Behind the substitute: who are the people that come in to guest teach?


Photo courtesy of Miller Redden

Mr. Miller Redden, a substitute teacher at WCHS, can recently be seen working on a law issue outside of his teaching at other high schools. He has been a substitute for WCHS for a while now and is always willing to help the students who come to him.

By Kendyl Groisser, Assistant online editor

Substitute teachers are often the most underappreciated types of teachers in schools today. Most students will brush them off and ignore them, and not many will take the time to introduce themselves and get to know the substitutes that are sitting right in front of them. 

At WCHS, there are a variety of different substitutes that walk through the door each day. They come from many different backgrounds and previous careers. Some are teachers, lawyers and even astrophysicists.  

“Our subs have incredible backgrounds. We have a lot of subs who are retired lawyers, diplomats, teachers, union negotiators, worked in the courts… [overall] just very fascinating backgrounds,” Patrice Thomas, the Office Secretary at WCHS, said. “I always get a kick out of talking to them.”

While most students do not take the time to get to know their teachers, many may find what they have to say to be extremely intriguing. For example, Miller Redden, a retired lawyer who graduated law school and worked at a law firm for over forty years, is always eager to share his stories. 

“I left teaching to attend Law School and practiced law in Montgomery County for over forty years,” Redden said. “During my law practice, I also taught a business course at Montgomery College for a few years.”

Thomas, who has worked at WCHS for ten years, values the substitutes that walk through the doors each day. One part of her job is to ensure that the substitutes that come to WCHS are appreciated and supported with any resources that they may need. By taking care of the subs at WCHS, Thomas helps provide a healthy and happy environment that the substitute teachers want to come back to. 

“WCHS doesn’t usually have a problem getting subs because of the students,” Thomas said. “Students at WCHS are very good and well-behaved.”

In other words, substitutes at WCHS don’t come back for the money, but instead the experience that they have with the students on a personal basis. They are able to have a connection with the students and have the ability to further their understanding of the world. 

“Some subs like to teach the whole class. We have a sub in computer tech who is teaching the students all the time.” Thomas said. “So it’s interesting because of their backgrounds and what they can do and teach.” 

While most teachers take their time to explain a specific subject in school, substitute teachers are given the chance to not only explain the subject they’re substituting for, but also life skills that they learned before they retired and became a sub. I substitute because I enjoy interacting with students.” Redden said. “[I] hope I can provide them with information they can use after graduation.”