The Professor

When the substitute walked into the room, the students felt a variety of different emotions.

First of all, they knew the substitute. Today was going to be a relaxed day. She would still lecture and expect them to take notes, but there would be no impromptu quizzes, no homework. Discussion and lecturing. This was what the substitute would give them today.

Relief. The professor was a very strict man. He expected complete attention. He handed out homework on regular intervals and had a no nonsense attitude towards life, not simply the subject he taught. A break from him was always needed. There was no student who didn’t feel tired after his class, whether they liked him or not.

Discomfort. The professor would expect something of them that the substitute would not prepare them for. Even though she would go through all his notes and cover absolutely everything he had on the docket for the day, it wouldn’t be enough. She could say something clearly, more clearly than the professor, and cover more ground than him, yet for some reason she never could drill it the same depths in their brain as the professor. For some reason.

Worry. The professor had been sick on only a handful of occasions. It was only ever for something very bad. The man never suffered from minor illnesses. At least, none that would keep him from teaching his class.

The substitute taught and the student struggled between their varied emotions, preparing for the professor’s return.

If he returned.

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