Adventures of a Substitute Teacher is Tim Kreiter’s account of his years spent as a substitute teacher after a successful career as an aerospace engineer. Assignments ranged from pre-Kindergarten to high school classes and from Science, his specialty, to Special Education.
Kreiter obviously took his position as a substitute teacher seriously. He was there to educate students during his short-term assignments rather than simply stand in as a warm body. Equipped with a briefcase full of activities, a healthy supply of “bang-clank” equipment, a talent for cartooning and a relentless optimism, Kreiter was clearly one of those substitutes students come to know and respect. He handled situations with humor, creativity and adaptability.
Each chapter is devoted to one assignment. The average chapter length of three pages is an immediate indication that most assignments are not going to be discussed in-depth. His interaction with the students is consistently background information used mostly as stepping off points for his personal musings, witticisms and strolls down memory lane. The chapters read like mildly amusing stories told around the dinner table.
It often feels as though Kreiter is trying too hard. One of the most glaringly obvious examples is suggesting that a day of trying to interest students in a PowerPoint presentation could give Pearl Harbor Day a run for its money as a “date which will live in infamy.” Another chapter devotes four paragraphs to describing one of his childhood toys simply to end with a one-sentence comparison of how little control he felt he had in that particular class.
Kreiter comes across as a genuinely likeable man and engaging substitute teacher, but the compilation of his experiences is ultimately disappointing for a subject so full of potential.
Kathie is a writer, wife, mother and volunteer living in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Her passion for the written word is fulfilled by creating her own fictional work, freelancing, acting as an adviser to another author, and reading with her six year old daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Casa de Snapdragon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.