Gretna’s ‘oldest’ substitute teacher celebrates 100 days

Palisades Elementary first grade teacher Katrina Pfanstiel greets her students as Granny Pfanstiel on Thursday, acting as the 100-year-old substitute teacher on the school’s 100th day.


Thursday marked the 100th day of school for Gretna Public Schools, a big day for the students and a day that staff should be sure not to miss.

Katrina Pfanstiel’s first graders were surprised, however, when Palisades Elementary School instead had Granny Pfanstiel, Gretna Public School’s “100-year-old” substitute teacher.

“At first, it was a ‘Oh no, this is our substitute?’ Look,” Pfanstiel said.

However, she said that it didn’t take long for her students to catch on to their teacher’s performance and enjoyed the show.

She said it started on Wednesday when she told her students she had a meeting all day on Thursday and would not be able to celebrate the 100th day.

“They were pretty upset with me; they were mad I wouldn’t be there,” she said.

Pfanstiel, pretending to be a century old teacher, greeted the students in her alter ego Thursday morning with baby powdered skin, a white wig, a cane and even eye liner to create wrinkles.

She said that Granny Pfanstiel had a lot of difficulty with modern technology, such as using the radio — she had to hit it to make it work — or finding a substance to make paper stick together.

Her students quickly recommended glue, but Granny Pfanstiel had to learn it’s not OK to eat the paste.

“Even though it tastes like marshmallows, don’t eat the glue,” Pfanstiel joked.

She said that particular line became the running joke of the day.

Pfanstiel also walked around hunched over on her cane all day, which she said can be pretty tiring. She left her keen sense of hearing at home that day, often having students repeat themselves.

“It was an exhausting day, but a great day,” she said.

This is the second year that Pfanstiel has done this for her students. However, she said that older students were already asking if they’d see Granny again.

“So that was pretty cool it made such an impact on them,” she said.

Pfanstiel said that transforming herself into Granny each year is likely to become a new tradition for years to come as so many children seem to enjoy it.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.