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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scam Almost Worked...

(Not related to school)
I got a call this afternoon from my nephew saying he was in Mexico on vacation and ran into a little problem.

I know, I know...this already sounds like a scam but the caller DID sound like my nephew and he has vacationed in Mexico several times before.

He said he was driving when the police pulled him over, tested him for alcohol and found an open bottle in the car. With my nephews past history, it was highly conceivable.

He said his lawyer, Kevin Williams from the U.S. consultant, had plea-bargained the offence down to a fine of $1980. Of course he didn't have that much and was calling to see if I would send the money Western Union or he would be jailed. He promised to pay me back when he got back to the U.S.

If he couldn't pay the fine by 04:00pm today, he'd have to spend the night in a Mexican jail cell.

Of course, my B.S. meter was pegging the max but this person's client DID sound like my nephew. I got as far as going to the bank, getting the money but on the way back home, I thought that maybe a night in a Mexican jail cell might do him some good.

It was then I started an internet search for the lawyer's name at the American consulate...and found nothing. I did fine a few interlinks for "Mexicanjail scam" and things started to click.

I didn't send the money.

I called my brother to see if he knew where our nephew currently was. He didn't and was sure this sounded like a typical scam. My brother called later with a report that our nephew was currently at home, in California, watching TV with his wife.

"Mr. Williams" called later to see when I was going to send the money....

Monday, January 12, 2015

I'm Not a Linguist...

I try, but sometimes I am not very good at pronouncing some names.

When taking roll I'll most likely mispronounce unusual names that have no vowels or even some that have too many.

When I try to repeat the name as close as possible to what I "hear", I'm often wrong and it becomes like that commercial for insurance about "Frog protection". The kids will eventually help me out by giving me an alternative name to use.

This also is a problem when reading history, social science or the current novel

Now, whenever I encounter one of these situations, I just write the name on the board and tell the students that whenever I say "Dude", I mean the guy whose name is on the board.

If the character is female, I use "Dudette"

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Working Hard or Hardly Working...

I received my school district paycheck in the mail yesterday and realized that things have changed. I only worked 4 days last month and only 4 days so far this month.
The shortened Thanksgiving break accounted for some the lull in activity but the rest was entirely me. 

There were many more opportunities to pick up assignments last month but the urgency to take them has not been the same since reaching a life milestone that I thought would be nonexistent at this time. 

Social Security & Medicare! 

Just over 10yrs ago, I began documenting with this blog my experiences of an entirely different environment from the profession I worked previously. Subbing was a way to cover our health insurance costs and other expenses that come with living in Silicon Valley. Now that those expenses taken care of, I can actually consider real retirement.

If I do not have an assignment booked by bedtime, I set my online status as "not available" to eliminate the automated early morning 05:30AM call. 

I am now more selective on assignments. I find myself preferring 3rd grade up to middle school as choice. There are a couple schools where I will no longer consider working at any grade level. Life is too short for the stress involved.

If the office calls later in the morning, I'll consider it if it doesn't conflict with other daily plans. Time with the grandkids is much more fun & productive at this early age...before they turn into teenagers. 

I don't know if the school district can live with my limitations or not. I assume they will let me know if they can't.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Magic Trash

It's about 15min before dismissal. Everything on the lesson plan is complete. The kids are packed up and begging to leave early.

It's the perfect time to play "Magic Trash".

"There is a single piece of trash on the floor that I have identified. It can be big, medium, small or even as tiny as a single staple. If you are the one to pick it up and place it in the trash can, the game is over and you win the prize."

"Ready, set GO!"

I have to be careful to move around the room and not to stare in a particular direction because the crafty kids will stand next to me to see where I'm looking. If somebody does find it early before the dismissal bell, I still win with a mostly cleaned up classroom.

If it's still on the floor when the bell rings, I then walk over, pick up the bit of "winning trash" to demonstrate that there really was something to find and let them loose.

Monday, November 10, 2014

To Catch a Thief...

It was the last hour of the day when she entered the room and motioned that she needed to talk. "She" was the principle of the school and in a whispered voice indicated that she was sorry for the interruption but needed to speak to the class about a serious matter.  It seems that something was stolen from the school office this morning, and she pretty much knew who the thief was but wanted verification of what she knew.

She knows that, at this age level (4th grade), kids can't keep a secret but also knew that no one wants to be known as "a snitch" that turned them in.

Instead, she had them ALL take out a piece of paper and write their name and what they "actually knew" about the incident. She emphasized the differences between "direct knowledge of an event" .vs. "heard about".

"If you don't know anything at all about the incident, then that's what you write:  I don't know anything"

She then went outside and waited for me to send them out one and two at a time.

I asked her after class if the exercise yielded results. She told me the exercise verified what she already knew. The thief was would be dealt with tomorrow.

...and no, I don't know and don't need to who or anything more about the incident.