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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Writing Essays...the easy way

I haven't posted anything worth writing for a couple weeks during the holidays.  Since school doesn't restart until next week, I hadn't planned anything for this week either. But while poking around on the interweb, I found essaytyper.com.

With advances of modern technology and the information age, the job of evaluating student writing abilities just became harder. In addition to punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, they now have to be detectives to spot "auto-generated" essays.

I "wrote" (note the quotes) the following essay by replacing the subject "Civil War" with "Substitute Teaching". I then randomly hit keys on the keyboard. The following, with some line space editing, was the result:

 
 Innovative or Simply Post-Modern?
New Paradigms in the Study of "Substitute Teaching"

 A substitute teacher is a person who teaches a school class when the regular teacher is unavailable; e.g., because of illness, personal leave, or other reasons. "Substitute teacher"  is the most commonly used phrase in the United States, India and Ireland, while supply teacher is the most commonly used term in Canada and Great Britain. 

Common synonyms for substitute teacher include relief teacher or casual teacher  and "emergency teacher" . Other terms, such as "guest teacher", are also used by some schools or districts. Regional variants in terminology are common, such as the use of the term teacher on call  in the Canadian province of British Columbia and occasional or supply teacher in the Canadian province of Ontario.
 

Substitute teachers find jobs by first completing the application and interview process from their local school district. Once approved, they will either be enrolled in an automated calling system or more currently, via a system that uses the internet to post available substitute teaching jobs. Substitutes can also find work by contacting private schools in their district.
 

General qualifications 
In some regions, the qualifications for substitute teaching may not be as strict as those for a regular teacher. 


Some areas require a college degree and the successful completion of competency tests; others require only that the applicant possess a high school diploma or its equivalent; others again insist on full teaching qualifications. 

Standards are often lower for short-term substitute teachers, who may only fill in for a teacher during a short illness or personal day, compared to long-term substitutes, who may be assigned to a class for up to an entire semester. Some authorities will allow a substitute teacher without any training in the subject to be taught, who will not cover new material but will simply supervise students working independently on work previously assigned by the regular teacher. 

Some school administrators may not hire full-time teachers unless they have had substitute teaching experience. Often, the role of a substitute teacher may be covered by a retired teacher from that school or district; in school districts that have gone through layoffs, some furloughed teachers may substitute in the district where they previously held full-time positions.
 

Pay 
Rates of pay for substitute teachers vary widely depending on geographic location, length of assignment and teacher qualifications. For instance, in California, certificated teachers are required to meet No Child Left Behind standards and if the district has a substitute teachers' union, that will impact the daily rate of pay. 


Some districts are considering going to hourly pay to further reduce expenses, leaving many substitute teachers earning wages below the national poverty line . As well, after a set number of days in any one position, districts increase the rate of pay from say $100 a day to $130 a day retroactively . 

Unfortunately, schools in a district that cannot afford the difference in pay may suspend a valid instructor to avoid the financial burden before the date of change. Local Union SEIU 521 in California has noted this trend yet few frustrated substitute teachers come forward to contend the action.
 

In Australia, the rate can vary between states and between sectors. In the state of Victoria, teachers in a Catholic school can earn $41 per hour or $246 per day, whereas in the New 
South Wales public school system, teachers can earn between $239 and $327 per day depending on experience.
 

In the United States, the position's national average is about US$80 per day, with rural districts paying as low as $40 per day and larger, urban districts paying over $200 per day. The average in Southern California is $110 per day.
 

Most substitute teachers in the U.S. can be assigned to work in all academic subject areas as needed . The substitute is generally responsible for closely following and continuing with the lesson plans left by the teacher, and to maintain student order and productivity. Substitute teachers can often work in multiple schools within one district, as well as for multiple school districts.
 

In the Republic of Ireland, substitute teachers are paid a rate of €20 to €45 per hour.
 

In Canada, substitute teachers are fully certified teachers, and are paid regular salary when employed as long-term occasionals, or paid a daily rate of about $200 per day.
 

In the United Kingdom, supply teachers employed by a local education authority or school directly must be paid a daily rate of 1/195 of the annual salary to which they would be entitled were they employed in the position on a full-time basis. Teachers employed through agencies are not subject to this rule, unless they have been working for the same hiring institution for more than 12 weeks, but nevertheless daily rates are generally around UK£100–125.
 

Substitute Educator's Day 
The United States observes a Substitute Educator's Day, which was instituted by the National Education Association . The purpose of this day is to highlight the role and importance of the substitute teacher by providing information about, advocating for, and helping to increase appreciation and respect for this unique professional. This day also focuses on the needs of substitutes, which include better wages and health benefits and continual professional development. Substitute Educator's Day is observed on the 3rd Friday of November during . Other countries and jurisdictions have similar observances.
National Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week, or SubWeek, is also observed by many districts in the US and is held the first full week in May.
 

Substitute teachers in fiction 
A series of movies feature a mercenary posing as a substitute teacher in order to take on criminal elements within the school. 


The first, The Substitute, starred Tom Berenger. The remaining three starred Treat Williams, and were The Substitute 2: School's Out, The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All, and The Substitute: Failure Is Not an Option.
 

Drillbit Taylor features Owen Wilson as an army deserter working as a bodyguard for bullied students while posing as a substitute teacher.
 

Substitute teacher Dorothy Zbornak is a main character in the sitcom The Golden Girls. She was played by Emmy-winning actress Bea Arthur.
 

