Our Favorite Substitute Teachers

Rotator — By on March 6, 2014 5:26 pm

The Top Five Subs

 By Bryce Cox

For the typical student at Mount Vernon High School, a full day of taking notes, quizzes, and tests can be extremely stressful. Most people would agree that on some days it can get to be too much. Often times there is no better way to relieve the anxieties of a school day than having an unexpected substitute teacher. As soon as the students see the sub, all the previous stress of the day falls off their shoulders. To most students, these people are superheroes. Each of them has their own style of a good time in the classroom, but through a recent survey, it was determined most students agree on five particular favorite substitutes. Although some of these teachers may not help out the classroom teachers with staying on task, students gain new perspectives about the subject they are learning. These are the top five substitutes that make a student’s school day:

#5 Mrs. Sauter

One of Mount Vernon’s previous full-time teachers, Jan Sauter taught mathematics for 19 years at MVHS, before retiring in 2012. Once students see her subbing in a classroom, they feel certain that the day is going to be great.

“I get to meet new kids and have a less stressful day from when I was a full time teacher,” said Mrs. Sauter. “All of these teachers have so many papers to grade and not having quite the agenda makes it more enjoyable.”

Mrs. Sauter loves mathematics and loves to teach the subject, but spending a day on a different subject can be more interesting. Luckily, most students who are in their junior and senior years have had Mrs. Sauter as their classroom teacher, before she retired. Even when she wasn’t a substitute, she was very well respected and liked. Most students know her, and are more than happy to see her substituting for their classes.

“I like how Mrs. Sauter has a general idea and knows the subject she is substituting for,” said junior Nolan Teubel. “Unlike most substitutes, you can ask her questions and she is able to help. Mrs. Sauter is also always willing to help and is thrilled by her time with the students.”

#4 Mr. Twachtmann

Most people only recognize Larry Twachtmann as “Mr. T”. This American veteran brings a bit of Japanese culture to your day no matter what subject he is subbing for. When kids hear they have this guy as their sub, they know they will have some fun.

Mr. T always starts the class with a bit of Japanese. He says, “Hello” and usually introduces himself. He always seems to stay on task in all of his classes, but overall he is a laid back person. For being a favorite substitute he doesn’t have much of a trademark. Mr. T isn’t noticed for having a signature style of teaching or reputation for when it comes to entertaining students, but that is why the students take joy in him. Students enjoy Mr. T because he is always lenient and doesn’t mind giving everyone a relaxing day.

“He is fun to talk to,” said senior Ashley Ruden. “He always likes talking to me about sports and he calls me ‘CY’ because we’re both Iowa State Cyclone fans. It is nice how he always enjoys talking to students one on one.”

Mr. T finds joy in getting involved with his students. He is a well respected substitute because he doesn’t mind being involved in what the students are interested in.

#3 Mr. Williams

Another legend at Mount Vernon is Steve Williams. This is a tall man with glasses, always wearing his signature pheasant shirt. To most of the students at Mount Vernon, Mr. Williams is a laid back, very kind guy with a huge heart for the kids. Mr. Williams is known to have a good sense of humor, and is decent on keeping the students to their assigned work.

Mr. Williams

Mr. Williams

“He is really nice. He always remembers people’s names and is always wanting to get to know you,” said junior Trevor Baty. “He always takes the time to ask how you are.”

That is another thing that this substitute is prized for. Mr. Williams never passes up the opportunity to ask a student how he or she is. To most students it is a great way to brighten up their day at school. Mr. Williams can be a big stress reliever to a lot of kids.

Mr. Williams also doesn’t mind a small joke now and then. He knows when it gets out of hand, but when it makes the students smile he lets the clowning pass.

“One day in Spanish class we pulled out a prank on Mitchell,” said sophomore David Taylor. “All the students were laughing including Mitchell. Mr. Williams let it go on for a bit and it was fun. It was a good part of my day and I thank Mr. Williams for that. He ended up slowing down the horseplay after a while, but for that moment we were all glad to get to slack off a little in class.”

A hero to the students of Mount Vernon, Mr. Williams always keeps them smiling, and he takes time out of his work to make the students feel positive about themselves.

#2 Mr. Larson

Darrel Larson tosses out strawberry candies to all who can master his trivia. Some students understand him well and are prepared for when he comes to Mount Vernon. For every class, Mr. Larson hands out candies to each student who is wearing Chicago Cubs, Coe College, or Iowa State University apparel.

Mr. Larson

Mr. Larson

Some kids have mastered his ways and are even known to store a Cubs shirt in their locker. Almost every kid is always ready to go and is willing to do whatever he or she can for that strawberry candy.

This year, all of the Spanish 4 classes had to do a project on an important person. Each of the three classes had to represent them in honor of their life. One class decided to honor their favorite substitute, Mr. Larson. These big projects were called ofrendas and they were all voted on by Mount Vernon students for which one was their favorite. In competition to “The Avengers” and “Frida Brow”, Mr. Larson got the most votes.

“Our class decided to represent Mr. Larson,” said senior Gabby Kolker. “We all enjoy him as a substitute and we felt like we had to show him our project. Once he saw the project of himself he was overjoyed and very happy. He even brought his wife in to see it. It was really cute and fun. He is such a humble and loving person.”

Mr. Larson is a heartwarming man to all of Mount Vernon’s students. When he gives out his strawberry candies it isn’t just for fun. He literally appreciates every person in that classroom.

Mr. Larson is known for his strawberry candies, but even more, is looked upon as the kindest substitute of them all. His happiness while teaching and his love for the students is what makes him so deserving.


#1 Mr. Collins

Mark Collins is the supreme jokester and astronomer of all substitutes. This man made his way to the top of the subs, and doesn’t plan on backing down. Almost half of the student body agreed that this is the person who will make someone’s school day at Mount Vernon High School. Mr. Collins has currently been only subbing for teachers in Mount Vernon.

Mr. Collins

Mr. Collins

“We have had Mr. Collins for years now,” said sophomore Matt HermsenWhite. “He has been telling his cheesy jokes forever and yet they still never get old.”

Most of the students have had Mr. Collins since the seventh grade. They all have a connection and friendship with him over the years.

“I’m not going to be able to say a special memory,” said Mr. Collins. “There are what I call ‘excellent memories’ in all of the classes. Some of these kids I teach now I have started teaching since they were little. Some have graduated, and I know all of them. I believe this gives me a better advantage than most substitutes teaching. I have a good relationship with each one of these kids.”

The students enjoy Mr. Collins because he is a day without pressure. With class subjects that he is not particularly knowledgeable, his classes are even more gratifying for the students.

More importantly, most kids know this sub for his stories of astronomy, in addition to his 20 years of being a pilot. Although the other substitute finalists offer beneficial academic and social input to a normally stressful school day, Mr. Collins is the most preferable character to have in the classroom.


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