Don't expect students to take advantage of substitute teacher Lester Strickland. He sticks to the lesson plan and leaves notes for the teacher.
But the substitute in Rock Hill's school district also thrives on helping students.
Strickland recently was selected statewide substitute teacher of the semester by Kelly Educational Staffing, a human resources provider that employed more than 20,000 substitute teachers during the 2006-2007 school year. Kelly has furnished the district with an average of 70 to 75 substitutes per day, according to published reports.
Strickland was chosen for the honor because of feedback from teachers and school administrators in kindergarten through grade 12. He will be eligible for the national Substitute Teacher of the Year honor in the spring.
"Lester is a wonderful substitute teacher," said Claudia McKay, a teacher at Rawlinson Road Middle School. "He is reliable, conscientious and has good classroom management skills."
Herald correspondent Christy Mullins asked
Strickland a few questions. Here are his responses.
Q: How long have you been substitute teaching?
A: Through Kelly Educational Staffing, I began substitute teaching for the 2007-2008 school year, which began in August. I am retired from the military and private industry, and worked as an income tax professional. I have a grandchild in elementary school and want to be involved in the school district.
Q: Why do you think you were chosen as substitute teacher of the semester?
A: I feel I was chosen as substitute teacher of the semester because I always try to be reliable, dependable, and follow the lesson plan left by the teacher. I arrive at school early to go over the lesson plan for the day. I like to leave the teacher detailed notes about what was accomplished during their absence, and I take pride in knowing that when I substitute for a teacher, I do the best job possible.
Q: What's your favorite memory substitute teaching?
A: My favorite memory substitute teaching is of a student who was having a hard time completing a math assignment. After working through one of the problems with the student and explaining the solution to her, it was very rewarding to see her big smile and hear her say. "I got it now, thanks for helping me understand."
Q: What kind of example do you try to set for your students?
A: I try to lead by example. I let the students know that even though I am not their regular teacher, I will be following the lesson plans, and conducting the class as if their regular teacher was present. I have a positive attitude and show respect for each student as an individual, and I encourage students to do the same.
with statewide substitute teacher of the semester Lester Strickland, who teaches in Rock Hill