Any ideas on what my History teacher did on Wednesdays?

For the first half of my sophomore year in high school, I had a “permanent substitute” (taking over temporarily for the regular teacher, who was out due to leukemia) for my history class. He was pretty ordinary except he had every Wednesday off.

Whenever we asked him about it, he’d say he wasn’t allowed to tell. After eliminating the idea that he was a government spy or CIA agent I figured it was just the school’s administration who wouldn’t allow him to.

But the question remains, what was he doing? What kind of job is just one day a week? And how come he was allowed to miss a day every week for the first semester without the school getting annoyed?

Any ideas? I know it’s kind of pointless, but I’ve just been curious.

That is bizarre. I know I’d be pretty curious if I were you. So curious I’d probably die if I couldn’t know.

Maybe he just liked having Wednesdays off…and he knew just why the secretary was disappearing into the principal’s office every afternoon? Dare I say it- blackmail? Okay, maybe not.

He could have been sick in some way, and he needed to go on Wednesdays for treatments.

Whatever it was, perhaps it wasn’t that he wasn’t allowed to tell. It could have been he was just uncomfortable sharing with a bunch of high school students he didn’t know that well, and just said that. You know how people bug you about private things sometimes.

I’m thinking stuff like medical treatments, too.

But then I also thought maybe he was convicted of something and had to do community service one day a week. For all you know he may have been on the side of the highway picking up garbage.

Hmm. What else?

A good chance that he was taking a class or two to complete his teaching certificate. A couple things go to suggest that.

  1. It was the same time each Wednesday. This suggests a regularly scheduled, unchangeable thing. A college class hints at that. I am not sure where in Arizona you are, but if you are away from a University that would offer teacher certification classes it would make sense that he would have to take the day off.

  2. Your school permitted it. Most schools don’t like disruptions (such as teachers regularly out of class) unless they are getting something out of it. A certified teacher with a proven track record is up there for something gotten out of it.

  3. Hi Opal!

  4. He didn’t tell you. Often schools don’t like the word put out that they have uncertified staff teaching classes. They will bend over backwards to avoid letting that information get out. Such as saying, “we will let you work on your teaching credentials on Wednesdays and not dock your pay if you don’t let the word out.”

Was he hired by the district, the next year (semester?). This would suggest that this was indeed the case if he were.

What part of Arizona are you in? That could enter into it too. Did you ever see him out of the school? If so where? These could give hints too.


Hmm, the medical treatment theory is good; I never saw him sick or even sniffling (in fact, some of the kids commented on how he never took sick days and was never gone except Wednesdays) but I know not all medical problems have outward symptoms like that.

The certificate theory sounds pretty plausible to me. After the semester was over and the first teacher returned (recovered from the leukemia, thankfully), he told some of the other staff that he was going to London, England.

TV Time, I’m in the southern part of Arizona, about an hour’s drive from Phoenix. He could very well have been going to Arizona State University to complete his certificate, since he was really young, in his early 20’s. I never saw him out of school, but a month ago, my grandmother* saw him at a local teacher’s hangout. He said he was considering coming back.

It seems kind of weird that he would complete the certificate and then move to England, and then come back, but teachers can be weird.

Oh, and I remember one more thing. He told us that he was from Ohio and one day he took a plane to Phoenix. He got in his car, drove, and stopped at the first town he came to, ours. He applied for the job and got it. I dunno if that would make any difference, though.

*she teaches there

Actually, it does, to teach any sort of social studies in some states you have to have certain courses to help you appreciate the local historical aspects. And a person fresh off the plane from Ohio would definitely not have those specialized courses. So it could be a possible supporting leg.

I should mention that I posted my original reaction at work but during my 25 minute drive home, I got to thinking more and more about how likely the medical treatments were (something like dialysis or radium treatments). Then I get home and see this latest addition of yours.

If it were 50 years ago, I would say the spur of the moment going to Arizona from Ohio would argue for medical treatments since everybody was sent to Arizona for the “climate”, but really, it doesn’t seem practical in the last 10 years. It isn’t done that much any more. This is especially negated by the trip to London. If you went to Arizona for your health, would you then turn around and go to London? It seems unlikely for a couple different reasons.


Maybe he was a costumed crimefighter.

My guess is that he was a member of some religion which has wednesday as his holy day. Of course the school system isn’t gonna let him talk about that!

And it’s probably nothing but did anybody else notice the problem with the guy’s story? He’s from Ohio… so he picks up and flies to phoenix… then he gets in his car… Fly? Car? Did he have the car sent? Did he buy a new one? Am I missing something?

A rental car, Phnord Prephect. When asked, I remember him saying he was Christian.

I’m curious about this matter to0, and will throw this out as a possible explanation.

Perhaps there was some deadline for hiring full-time employees which was missed and the teacher had to be classified or funded from a temporary, part-time employee account. He therefore could only work four days a week, but for some other reason, such as a state requirement, teacher union rule etc, it was a grey area of having a part time employee for a full time class. The school board didn’t want a flap about it.

The fact that it was Wednesday and the same day each week was just a matter to simplify the scheduling.

Many Science/Engineering college profs are allowed, sometimes even encouraged, to work one day a week in an allied industry to “keep their skills fresh”*. But I have never heard of a high school teacher with such a deal. Might happen.

*Which is laughable since industry is behind academics where I come from.

I know that in some teachers union contracts, substitute teachers are not allowed to work every school day. Perhaps since this guy was officially only a substitute, he would have to take one day off per week because of the union.

It might have something to do with pay. When I was a sub, the pay was X dollars per day but it went up to X + $20 a day if you were a sub for the same teacher for five consecutive days (retroactive to your first day). The district may be giving him every Wednesday off to avoid paying the extra money. It is devious but it happens. I had a similar situation which eventually resulted in me telling the assistant principal to go f*ck himself.

I bet he did his shopping that day. Probably had buttered scones for tea, too.

More seriously, do you think he was just the sort of guy who just wanted to keep the students guessing? I’ve known several teachers who love the sort of rumors the students start up about them when they create a mystery.

Doesn’t explain what he did do, but the prohibition on speaking about it may have just been made up.

Wow, lots of theories! I can’t discount the union or the pay ideas, so they’re a possibility. I think I’ve mentioned everything he mentioned of relevance already, except maybe I forgot to say it was his first year teaching.

Also, panamajack, no, he seemed kind of shy actually, like he didn’t know what to do with himself. He wasn’t much to socialize with anybody from what I heard.

Oh! Well, he was probably a serial killer, then. He no doubt would devote his Wednesdays to stalking his victims.

giggle no, he was too cute to be a serial killer, I swear it.

Hey, Ted Bundy was cute too :wink:

I’ve been wondering this awhile…so did you have a second substitute who only came in on Wednesdays, or did you just never have class on Wednesdays?

Maybe he was a Fourth Day Adventist taking off the sabbath.