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Book project seeks stories about subbing

June 12, 2018 Jen Janzen, ATA News Staff

It was the ATA’s 100th anniversary that got Marcheta Titterington thinking about the contributions that substitute teachers have made in the last 100 years.

A substitute teacher for her entire teaching career, Titterington, in conjunction with Calgary Public Local No. 38, is compiling stories from around the province that speak of the unique role substitute teachers play in the public education system. She, along with colleague Penny Smith, is seeking stories of substitute teaching from around the province for their compilation book, 100 Years of Subbing in Alberta, which will be published in late 2018 or early 2019.

“Over the course of the past year, archival stories were appearing in the ATA News, and it got me thinking,” she explained. “There are so many stories around subbing in Alberta that could be told.”

From a teacher who had to perform double duty as a midwife to a teacher standing in the pulpit to replace a parish priest, many interesting stories have already crossed Titterington’s desk, and she’s been happy to receive them.

According to the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board, there are 232 retired teachers in Alberta who are 95 and over. Of those, 28 retired members are older than 100. They have a unique perspective on teaching in Alberta and, Titterington says, there’s a limited amount of time left to capture their memories.

“Once these older people have passed on, they’ll take their stories with them,” she said.

She points out that the group isn’t seeking stories only from retired members. Teachers at any stage of their career can participate as long as their stories reflect the experience of substitute teachers.

“We want stories right up to the present,” Titterington says.

“Maybe somebody else will write about the next 100 years.”
Titterington herself graduated from university when she was 49 years old. Getting her teaching credentials was a lifelong dream.

“I’m really glad I took that leap, even at a later age,” she said.

“It’s been really rewarding over the years.”
Now 74, Titterington is still teaching in Calgary classrooms from kindergarten to Grade 12.

“I still have energy and I love what I do, and I absolutely love what I do and the kids I teach. Why would I stop?” ❚

How to submit
If you have a story about substitute teaching in Alberta and would like to participate in this project, contact You can also mail your stories to Attn: Tammy Auld, ATA Office Local 38, 212 – 3016 5th Ave NE Calgary, AB T2A 6KA. The team will be accepting submissions over the summer.

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