When a regular teacher is absent from school, a substitute teacher is usually called in as a replacement. However, the responsibility of stepping into the classroom and replacing the regular teacher is a very difficult task. This paper examines the numerous problems encountered by substitute teachers as they attempt to proceed with the work of regular teachers. The research is based upon interviews with thirty substitute teachers, four super- intendents, five assistant superintendents, ten principals four vice-principals, twenty regular teachers, and twenty-three students. The findings indicate that substitute teachers often lack authority because they do not hold official positions in the school. Moreover, substitute teachers are often perceived as lacking expertise and experience by administrators, regular teachers, and students. Finally, substitute teachers often lack knowledge of the rituals used by regular teachers which apply to both teaching and the control of disorderly behaviour. This evidence suggests that substitute teachers are marginal to the organization and goals of the schools.