Phil Douglass teaches Mt. Eccles Elementary School students to play harmonica on Aug. 31, 2021. File photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith for The Cordova Times

One of the best ways to get to kids, parents and the community  

By Cathy Pegau 

We moved to Cordova in June of 2007. In August, when I registered the kids for school, I was asked if I’d be interested in working as a substitute. I said sure, but thought little of it as we settled into our new home. Before long, I received a phone call. Could I start work at the school ASAP? Like, within the next two days?  

Well, a quick trip to the superintendent’s office to fill out an application and to the troopers to have a background check later, I was on the sub list. Since then, I think I’ve been just about every teacher or paraprofessional in both schools at one time or another.  

Top ten reasons why being a substitute rocks:  

10. You’re as excited about in-service days/holidays/snow days as the kids are. (No early morning phone calls! Woo hoo!)  

9. You can arrange a work schedule around your time available.  


8. Variety is the spice of life. Today, kindergarten. Tomorrow, home economics at the high school. Next week? Who knows!  

7. Cordova teachers are super organized and leave detailed lesson plans. Makes the job easy and fun when you know what you’re supposed to be doing!  

6. Fantastic teachers and staff who are always there to help you out.  

5. Great students!  

4. See who’s in your child’s daily life, from administrators and teachers to fellow students. Even if you don’t have kids in school, it’s a great way to see what’s happening in today’s education system.  

3. Learning something new.  

2. Teaching someone something new.  

1. The sense of community. You get to know kids, parents, school staff. Eventually, you feel like you know just about everyone, at least by sight. And it makes me smile to walk down the street and hear a little voice call out, “Hi, Mrs. P.!”  

No, a sub’s life isn’t predictable, but it’s never boring either. Why not give it a try?  

Cathy Pegau is a local Cordova author, parent and teacher. This story was originally run in The Cordova Times in 2007 and re-run in the Feb. 9 print edition.