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Friday, December 30, 2005

The Quest For Extra Credit...

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer Thu Dec 29, 6:29 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border leaving him alone in the middle of the desert.

Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Or the moment a Kuwaiti cab driver almost punched him in the face when he balked at the $100 fare.

But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation. And he didn't even tell his parents.

Hassan's dangerous adventure winds down with the 101st Airborne delivering the Fort Lauderdale teen to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which had been on the lookout for him and promises to see him back to the United States this weekend.

It begins with a high school class on "immersion journalism"

Full story here -> http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051229/ap_on_re_mi_ea/journey_to_iraq

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Eureka, They Have Found It!…

Well MUCH to my surprise, our local Post Office Officials (affectionately known as Poo’s) DID find and deliver our “not lost but can’t find it” package. It arrived yesterday.

So I guess this means I should apologize.

But wait! What’s the story with the shipping stickers on the outside?

Hummm! “This tracking number has already been used” ???

Well it looks like the sorting station DID send to the package to the Poo’s last week but they in turn sent it back to the sorting station as an OUTGOING package. Where upon scanning examination it was rejected and sent back once again to the local Poo’s before making it here.

A week later than it should have been here!

AFTER Christmas!!

Nah! No apology!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

It's Not "Lost", We Just Can't Find It...

Friday December 23 was panic time at our house.

The gifts that Claudette ordered from Barnes&Noble should have been here last Tuesday but still weren’t delivered by Friday night. Online tracking showed the packaged did indeed make it to the local post office on Tuesday 12/20 but still hadn’t left the post office building as of the 23rd.

So faced with a near panicked furiously frustrated female, I volunteered to slog down to the PO at 08:00am Christmas Eve to retrieve our package in person.

PO guy:_ “Got a green non-delivery pickup tag?”
Me:_ “Nope. The problem I have is that hasn’t been delivered. It’s been stuck here four days.”

PO guy:_ “That’s odd. The computer tracking says it’s here. It should have gone out for delivery on Tues. Let me go check the bins”

After several tens of minutes pass, the PO guy returns.

PO guy:_ “It’s not here…” while shrugging.

(I kinda already knew this would be the result of the search but I figured I had to dance the dance before continuing the conversation.)

Me:_ “Ok. So you’re saying my package is lost. Can I get a receipt indicating it's lost, so I can go back to Barnes&Noble for a credit and re-order the stuff?”

PO guy:_ “Uh, well, it IS here. We just can’t find it. Let me get my supervisor to talk to you.”
Me:_ “Fine. I need to get this sorted out today.”

PO Super:_ “I understand that you want to pick up a package?”
Me:_ “Yep, but it seems to be lost somewhere in this building”

(This is where I get to basically repeat the conversation with the PO guy including my request for some “lost in the mail” form or receipt).

PO Super:_ “Well, your package is not lost, it’s just probably in transit between the main PO sorting facility and here”.
Me:_ “Ok, how long does it take to get sorted to arrive here?”

PO Super:_ “Usually only a day or two.”
Me:_ “It’s been four days. Can I go to the main sorting PO and pick it up there?

PO Super:_ “Uh, No. They’ll sort it and send it here for delivery.”
Me:_ “But the tracking status says it’s IN THIS building, right?”

PO Super:_ “Yeeeaaa, but…”
Me:_ “So, logically, it’s already BEEN sorted and sent here, right?”

PO Super:_ “Hmmmm..”
Me:_ “So it’s here and you can’t find it, right”

PO Super:_ “Well...”
Me:_ “By definition doesn’t that make it “lost”? Now, can I have a receipt or form to submit to the package sender?”

PO Super:_ “It’s not considered lost until after 30 days. This IS a busy time of the year for the PO.”
Me:_ “So, I have to come back on Jan 20th to get my receipt for the “lost” package?”

PO Super:_ “I’m sure it will be delivered before that. The tracking info says we have it. We’ll definitely get it to you.”
Me:_ “But too late for THIS Christmas, right?...”

So I left empty handed, but mentally composing the following note to our soon to be disappointed daughter-in-law and son-in-law:

Warning!

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has intercepted a possible WMD labeled “Your Christmas Gift” from a suspected terrorist group, sometimes calling themselves “GrandPa and/or Grammie Perry”. It is being held at the TOP SECURITY LOCATION known as the USPS.

Upon final determination, which can be 5 to 30 days from today, YOU WILL BE notified as to the disposition of the so called “gift”

Attached is an artist’s sketch of the suspect item.

If you have any further questions, don’t bother…..We ARE the Post Office.

Merry Generic Holiday!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

2-2-2!...

Well, I didn’t have to decide whether or not work yesterday. That’s because there were no assignments available. But I do have two assignments booked already for the first week in January.

So its two days, two weeks off with two assignments lined up for next year.

2-2-2!

That must mean something superstitious, doesn’t it? I hope it’s not something bad.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all you blog readers! See ya next year when kids get another chance to make my life interesting and worth writing about!

(Now I have to go write our family Christmas letter…)

…Mark

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas Assembly...

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No assignment today, but I had a 4th on Tues and 5th yesterday.

Both schools had a traditional “Christmas Assembly” for the kids where actual Christmas and Hanukah songs were presented. This is in the same district as the school that presented "A Holiday Carol" a couple of weeks ago so it appears that the “School PC Censors” are localized and haven’t gone regional yet.

With only one more subbing day (tomorrow) before the break, I’m tempted to call it quits for the rest of the year to avoid a possible repeat of last year’s fiasco.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I'm "SICK" Of This Class!...

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A really, Really, REALLY late morning call had me at this school at 11:30am. It seems that today, I’m going to be the sub for the sub for the teacher of this 4th grade class.

