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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Is It A Bad Sign…

Is it a bad sign when …The Office secretary hints that this 4th grade classes can be a “handful”?

Is it a bad sign when …The a 4th grade teacher I met in the office indicated that all the 4th grade classes at this school are the same “handful”?

Is it a bad sign when …Lesson plan for my class has separate sheet devoted to discipline and has asterisks denoted as disruptive next to six of the 35 student names?

Is it a bad sign when …Principal says don’t smile, be tough?

Is it a bad sign when …Principal personally gives you his direct extension number to call if there are any problems?

Is it a bad sign when …Principal drops in half way through the day?

Is it a bad sign when …yet a different 4th grade teacher tells you horror stories about sub experiences with her 4th graders?

I decided to do both “HOMEWORK” and the “JOB GAME” with these guys. They started off pretty good. They responded every time I tapped the white board marker in the area I had reserved for the word “HOMEWORK”. We made it to the first recess with only an “H_”.

These kids switch rooms for math. I ended up with a mix of mine and some from the two other 4th grade classes. This required me to set up a separate “HOMEWORK” threat for just the math class. I had “my kids” fill in the newcomers on how it worked. This didn’t work as well on a combined one lesson class.

An hour later the “math class” had accumulated “HOMEWOR_” before the class ended. Of course this is when the principal decided to pay us a visit “just to see how things were going...” Luckily, only one kid wasn’t where he was supposed to be and the class was generally doing what they were supposed to be doing. After math, the classes switched back to the normal mix. The returning students noted the progress the math class had made to “HOMEWORK” and wanted to know details. I didn’t give them any.

As in the previous classes I subbed, these guys were enthusiastic about the “JOB GAME” in which they had posted guesses. One guess was: “always was a substitute teacher”.

I reminded them that the price for revealing the final answer was continued good behavior. They had about 28 guesses posted and most of the students seemed to be leaning toward “retired principal”.

By the end of the last working period, the class had inched up to tie the math class at “HOMEWOR_”. We had something like 5 mins until P.E. followed by class dismissal. The class was really starting to get wound up and getting loud as I had erased all but the final two job guesses in preparation for the finale.

After about four attempts to get them settled and ready to go out for P.E., I gave up and sent them out without revealing the answer. They were all disappointed but also relieved that I didn’t give them the final “K”.

I heard later from the 4th grade teacher next door that the sub she had last week didn’t do as well as she heard about students standing on desks throwing stuff back and forth across the room. She indicated that this group of 4th graders has been like this since Kindergarten as they moved up through the grades.

She suggested that if I’m subbing next year, I might want to avoid any 5th grade assignments at this school.

I’ll probably forget by then………..

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