Retired teacher continues passion through substituting

Nora Crist knew she could not walk away from education after teaching 25 years in Waxahachie ISD.

Crist taught sixth-grade social studies at Turner, Clift, and Finley Junior High while serving as the ATPE president for approximately a decade. Once she retired four years ago, it was important to her to maintain a presence around students and other teachers. That was when she knew substitute teaching was her first task for post-retirement.

“You know, 25 years with the district, I didn’t realize how much I would miss it,” Crist said while she sat in the Finley entryway. “This is my way to stay connected. I feel like I’m still part of it.”

 But this is not the first time for Crist to substitute teach. Initially, Crist subbed for seven years in Albuquerque when she cared for her young family.

“Substituting is what saved me from not having to be away from my kids all the time,” Crist said. “I could sub occasionally, and they could go to daycare.”

As Crist verbalized her passion for education, she greeted familiar teachers in the hall and waved to students passing by. She noted the best feeling when substituting is when the students remember her from previous assignments, “and they treat me like their teacher. It sometimes makes my day really special.”

She mentioned a Finley student who always sought her out when substituting, which made her day. She also loves making the students feel welcomed on campus and being a friend to them.

“You want to be the teacher when they aren’t there,” Crist explained. “You don’t want to be a scary person. I like to tell jokes and tell stories.”

Right out of the gate, Crist took on a long-term substitute assignment for a teacher who had twins and subbed half the year at Finley. She substitutes regularly about two days a week at the secondary level. She noted one of her more unique assignments was with students in the behavioral unit who she quickly became attached to because of their special personalities.

Substitute teachers make a difference in the lives of students and provide another layer of support to district staff. Waxahachie ISD is grateful for all of our hardworking substitutes, and we are proud to recognize you during Substitute Teacher Week.

Other substitutes who were recognized during Substitute Teacher Week are listed below.

  • Waxahachie Global High sophomore Jose Rivera recognized Ms. Kathryn Alexander with a certificate of appreciation for the 15 years she’s served as a substitute. Rivera said it was Ms. Alexander’s “kindness” that made her stand out from other substitutes. He added, “She’s always there for students if they are having problems, which shows she is compassionate and helpful.”

woman with teen male students

  • Rose has been a substitute teacher in Waxahachie ISD since 2020. She moved to Ellis County in 2016 and worked in the prison system for 21 years. Ms. Rose, who spends most of her time at Northside Elementary, said, “I like kids. They are so sweet and say so many different things.” She works closely with Mikey, who she says is “so smart. I’ll tell you; I miss him when I’m not here.”
woman with male student
  • Adrian Cooper serves as a long-term substitute teacher at Finley Junior High teaching social studies. One of these seventh-grade students, Emilie Heiskell, said her classmates were able to develop relationships early in the year through a questionnaire developed by Mr. Cooper. “He really connects with us and allows us to connect to each other too while getting our work done. I think that’s an important quality,” Heiskell said. “He’s a really great teacher. I’m glad he’s my sub.”
man with pre teen female students