When I was in high school we loved having a substitute teacher. They were often clueless about the lessons we’d been working on
and were even often unschooled in the subject being taught. The result was a day off. We watched a movie. Rarely did we have an excellent substitute, one who could advance our learning but when we did it was an even better day.
Substitutes are the unsung heroes of everyday life, whether in the workplace or at home. When you call-in sick chances are someone will be there to take up the slack. When you need someone to watch the kids, a sub in the form of a sitter is called in.
Pinch hitters, pinch runners, relievers are waiting for their chance. Ohio State’s 2014 football season was notable for the team’s ability to call on back-up quarterbacks. Each time a QB was injured the fan base’s expectations were deflated fearing a lost season. Each time though they were buoyed by the demonstration of the sub who roared on without losing a beat.
Too often though the person called upon to sub sees their duty as a place-holder, someone who will idle the engine, keep it running but not move any farther down the road. But the best subs are those who take the job seriously, who respect the work and the person they are replacing such that the work is done well; the students are taught, the child is cared for, the strike is pitched, the touchdown is made.
And there is no better feeling knowing that when you can’t be at the controls the mission won’t be lost, that everything is in the hands of someone who knows the drill, someone who can not only warm your chair but who can move things forward.
Tim Sharp is a lecturer at Ohio University and the Director of Curriculum for TSOD.com – Training Services On Demand a corporate and government training company.