" she added.
Then, after school, Myrtle and I saw Mrs. Speels waiting at a bus stop, several blocks from the school, and we knew that she was more than cool. She was awesome! Mrs. Speels had even fooled Miranda Briggs, who never believed anything anyone said. (And nobody believed much of what Miranda said, either.)
When Mrs. Speels showed up again the next day, Warren was ready for revenge.
I hadn't been paying much attention, until a message came over the intercom asking Mrs. Speels to contact the office. She stopped the lesson and looked around for the phone. It was a little hard to see. Sort of tucked away beside a bookshelf. Mrs. Speels turned to the class and asked us how she could contact the office. Warren Flack got all red as he told Mrs. Speels: "You just had to talk into the speaker above the blackboard." Myrtle and I both put our fingers to our lips to warn the rest of the class to be quiet. Mrs. Speels looked up at the speaker and said, in a very clear voice: "Mrs. Speels here." Of course there was no answer, because the speaker was just a speaker.
I don't know where Warren got the nerve. He then told Mrs. Speels that Mrs. Bustress (our not-so-awsome regular teacher) often had trouble being heard and, sometimes, stood on a chair to get closer to the speaker. So Mrs. Speels, gamely, climbed up on a chair and shouted, louder than before: "Mrs. Speels here." Still no response.
When Warren looked around and saw how much fun the students were having, he just couldn't stop. So he suggested that, if Mrs. Speels would just step up onto the desk, she would be a lot closer to the speaker and would surely be heard.
So there we were, almost bursting, while Mrs. Speels gamely climbed up on the desk and shouted, still louder yet: "Mrs. Speels here." No reply. Then, in a voice that was amazingly loud for such a little person, she hollered: "This is Mrs. Speels."
Mrs. Speels had just finished her loudest shout, when the door flew open. Of course it was the principal, Mr. Grumble. Fortunately for us, Mr. Grumble always acted much nicer than his name sounded.
Mr. Grumble tried not to look too surprised at finding Mrs. Speels standing on the desk, but his mouth did hang open for a moment, and he just barely caught a smile when it was half-way across his face. Then Mr. Grumble asked, very calmly: "Mrs. Speels, why are you standing on the desk?"
Mrs. Speels said, with a big wink to the class, "We were having a guessing game about new words on this week's spelling list. The word that I was acting out was 'ascend.'" "Warren's guess, and she looked straight at Warren: 'silly' was probably better than the word I had in mind.
This time Mr. Grumble didn't try to hide his surprise. He shook his head a couple of times, and left the room looking back over his shoulder and grinning at the class. A moment later, he popped his head back into the room and relayed the message he'd come to deliver: "It was a call from your husband. Your judo instructor is ill, so today's class is cancelled."
That clinched it. To our class, Mrs. Speels was forever awesome. She must have liked us too because she asked to be assigned to our class whenever Mrs. Bustress was away. And when Mrs. Speels was in charge we were as well-behaved for her as we were for Mrs. Bustress. Maybe even better.
Except for the time Warren Flack told Mrs. Speels that the back-up beeps from the garbage truck were an earthquake alarm, and that we all had to hide under our desks. Myrtle and I both think we heard Mrs. Speels make sort of a snorting sound, like when you can't hold a giggle in any longer, as she crawled under her desk.
Copyright Bill Rollans 1994 All rights reserved.
illustration by Sam Rollans (age 10)
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