While attending the Hayward Education Association’s press conference at Tennyson High regarding contract negotiations, I overheard a few teachers — who sounded more than ready to strike — planning to remove, hide or lock up their VCRs so that substitutes would be “forced to teach.”

After hearing this, I couldn’t help but remember some of the most memorable movies — courtesy of a substitute teacher — I’ve seen in school.

My favorite has to be the 1993 hit Rudy, which showed me that dreams really do come true. If memory serves me right, I saw the film in a photography class.

What are some of your favorite or not-so-favorite flicks you’ve seen in school thanks to a substitute?

Note: Hayward Unified does have a contingency plan in the event of a teacher work stoppage. Lesson plans that cater to specific student needs, such as classes that focus on preparing for the California High School Exit Exam — set to be administered today and Wednesday — have been prepared by the district.


  • Mike

    Whenever my Spanish teacher was absent we’d have to watch La Bamba, or E.T…. In Spanish.

  • Mikey Bhang

    I am preparing for the strike, waiting for that other shoe to drop. I moved some of the nicer Imacs, ca. year 2000, out of my room. It was me who acquired them. I await with trepidation the presence of some ethically challenged stranger in my room. I need to talk with the kids [under 8!] about being responsible. Fat chance.
    This will be my first strike. Perhaps next time I will be chastened by the effects of apathy on my personal possessions, or, as in the case of the VCR’s, personal non-possessions.

    BTW in HUSD we have VCR’s. I sure ain’t got one at home! Our materials come with DVD’s, and we scramble to find players.

  • She says

    That’s funny what you said about the contigency plan. I have seen loads of copies
    arriving at my school site that look like they come from coloring books. By the way,
    there is a rumor going around that the district spent $30,000 at Kinko’s preparing that
    crap for the subs in the event of a strike. As far as I know, the district owns plenty of
    copy machines, and all of those highly paid administrators (who
    received the 16.84% raises on top of 6 figure salaries to begin with) are perfectly
    capable of making copies, and don’t they have assistants who could help out too?

  • Jeanne

    The copies are every assessement we’ve already done this year. Having children sit and retake tests all day long is not educationally sound. It’s and attempt to get them to sit and be quiet. Bon chance!

  • Danielle

    The last time Hayward teachers went on strike, I was in the 7th grade. My brother and I brought the teachers cookies and coffee every day they were on strike. We didn’t go to school because my mom said that the teachers needed our support.

    Every time there was a sub, we watched a movie. At least once a year we would watch “Stand and Deliver” with Edward James Olmos. In Spanish classes we watched “Selena” or a Disney movie that was dubbed in Spanish. Sometimes there was a documentary or two. I don’t remember what else we watched, but “Stand and Deliver” was a substitute’s staple.

  • Disabled Teacher Going Broke

    I was an employee of HUSD until I was injured on the job. I was forced to retire at a young age due to an injury I received because of the stupidity of another HUSD employee. Now I am in constant pain and unable to work at the job I loved. After paying for the Health Benefits for my family from my Disability Retirement, I receive less than $1000.00 a month. At no time after my injury did anyone from the District Office EVER ask me what they could do to help me in order for me to perform my job. The Workman’s Compensation Nurse was ADVISING the Doctor I was seeing as to what treatment I should be given. By the time I received proper treatment, my injuries were far more severe and I am unable to work. HUSD should pay for ALL employees Health Benefits. Who can live on $1000.00 a month?

  • I went to school in the last few years before the VCR was popular, so showing a movie was pretty complicated, and I don’t recall any specific movie. I do recall watching “film strips” which were atrocious.

    When I was substitute-teaching (in another district), I was occasionally directed to show a portion of the movie for whatever in-class novel was being read, or sometimes a movie related to a unit theme. For the latter, I was twice asked to show the movie “Star Wars” in connection with a unit on the “Heroic Journey.” For novels, I had the joy of showing “Huck Finn,” “Call of the Wild,” “A Cry in the Wild” (Hatchet), “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Twelve Angry Men.” There were also some history-related films, such as “The Prince of Egypt” shown to 7th graders.

    I was very rarely asked to show a movie which just seemed like a time-filler.

    I wouldn’t ever accept work as a substitute teacher during a strike, so I’m not sure what’s going on, other than what I’ve seen on a couple of TV news reports which interviewed students: one pair of students reported that all high school studnets who arrived were sent into the cafeteria and given copies of “Up Front” (a New York Times magazine which I often saw as a sub) and told to write a summary. At both schools where reporters interviewed students, the students said that once they signed in, they were either encouraged or “allowed” to leave campus.

  • another angry tired teacher

    Well, after calling parents and promising a safe and academic environment, all the K-3 students at my school did was color and play Bingo all day. Shameful lies on the part of the district. On the positive side, the Hayward community has been incredibly supportive! Parents have been bringing food and drinks all day to us on the picket line. THANK YOU! You make us want to stay when other districts look very attractive right now, especially with no district contribution towards health care!

  • I’m quite surprised at the high level of parent support for the teachers. The district has done a very effective job of portraying the teachers as greedy and unreasonable by demanding a “16.08%” raise and rejecting an “8.6%” raise. (Yes, I know those numbers are manipulated garbage, but you must admit that the district sounds better in a sound bite.)

    I would not be surprised if the “support” wanes quickly, if parents must deal with a protacted strike.

    The district has been working pretty hard to provoke this strike. In the past few weeks I’ve started to wonder what possible benefit could come to the district from a strike. If this were a private industry situation, I’d jump right in and say that the management team appears to be trying to “bust the union” but that’s really absurd. Or are they just trying to demonstrate enough overt contempt for teachers that hundreds more teachers will leave, pushing overall salaries down as new teachers are hired to replace them?