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The Day The Sub Came Paperback – August 19, 2010
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About the Author
Carol Gilbert taught for seven years as a substitute teacher for the Cupertino, Saratoga, Moreland, and Campbell School Districts in California. Then she changed careers opting to go into technology and managed various engineering groups and did a lot of technical writing. Now she is grateful for the opportunity to write about some of her experiences and to volunteer working with children, once again, at the Palo Alto Art Center.
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As in "Magic Schoolbus" adventures, the book goes through silly things that students do to trick a sub, but also some things that might be scary. For example, everyone can chuckle that Mrs. Gilbert is called "Mrs. Giblets" and that students would set the clock ahead to get out for recess 5 minutes early; but the class chipmunk being lost and a girl with a bloody nose call for thought, caring, and action by the sub.
The book is a "let's find out by doing" approach, again as in the "Magic Schoolbus" adventures, and encourages discussion with "asides," comments away from the main storyline. One aside is "I hate being benched don't you?" and another asks, "Do you think that punishment sounds fair?"--questions students will surely have comments on. Kids get into trouble and out of trouble and learn things, and the teacher has a satisfying day too.
Some of the day's events include 2 boys switching seats, the class telling the sub they finished their book already, sending notes to each other, dropping a book to make noise, running out the door when the bell rings. You never know what will happen, and it is quite a day, but all gets back to normal at the end of the day, and the class sings Happy Birthday, Mrs. Gilbert (no more Giblets).
Subs were very difficult teachers to manage. Eva thought that most of the time "they don't know where anything is or how to say our names and we think they're stupid." And so they were stuck with Mrs. Gilbert, "Mrs. Giblets" according to Zoe. Eddie and Hui swapped places, everyone's books were dropped on the floor, and when recess came they all "ran out of the room like a herd of elephants. Mrs. Giblets, who claimed that day was her birthday, didn't have a chance against with that classroom, but did she? She "was getting harder and harder to fool," but then again, the class was actually starting to like her. Would Mrs. Gilbert really have a happy birthday or would Eva's classroom spoil her special day?
This charming book is one that every substitute teacher can learn from and relate to. Mrs. Gilbert, a.k.a. "Giblets," wasn't just one of those angry or stupid substitute teachers that most kids expect to come into the classroom, but rather a very experienced sub who was there to help them enjoy their day and actually learn. Interspersed throughout the text are italicized questions that the reader can ask him or herself about certain events happening in the book. This book is a learning experience for both students and teachers that will resonate with many of us. I liked the autobiographical bent of this book and also the way, in spite of the trickery going on, the positive slant toward the "dreaded" substitute teacher. If you are one, know one, or are thinking up a few ways to torture that very special breed of teacher, you just might want to take a look at this book!
This book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.