Adventures in Subbing

On January 18, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Matt Williams

As a member of the Alumni Service Corps, I am one of the go-to people to substitute teach classes at Brophy.  Caleb Alpaugh, Matt Moore, Matt Smith, and I are the second wave of subs after Scott Heideman, the sub coordinator.

At first it was nerve racking to walk into a strange classroom with no idea of what to expect, but it has become one of my favorite parts of my job this year.  I sub an average of 2-3 classes per day.  Some weeks with teachers on retreat are really busy, and I’ll sub 5-6 periods per day for several days in a row.

The great part about subbing is that I have gotten to know a lot more students than I normally would from my one class with 12 students.  From AP Comparative Government to Spanish I, you name it, I’ve subbed it.  It’s always fun to walk into a new classroom and get a feel for the class.  Every teacher has his or her own style, and their classrooms and students reflect it.

I try to add a little bit of knowledge (and fun) to the classes that I sub for.  If there is time, I’ll play an interesting psychology video or do a short demonstration.  I’ve even done a few magic tricks!  Over the time that I’ve been subbing, I’ve taught students about subliminal messages, showed them how to find their blind spot, demonstrated that peripheral vision is in black and white, and played videos about the funny effects of inattention blindness.  I am constantly impressed by the intelligence of the Brophy students.  Every day, students ask interesting questions or offer new bits of insight on the psychology presentations.

This is one of the optical illusions that I show classes. Stare at the flag for 15-20 seconds and then look at a white surface. What do you see?

Even though I sub a lot, some students still have trouble with my name.  One senior referred to me just as “Psychology” after I subbed his class.  One day when entering a classroom to sub, I overheard a freshman say, “Hey, it’s That Guy!”  Well, at least I have a few nicknames!

One of my most interesting subbing experiences came last semester when I was subbing for Mr. Olson’s Freshman Choir class.  I knew it would be a difficult class because it was the final period of the day and was made up of over 60 freshmen.  I decided to take attendance and then bring them down to the Student Activities Center.  Once there, I hooked up my computer to the projector and had them sing some old classics like “Uptown Girl” and “Don’t Stop Believing.”  It was going swimmingly, as swimmingly as 60-plus freshmen belting out 80’s hits can go, when I was surprised to see Coach Heideman emerge from his classroom behind the projector.  I had forgotten that he teaches 7th period in the room connected to the Student Activities Center.  Needless to say, our singing was slightly interfering with his lesson plan for the day.  We ended the impromptu concert, but it was definitely a unique moment in my time at Brophy while it lasted.

Until next time,

Matt Williams a.k.a. “That Guy”


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