The lady sub claimed she didn’t feel well and the office called for a sub to complete her assignment. (She really DID sound bad…)

Hey! It never occurred to me that I could call for a replacement just like a regular teacher!!

Wow! Just suppose I happened to get another “class from hell”? I just might feel the onset of some rare symptoms of say……(well I don’t know)….how about “class from hell and I don’t want to be here anymore” syndrome?

“Hello? School office? I’m here (cough, cough) in room (cough!, HAAACK!) 19 and I think I’ve come down with some (WHOOP!, SNOOOORRT!) bug. I need a replacement ASAP!”

Something to think about and hold in reserve…

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I’M NOT A GIRL!...

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I had a great class today. I had thirty-two sixth graders. I also had three girls from fifth grade that didn’t make this week’s 5th graders trip to Walden West Science Camp.

Anyway, what’s better than a good lesson plan? TWO lesson plans!

The teacher not only left a complete, detailed and word processed lesson plan but left me TWO copies! I found one on the teacher’s desk at the back of the room and one on the overhead projector in the front of the classroom. I had NO excuses for not finding one this time.

The worksheets were all organized and in order. The teachers’ edition books were all open to the pages I’d need and in the order to be used. The kids were great and we didn’t have any problems.

I would occasionally walk over to the 5th graders table to inquire “And how’re my 5th grade girls doing over here? Keeping busy?”

They would shrug shoulders and give non-committal answers, but they seemed to be working quietly so I mostly let them be.

At the end of the day as the three 5th graders were leaving the classroom, I remarked. “I hope you girls didn’t have too boring of a day today."

It was then that the cute, dark eye lashed, Indian kid with long dark hair that was pulled up in a top knot and bunched under a white doily like covering informed me: “I’m not a girl…”

ALL DAY! NOT A WORD UNTIL NOW!

Now I feel like a total idiot. I apologized but after ALL day mistaking him for a girl, I’m sure it wasn’t enough. Sheesshh!

But to be fair, it’s just that I’m ignorant about some things…

(I tried to search the web for the proper term for the white doily hat, but can’t find the proper term for it. If I do, I’ll update this post with a photo example)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dear Santa...

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Dear Santa,

I’ve been mostly pretty good this year. I only screwed up once when I was sick and didn’t leave Mr. HOMEWORK a lesson plan for my class. If I promise never to do it again would you bring me the following stuff from my Christmas list? Please!

1. Four new “Dry Erase” whiteboard markers to replace the ones Mr. HOMEWORK threw away just because they didn’t work anymore.

2. One working three hole punch to replace the two busted ones that Mr. HOMEWORK almost threw in the trash.

3. One new reading center tape player or, even better, an upgrade to CD-player to replace the one that just plays “sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss….” No matter which tape you put in it.

4. One powered pencil sharpener that actually leaves a tip of exposed lead above the wood without resorting to using a whittling knife that Mr. HOMEWORK didn’t have and probably wouldn’t be allowed to bring to school anyway.

Oh, yea! I almost forgot. Would it be possible to get twenty new 1st graders? I would prefer the non-whiney, non-tattling, non-sticky models if at all possible.

Thanks a bunch big guy!

Yours truly,
Ms. H--- (Grade 1)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Half Day Roving Sub...

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I was called today to be a “Roving Sub” for the afternoon.

The first 40mins was…..MY lunch!

This was followed by a total of 1.5 hours of herding three classes totaling 96 sixth graders through various field games under the direction of a “parent activity leader” and two other “parent helpers”.

The only reason I had to be there is to satisfy a state requirement that at least one of the activity adults have a “certified credential”. Otherwise, the school could have done just fine without me and saved the half day $65 substitute teacher pay.

Not sure just where the three 6th grade teachers were this afternoon. Some kind of conference I guess.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Holiday Carol!…

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It was in the low 70F’s most of last week. Today it’s cold, windy and pouring rain. Winter has arrived in California.

I took yesterday off because….well…just BECAUSE! Besides, I wasn’t feeling all that great anyway.

Today’s call came at 08:35am to be there at 08:30am for my 2nd grade class.

I picked up the key from the office and proceeded to the classroom where…there were NO STUDENTS! There was also NO LESSON PLAN!

Now what?

I called the office to find out that two other 2nd grade classes had split my class and were waiting for me call to send them back.

After I re-assembled my squirmy group, I quizzed the kids on what they usually do in the morning.

“DOL!!!”

Ok, great! I located the Daily Oral Language worksheet for “Thursday week 14” and had them start while I tried to figure out what comes next.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to do anything because the office called and informed me that I needed to take my class over to an assembly in the cafeteria….now!

The assembly was a performance of that classic tale of “A Holiday Carol!”.

Never heard of it? Come on! You know! It’s the one with Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of “holiday” past, present and future?

(Dickens should be rolling in his is grave right about now…)

The assembly ends just in time for recess. We’re moving right along on minimum day accomplishments.

Next we do two pages in the math book and Bingo! It’s now time for lunch.

After lunch, the kids inform me that it’s now silent reading time. Sounds good to me, except none of the kids seem to have a book to read.

They ALL want to get a book from the “in class” library….at the SAME TIME!

Exactly 30 seconds after total chaos has ensued, I order everyone OUT of the library and back to their seats.

I then send them in pairs to select a book. I give them EXACTLY EIGHT seconds to select a book and get out! Some had to make return trips because they either couldn’t decide in time or selected crappy books.

Some examples of the crappy books from the “in class” library.

By the time everyone finally had a book they could and wanted to read, it was time to pack up and go home.

My day is done!…