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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There Ought to Be a Law...Kendamas

I saw this posted in the middle school classroom I taught today. YES!!!

You can't have toy guns on campus.
You can't draw a picture of a gun in class.
You can't do "finger" guns in class or on the school grounds....but

YOU CAN fling a wooden, tennis sized ball on a string and bean someone in the head with one of these things!

More than once I've experienced a near miss when a kid lost control of his Kendama in the classroom or on the playground. 

A while back I was covering a middle-school multimedia class that had video equipment and a green room for the students to make their own commercials and display them on wall sized HD flat screens. 

The class was pretty much done near the end of the period. The lesson plan indicated that any spare time was to be used to finish any incomplete work, have quiet discussions, read or...let them play with their Kendama's.

The last option ended when one kid lost control of his and missed what must be a very expensive wall sized flat screen by no more than an inch.

Monday, September 07, 2015

When It Rains, It Pours...

While we Californians wait for the real stuff, (we're still collecting shower water in buckets to flush the toilets and water the plants). Subbing jobs, on the other hand, are coming in like rain barrels of assignments.

The year I decided I wanted to cut back to only 2-3 days a week, the district raised our daily per diem by $15 to $135/day.  

Assignment requests started BEFORE the first day of school and I'm still getting requests for assignments out into the first three months of 2016.

Last week, we were out for the evening and returned home to find ten missed calls from the automated sub system.

I was talking to one of the teachers this last week to discover what's going on. She told me that new (Common Core?) training that entire grade levels are required to take this year are happening during class time.

The school administration essentially told the teachers that they are experiencing a shortage of returning subs this year and that they (the teachers) would be responsible to arrange for their own substitute during these training periods, as the district will be too busy to handle the load.

Makes me wonder how far doubling the substitute teacher per diem might go into solving the backlog of assignments. I might even consider going in 3-4 days a week.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Year 2015-2016

The new school year started yesterday. I don't usually expect any calls for an assignment until the 2nd or 3rd week into a new school year. 

So, I was surprised that my first call for the new school year came two weeks before the 1st day of school for a 5th grade class in Sept. There were also two additional calls before the first day of school.

I'm not sure if this is an end result from last year where they had a shortage of subs and an increase of teacher mandated "common core" training days that had to be cancelled/rescheduled due to substitute teacher shortages. In any case, all the signs portend to be busy new year.

In other news, the rumor of a substitute teacher pay increase for this year came through! We get an additional $15 to make our new daily rate: $135/day

Monday, June 15, 2015

Final Tally: 2014-2015

Even though I did work the whole last week at two different schools for three different teachers, I was surprised to find the final tally of days worked during the 2014-15 school year was only 44 days.

That's about 1/2 the my usual average.

I know it wasn't for lack of opportunity, because it seemed that the phone was ringing almost every day. That two-week Hawaiian vacation in spring plus many, too many days of "I just don't feel up to it..." add up pretty fast.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

They Tell Me I Must Be Crazy...

There are only seven days left of school before summer break.

I'm signed up to work the last six, in three classrooms, at two different schools, for three different teachers.

Everyone is telling me, I must be crazy.

I'm starting to believe them.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

She Got My Number...

It's the end of the day in this 4th grade class. Half the class left when the bell rang and the most of other half drifted out while I was finishing my notes and status report.  I'm almost ready to lock the doors and shoo the lingerers out but one girl is tearing her desk and backpack apart looking for something. Her friend is trying to help without success.

She can't find her cell phone.

 Now, why a 4th grader NEEDS a cell phone isn't the issue. That's a topic for maybe future discussions, but this girl evidently has one and is freaking out that "someone has stolen her phone" because it's not in her backpack. Mom is "going to kill her".  I got the impression that this might not be the first time she has had her phone go missing.

I suggested that we should go the office and report it missing if she can't find it but she's so worried what Mom is gonna do when she finds out, she starts crying and refuses to leave without it.

Her friend suggests that I could call the number and maybe they could hear it ring.

Not a bad idea. Without thinking, I get my phone and call the number she gives me. A muffled hum indicates the phone is located in an unsearched pocket of her backpack.
 Problem solved. 

It is at home and after I relate how my day went that Claudette informs me:
You DO know that she now has YOUR phone number on HER phone, right? 

I must be an idiot to not realize what the implications are. How is it going to look if a parent finds an unknown number belonging to a substitute teacher on their 4th graders phone?

I immediately emailed the teacher and let her know what and how it happened. She reassured me that she would talk with the student tomorrow and correct my stupid lack of judgment.

5/7 Update: 
I was back at the same school today and decided on a followup visit with the teacher. She did follow through and the student allowed her to look through the call history on her phone. The teacher located my number deleted it. She also looked through her contacts list and FOUND it again labled "Mr. Homework"! (also deleted.)

Now I'm just hoping this kid isn't into sharing numbers with other classmates. If so, this could easily comeback to bite me in the a-- big time.