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There's no substitute for a substitute

Ellie Melvin, Staff Writer

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Students see substitute teachers only so many times a month, and for hardly more than 45 minutes at a time. There is only so much you can learn about a person in that time, which is why substitute teachers took time to share who they are beyond the classroom.

Photo by Ellie Melvin











Greg Poterek

Subbing for 11 years

Former: business teacher, businessman, usher

Q: Have you had any other careers?

A: I was an usher at the Allstate Arena for sporting events. Also any concerts that they would have, like Tina Turner, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago. Those were the ones that stick in my memory. And here’s another famous one; the Jonas Brothers. They were the warm up act for Hannah Montana, who is now Miley Cyrus.

Q: What is your main pastime?

A: During the summer I am a volunteer at golf tournaments, which are professional, amateur, and college golf tournaments. I started in 2004, and at the end of this golf season, I will have volunteered in 66 golf tournaments. I also work on a golf course on Saturdays and Sundays.

Q: How did you get involved in the substitute teacher job?

A: When I graduated college, I was a business teacher. I taught eight years in city high schools, and then I went out into the business world for 30 years. Then, when I retired, I still had my teaching license, so I started subbing here and there, and I just fell in love with subbing again.

Q: Is there something about yourself that people may not know?

A: I was a track and cross country high school coach, and a basketball referee at one time. I [also] helped with the [LZ] girls golf team.

Q: Do you travel?

A: No, I don’t, When I was younger, my parents were in World War II, and they traveled and took me and my sister to visit all their friends from the military, so I’m just worn out on traveling. I’ll [only] go if I have to.

Q: What is a fun activity you do?

A: I’ve been to many Indianapolis 500 races. My son and his family would come up from Ohio, I’d drive down to Indianapolis, [and] we’d sit together and watch the race. The races are always exciting, and I get to see [my son’s] family.

Photo used with permission of Candice Glicken















Candice Glicken

Subbing for 4 years

Former: teacher, booking agent, advertiser

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A: One of the most interesting, I think, is that I grew up in the music business, so to speak. My father was a record promotion man in the 60s and I got to meet a lot of the singing groups from the 60s. We would have bands in our backyard and people would come and listen. That’s one thing, the other is I always wanted to be a rock n’ roll singer.

Q: Before becoming a teacher, what jobs did you work?

A: I have a very checkered past. I worked at a booking agency for jazz bands and I worked for a Hollywood celebrity, Lainie Kazan. She was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Then, I came back and did advertising, and then I became a teacher.

Q: What would you consider a hobby or passion of yours?

A: I do a lot of photography. My love is taking unusual photographs [of] nature. I started years ago, [so] I have had a couple of shows and have been published, but a lot of it is for me.

Q: How is your free time spent?

A: I like to play canasta, it’s a card game, and I play that a couple times a week, usually. I also knit. [I like to] make things for my great nieces and various relatives and myself. I like to go to water aerobics and I go to Ravinia a lot in the summer.

Q: Do you enjoy traveling?

A: I was in Europe for a couple of weeks this summer, so I missed some of the Ravinia shows I probably would have gone to. We were on a riverboat cruise on the Danube river, so I [got] to go to Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and then Hungary. I’ve [visited] European countries in the past.

Q: What do you do to relax?

A: I’m in a book club, so I read books for [that], but I am also an avid mystery book reader. I read a lot of heavy stuff, especially since I taught English at the high school, we read a lot of the classics. And I enjoyed them, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books. But I [also] like to read some no-brainers that are good for relaxing and [having a] laugh.

Photo used with permission of Sandy Serafin















Sandy Serafin

Subbing for 12 years

Former: Home Ec. teacher

Q: How do you spend your summer?

A: [My husband] always wanted to come out West, he didn’t want to live and die in Illinois. So we built this house in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and we go [to Idaho] for the summer.

Q: What are some activities you get to do when off the job?

A: I play pickleball, I play tennis. I knit, I bake, I cook. I would say baking and cooking are a big hobby of mine, I’m always in the kitchen. I [also] read a lot, I’m in a book club.

Q: What books do you read?

A: I love mysteries, psycho thrillers, you know, that type of thing. I don’t really like historical fiction, I’m not one of those gals, but I like more current books. We have a book club of teachers and secretaries from Lake Zurich that meets, and I think we might have maybe 20 members.

Q: Have you been able to do anything new in your retirement?

A: [My husband and I have] been able to travel since I’ve retired, and I still fit that in with my subbing. We’ve been to Italy, we’ve been to Germany, [and] we’ve been to Greece.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in a small town, it was right outside of Alan Town, [Pennsylvania]. My mother was a teacher, my father traveled. You know, I was always used to the small town life. I am definitely not a city person.

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About the Writer
Ellie Melvin, Staff Writer

Ellie is a freshman jumping into high school as a new member of the Bear Facts staff. She has a fresh passion for journalism and is always looking for...

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