Learning fuels BPS substitute


Nathan Hawkins

Substitute Fred Link sits down with a book in a teacher’s desk.

Nathan Hawkins, Reporter

Substitute teachers don’t have it easy. Going into a new classroom with new faces everyday is hard on its own, but adapting to the style of the classroom within the eight-hour school day is an entirely different challenge in itself.

Some experienced subs handle the daily situation like a pro, and they have a way of taking over a classroom that isn’t theirs.

Fred Link, a teacher who has substituted for 14 years, has become a celebrity in terms of substitute teachers at Bellevue Public Schools. At 81 years young, Link excels at captivating a classroom with his demeanor. He is driven by his will to motivate students to learn.

“I especially like to challenge students today to pursue education. Whether it’s professionally or blue collar, that’s immaterial to me,” Link said.  “But I love to challenge kids to think positively of their own abilities.”

Link, who can always be found with a book in his hand, doesn’t only love to motivate students to learn, but he loves to learn himself.

“I love learning,” Link said. “I even was taking some classes, such as auditing a few years ago. I read a lot as well, which helps the mind.”

Link’s desire to teach education goes back to when he was young. Once he got his teaching degree from a school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he taught for three years at a Christian school in South Dakota. Then he went back to Grand Rapids, where he would teach for 13 years. He then decided that he had other aspirations, such as selling World Book Encyclopedias, but in the end, he came back to teaching.

“Once I retired from what I had been doing, I thought I enjoyed teaching far too much not to get back into it,” Link said. “So then I started substituting at Bellevue Public Schools.”

Since then he hasn’t looked back. For years to come, Link will continue to bring his distinguished personality from class to class, substituting all around Bellevue Public Schools. Eventually, he will have to retire for good. But he said retirement won’t be his decision.

“That will depend on the students,” Link said. “When I feel that I am not doing them the blessing they deserve then I will chalk it up. As long as God blesses me with the health and attitude needed to teach, I will continue to enjoy doing just that.”