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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.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

ObamaCare for Subs?...

My school district sent a letter to explain the "voluntary health plan" available to substitute teachers starting July/1 this year. I guess this is the mandated government ObamaCare that states any employee working at least 30h per week be offered coverage. (...I have heard that some other school districts are limiting subs to a max of 4 days per week (6hr x 4days = 24hrs) to get around the mandate)

The plan offered is a high deductable ($5k for single/$10k family, max out of pocket $6250 single / $12500 family out of pocket) plan.

The monthly premium is $376 single / $752 for 2/ $1065 family of 3 or more.

In my case, the total yearly cost of the insurance premium for the two of us is just slightly more than I earned subbing the 2013/2014 school year.

This might be good for a family with lots of kids, but even with a potential increase in the daily sub rate next year, the math doesn't add up in my situation.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rumor Has it...

...that subs in our district might be getting a pay increase next year!

This entire year, the sub line has been busy. I have had to make sure to take myself off the list the night before if I wanted a day off. I have come to hate that phone call at 05:30am. If I don't have an assignment by the time I go to bed, I'm off the list.
Add that to the two weeks off mid April for a beach vacation and you can understand my availability status has substantially declined this year.

The day after we got back, I took a 6th grade job that included recess yard duty. It was during recess, while talking with a teacher I've worked for several times, that she informed me of the news.

"I hear that you're getting a $15/day raise next near."

It seems that the "sub shortage" this year has prompted the teachers' union to petition for the increase to attract more subs from the neighboring districts.

"It's been crazy this year. Every sub seems to be busy or dropped out of the sub pool this year. We had to cancel some planning meetings and cover for each other it was so bad."

I hope it works but I also assume that this will be the first thing that the district negotiators will want to redline in the new teachers' contract.

Friday, April 03, 2015

April Fools...

It didn't occur to me the significance of the date until I entered the school office to see an aide worker's desk covered in tin foil.

The office informed me that the entire 6th grade had subs today while the teachers were out for some kind of training. That explained the 4-5 faces in the teachers' lounge that I didn't recognized. With door key and attendance sheet in hand, I went to the pool of 6th graders hanging out by their classroom doors.

As I approached the pod several 6th grade students recognized me and started interrogating me for which teacher I was subbing for. So, of course, I couldn't resist a bit of fun for the holiday.

"Actually, I'm subbing ALL the 6th grade classes today. The school couldn't find enough subs so they asked me if I would sub all four classes. We'll open all the pod doors and have one giant 6th grade today!"

I was sure they wouldn't bite but to my surprise, the news spread like wildfire. Now I had a crowd of excited 6th graders pelting me with:

"For real?"
"That's awesome!"
"What are we gonna do first?"

Don't they realize what day it is? I guess not. One girl was so excited that she wanted to go in early to help out. That's when I decided, I better let them in on the joke.

I told her she had to wait until I filled out the top part of my status report before I unlocked the door.

Name: Mr. Homework
Grade : 6
Date: .....

me: "Darn! I get confused sometimes. I forgot the date today?"
girl: "It's Wednesday, April 1st"

I let it hang in the air a bit and when it didn't seem I was going to write that down, her eyes went large and she started laughing.

When her friends wanted to know what was so funny, all she said was "April Fools!"

Yep. Got'em all!