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Friday, December 03, 2004

I Should Have Seen This One Coming…..

I found out that the teacher for this 4th -5th combo class specifically requested me to sub her class. This is a little odd since I didn’t recognize her name and a check of my logs showed that this is would be the first time I’d be doing her class.

It turns out that I had subbed in the class next door to this one, as mentioned in my Nov-01-2004 blog entry. Quote: “….The last half hour of class was spent mostly trying to keep the noise to be less than the noise in the next classroom of 4-5 combo kids… “

This was the noisy combo class!

I now remember meeting this teacher on my way out after class a month ago. I now recall her saying something like: “I’ll have to have you try my class sometime….”

I forgot all about it!

Her sub plan did say they were a noisy group and that I’d have to stay on task and keep them busy. Wow…….Most of the lesson plans I’ve come across so far say stuff like “It’s a good class, very helpful, shouldn’t be any problems, etc…”

Some of these 5th grade kids that switch classes for Math were in my Nov 1st-2nd class. Evidentially, they were the ones that asked their teacher to have me as their sub! About ten of these kids remembered me from last month.

With the teachers advisory about how “social” (teacher speak for “noisy”) these kids are, I decided to explain the “blue magic marker and HOMEWORK” rule first thing. I told them that the record for the fewest letters accumulated by ANY class I subbed, so far, was only “HO...”

The morning lessons started pretty good. They were all watching whenever I walked toward the white board with the blue marker in hand.

Each time, I’d hear a chorus of SSSSHHHH….’s and the noise level dropped to zero. I’m thinking “this IS going to work!”

By recess, they had only “HOM…” on the board and I felt confidant this was going to be an “ok” day.

After recess, came the MATH assignment. This is when some of the students from the Nov/1 class and this one switch rooms.

This is the hardest part of doing a combo class.

I assigned a test for the 5th graders to start on, while going over the homework for the 4th graders. This, necessarily, required my split attention.

That’s when it happened.

There was a commotion at one of the 5th graders desks. Chairs were knocked over, a girl ran out of the room, and several others were grabbing at books and papers.

I missed whatever had happened.

I went after the girl who was crying in the hallway outside the room and quickly found out that the boy across from her had squirted her with a modified water bottle squirt gun and gotten her, the desk, chairs, floor and a couple of by-standers wet.

I confronted the “squirt-gun” kid. He had a ton of excuses why she started/deserved it. “… during recess,she…last year,she…yesterday.she....etc”

I sent him off to the principles office. He was crying that he didn’t want his parents to find out.

This was the first time I’ve had to send a kid to the office for discipline. I guess it was just a matter of time.

It took quite a while to regain control of the class. We were now up to “HOMEW..” by lunch time.

After lunch we had started on the next assignment when I noticed a kid at the water sink in the back of the room taking a long time for what I thought was a supposed to be a short drink.

I walked over to see that he was running water over both arms that were covered in some sort of red rash and broken skin!

He said it was a “spider bite” he got a few days ago. I’m thinking more like spider monkey bite from the movie “Outbreak” staring Dustin Hoffman!

I sent him off the health office right away with a note. He was back five minutes later, packing up his books saying his parents were on their way to pick him up.

If the next people through that door were wearing a white moon suits and oxygen tanks, I’m outta here for good!

Of course THIS interruption also took a while to regain control of the class.

We were up to “HOMEWOR...” with over 30 minutes to go.

I told the class “Not looking so good at this point in time…” and posted “Do 300 word essay on: Why Our Class Is Noisy” on the white board just below “HOMEWOR…”

I have come to realize that that final “K” is where I will lose all control. As soon as it is awarded, I have no bargaining power to work with. It’s a done deal and there is nothing for the kids to lose from that point on.

So I work that last half hour dramatically threatening the “FINAL LETTER” until the only noise I hear in class is “SSSSSSHHHHHHH” from all the kids every time a voice louder than a whisper is heard.

All except one who is on her knees, hands in mock prayer, silently mouthing the words “Please, please, please…..”

Finally the dismissal bell rings and all that pent up suppressed “socializing” is released in a loud roar.

I’m done for today….. No final “K”.

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