Hello students. My name is, uh, Señor Greenwood and I’ll be your substitute teacher today. Señora Clark caught some bug that’s been going around—she’s got a pretty dry cough apparently. You know how the winters can be. Anyway, while she’s out sick I will be teaching Spanish 2. Now, I should say that I don’t speak Spanish, but I do speak un poquito Spanish. Is that bueno with everyone?

You may be surprised to hear I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, because most public school substitutes are professionals in the field they happen to be teaching that day. Anyway, please forgive me if my Spanish doesn’t seem as authentic as Señora Clark’s, who got her certificate from SUNY Yonkers and, from what I’ve heard, spent a pretty wild weekend in Madrid during her junior year abroad.

Alright, I’m going to take attendance now. I’m sure I’m going to mess a lot of these up, so please take it easy on me. Okay. Jeez, I mean there are some really weird ones in here. God. You know what, let’s just assume all of you are here—aquí—and get started with the lesson.

Now, fear not, estudiantes, porque Señora Clark left me a very detailed lesson plan. It says—wow, I don’t understand any of the words on this worksheet, other than the English ones at the top that say, “You can just hand out the worksheet, they’ll know what to do, you don’t need to read it.” Well… let’s see. I can make out a bit of problem one. La cine means “movie theater.” Have any of you seen Spaceballs? That’s not in Spanish, pero me gusta mucho—I like it a lot.

Huh? You guys are working on the sheet? Oh, don’t mind me then. I might just take a little cat-nap, or maybe read this here single Far Side comic that is pinned to the bulletin board. Or maybe this copy of the school newspaper. Did you guys know Lizzie Simmons had two goals and an assist last night against West? That’s not bad. I used to play soccer when I was about your age. I also used to teach at West. That might come as a surprise. I bet you didn’t realize teachers could switch schools. Well, let’s just say I don’t know where I stand on the rivalry now, ha ha ha. But the thing that they don’t tell you about West is that—

Oh! I’m sorry, I see there’s a hand up. Un pregunta! What can I do for you, Matteo? Oh, no, not in here your name isn’t Matthew. Not en esta clase! Tell me, Matteo, does Señora Clark call you “Matthew”?

Really? She calls you Matthew? Well, she’s not here today. She is feeling no bueno. But go ahead, ask your question. What can I help you with, mi amigo? That means, “my friend,” for anyone who doesn’t know.

You’re done with the worksheet? Wow, you must be a smart one. What? You’re all done with the worksheet? Oh. Hmm. Well, it doesn’t look like Señora Clark left me anything else to give you—oh what’s this, there’s a note here let’s see what this says. “Si los estudiantes han terminado con su trabajo, simplemente hable con ellos sobre los eventos actuales.” Hmm. I think she’s saying “if the students… are…” you know what, let’s just watch a movie. Do you guys have a DVD player? I brought some stuff from home. What? A “smart” board? Oh. Yes, of course I know what that is. But how would we watch… I see. And do you think that Looney Toons might be on the YouTube, or—oh, great. Matteo would you mind pulling that up for us? Bueno. Muy bueno.

So nobody needs any help? Nobody at all? Wow, seems like these are the estudiantes mas inteligentes I’ve ever met. I guess I’ll just go back to reading my newspaper, which you’ll notice is in Spanish. I’m picking up words and phrases, but more importantly, I’m really getting a sense of it. Well, for the most part. As I explained earlier, I can read un poquito. Yeah, it looks like something happened in Barcelona yesterday. Something about… bears? Or no, wait, gold? Hmm. There was also either a failed or a successful assassination, which took place either in Eastern Europe or in the new Safdie Brothers’ film “Failed Assassination.”

Well, just a few minutes until the bell rings, and then you guys have either free period or study hall or science. Let’s just get to know each other un poquito. You know, kind of like the amount of Spanish that yo hablo. This may actually come as a surprise to some of you, but I am also an assistant coach on the baseball team. Yes, you can be a substitute teacher and an assistant coach at the same time. It is mucho trabajo but I think it’s worth it. What do you guys like to do despues de all of your clases? Anybody in Spanish club?

Well that sounds like the bell—hey everyone, that was a really, really great class. Muchas gracias. I feel like we all learned a lot. I look forward to estudio with all of you until Señora Clark gets off her ventilator. ¡Adiós!