simpsons mr. bergstrom, simpsons substitute scene

Still one of the most emotional Simpsons scenes.

"The Simpsons" has been around for nearly 40 years, and amid the juvenile humor (cue the “eat my shorts” line), this show expertly weaves in some truly valuable life lessons.

No better example than this clip from Season 2, Episode 19: Lisa’s Substitute.

You Are Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons) www.youtube.com

For those who aren’t familiar with the show or its characters … First off, how is that possible? Second, Lisa Simpson is a young girl often ostracized for her intelligence and passion, both at school and at home. That is, until she meets substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom.

Mr. Bergstrom offers innovative and fun learning methods, which challenge and inspire Lisa. And for the first time ever, this precocious child is appreciated for who she is, feeling a little less alone in her environment. It’s sort of easy to see how Lisa develops a bit of a crush.


This episode came out three decades ago, and yet still perfectly encapsulates the immense value that substitute teachers bring. Even though they grace the classroom for a brief time, they can make a huge difference in a student’s life. Whether they’re assigned to a school for a day or for a month, substitute teachers ensure quality education, having enough enthusiasm to ignite a love of learning in students they only just met. Or, in Lisa’s case, acknowledge and nurture gifts that are already there.

why substitutes are important

Season 2 Janey Powell GIF by The Simpsons.

Giphy

Like Mr. Bergstrom, who dons a cowboy costume to help with a history lesson, substitute teachers have to be creative in their lesson plans. Not to mention multitalented to handle a variety of subjects. As Mr. Bergstrom tells Lisa: “It’s the life of a substitute teacher. Today he might be wearing gym shorts. Tomorrow he’s speaking French. Or pretending to know how to run a band saw.”

And yet, all good things must come to an end. No matter the impact, all substitutes must eventually leave. As does Mr. Bergstrom, who is off to help kids in the projects of Capital City … those who “need it more.”

Devastated to lose her newfound mentor, Lisa chases Mr. Bergstrom to his departing train.

“Were you just gonna leave? Just like that? You’re the best teacher I’ll ever have,” she says through tears. You can hear the pain in her voice. She’s back to being all alone.

That’s when Mr. Bergstrom hands Lisa a piece of paper before bidding her farewell, telling her “whenever you feel like there’s nobody you can rely on, this is all you need to know.” And it’s the best parting gift he could have given.

value of substitute teachers

Season 2 Mr Bergstrom GIF by The Simpsons.

Giphy

The note has a simple, yet profound message.

“You are Lisa Simpson.”

Anyone who’s ever felt misunderstood or undervalued might spend their whole life trying to learn this—they are enough. The fact that it was taught by practically a stranger makes it all the more powerful.

There are so many Mr. Bergstroms out there, who support students and help them grow into their full potential, in ways both big and small. With a note, with a kind word, a meaningful teaching style or with simply being there. Though it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye, the connections substitute teachers create leave the world a better place. They are a gift.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

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