Substituting at the local high school for a freshman English class returns memories not only of high school as a previous substitute, but also of being in high school. Was I ever that young? Could I ever have been so disinterested in a subject as most of the kids seemed today? Never mind that we reviewed independent and subordinate (dependent) clauses, with no Santa's to be found anywhere, it was abundantly clear that they largely held no curiosity for the concept, and in completing the day, I wondered if indeed, even as a writer, I really need to know the difference. I like to think I know how to use one, but labeling? Oy. On the other hand, if these kids are to continue on into college and graduate school, they should (I love the word) at least be aware of parts of speech in their own language. If they learn foreign languages, they'll learn a lot more grammar than in English. I sure did. Maybe they wondered what in the heck a substitute teacher knows anyway. The answer is: a lot. I had The Answer Book, so I dubbed myself The Expert. Which, by the way, is one of the secrets to succesful substituting. The other is The Seating Chart. It was, all in all, a good day.