Longtime substitute to publish autobiography

Gene Tatum, better known as “the substitute teacher who curses a lot,” has just finished writing his autobiography. The countless stories he’s been reciting to students for decades have finally been put to paper, commemorating his ever so adventurous 90 years on Earth.

Tatum taught in the county for 21 years as a math and science teacher at schools such as West Springfield and Marshall High School. He retired in 1989 but would later come back to substitute at AHS.

“As I look back, my entire life has been in teaching. So it felt really natural to go from the Marine Corps to teaching,” Tatum said. “I taught 21 years in the county primarily math but also science. I was retired for about 10 years and then I got bored so I started subbing. This is my 13th year subbing this is the only school I work at.”

He doesn’t intend on selling his book (currently without a title), but he plans on giving his close family and co-workers copies of his writings.

“I’ve got five grandkids so you know give each one of them a copy. And some of the people here have indicated that they would like to read it, so what the hell, yeah.”

He attempts to enlighten the reader of his life journey. From his childhood pranks to his time fighting in WWII, Tatum has lived a very intriguing and eventful life that many are curious to hear about.

It’s truly remarkable how he’s not only remained so healthy, but that Tatum’s able to recall all of these memories with vivid detail. He credits this to his talks with others and him constantly reflecting on his life.

“When you get my age, for lack of anything else you do a lot of thinking about what happened in the past. And it’s like I get in a conversation with somebody and they’ll bring up some subject or topic, and I can usually relate to just about anything because somewhere along the line I have been on the end of that particular situation,” Tatum said. “And as a result, I have to tell myself ‘shut up, give somebody else a chance to talk’. And since I’ve been writing this story, it’s all pretty fresh in my mind right now except things keep popping up!”

Students are elated every time he fills in for a teacher because they know that at any given moment Tatum can turn an educational lesson into his own personal story time.

“Whenever we have Mr. Tatum, I know that the class is going to be enjoyable. I love how he isn’t afraid to say some colorful words,” senior Christopher Lee.

It is truly an honor to have this humorous and charismatic individual sanctify AHS with his presence. Hopefully his autobiography gives his close friends and family members a better insight of who he is and the way he has lived his life.