A sequel to Class of 1999, which featured teachers in gang-run schools being replaced by deadly robots, was titled Class of 1999 II: The Substitute.
 

A scene in Catch Me If You Can portrays famed con man Frank Abagnale convincing a class that, rather than being a new student, he is in fact their substitute teacher.
 

Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed an undercover police officer who disguised himself as a long-term substitute teacher in the movie Kindergarten Cop.
 

In a second season episode of The Simpsons, Lisa Simpson develops feelings for an unconventional substitute teacher named Mr. Bergstrom  in the episode Lisa's Substitute.
 

Jack Black plays unconventional substitute teacher Mr. S  in School of Rock.
 

In BS Johnson's novel "Albert Angelo" the main character, Albert Albert is a supply teacher. 

Harry Allard's "Miss Nelson is Missing!" series of children's books feature Miss Viola Swamp, a supply teacher, as the main character. She also appears in the book's sequels "Miss Nelson is Back" and "Miss Nelson Has a Field Day".
 

Peggy Hill, wife of Hank Hill on the popular Fox animated sitcom King of the Hill, is a substitute Spanish teacher at Tom Landry Middle School.
 

Allan Ahlberg's poem 'The Supply Teacher' tells of a female supply teacher being lead astray by pupils, who are assumed to be of primary school age.
 

Justin Timberlake plays Scott Delacorte, a wealthy substitute teacher in the film Bad Teacher and the object of desire for teacher Elizabeth Halsey  and her rival colleague Amy Squirrel .
 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Computing Averages...



Today is the first day of winter break for the elementary schools around here. Like the regular teachers, I'm ready to knock off even though I have six assignments lined up for Jan/Feb already.

The flood of assignments did extend right up until the final days before the two week Christmas/New Year's vacation.

I had assignments 3-4 days/week in Nov. and 5 days/week the first two weeks of December.

The unusual flood did turn out to be "teacher training" for the government mandated "Common Core" standards or insurance re-verification for 2014. About half were full day assignments and the rest were roving and double 1/2 days.

The roving assignments are the easiest. I only had to "monitor" what they were already doing until the teacher returned. These assignments lasted only 15-30minutes each. The teachers knew their "assigned time" so they were able to anticipate the absence.

The "double half/day" assignments tended to be busy work this late in the year and did not need much in the way of actual instruction from me.

The only class that I actually did have to teach something was in 5th grade math on "computing averages". After going through the book exercises and doing a few examples on the board, the teacher returns to inform me that "computing averages" is no longer required so they don't have to teach it at this level.

I was curious, so I accessed the "Common Core" web site to find out at what grade level students would learn what "a mathematical average" was and how to compute one.

I intended to search for the word "average" or "averaging" to find at what grade level it would be covered. What I learned is that the people who designed the "Common Core" site need to take a few courses in web architecture themselves. Who builds a web site with over 700 pages of information and doesn't include a "key word" search feature?

Probably the same geniuses that did the Affordable Care Act web site.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Affordable Care Act Impact on Substitute Teachers?

"...Eligibility for benefits for substitute teachers – who are generally considered temporary, at-will employees – is one of those topics that would have never come up in conversation at a district a year ago.

 And for many districts, the number of substitutes working enough hours to qualify is so low, it may still not be a major issue. However, with about 60% of respondents setting or planning to set a limit on substitute hours, there seems to be enough concern to warrant action.

 This percentage is higher than those who have decided to reduce hours for part-time employees – possibly because school districts are not used to tracking hours for substitutes and want a safeguard to ensure subs do not go over the threshold and count as full-time.

 Some districts are also exploring other creative options to address the health care law, like hiring a few permanent substitutes or outsourcing subs to a staffing firm.
..."

From:
Eligibility for benefits for substitute teachers – who are generally considered temporary, at-will employees – is one of those topics that would have never come up in conversation at a district a year ago. And for many districts, the number of substitutes working enough hours to qualify is so low, it may still not be a major issue.
However, with about 60% of respondents setting or planning to set a limit on substitute hours, there seems to be enough concern to warrant action.
This percentage is higher than those who have decided to reduce hours for part-time employees – possibly because school districts are not used to tracking hours for substitutes and want a safeguard to ensure subs do not go over the threshold and count as full-time.
Some districts are also exploring other creative options to address the health care law, like hiring a few permanent substitutes or outsourcing subs to a staffing firm.
- See more at: http://www.frontlinek12.com/Pages/Blog/How_Are_Districts_Preparing_for_the_Affordable_Care_Act.html#sthash.GSZlgDtx.dpuf
Eligibility for benefits for substitute teachers – who are generally considered temporary, at-will employees – is one of those topics that would have never come up in conversation at a district a year ago. And for many districts, the number of substitutes working enough hours to qualify is so low, it may still not be a major issue.
However, with about 60% of respondents setting or planning to set a limit on substitute hours, there seems to be enough concern to warrant action.
This percentage is higher than those who have decided to reduce hours for part-time employees – possibly because school districts are not used to tracking hours for substitutes and want a safeguard to ensure subs do not go over the threshold and count as full-time.
Some districts are also exploring other creative options to address the health care law, like hiring a few permanent substitutes or outsourcing subs to a staffing firm.
- See more at: http://www.frontlinek12.com/Pages/Blog/How_Are_Districts_Preparing_for_the_Affordable_Care_Act.html#sthash.GSZlgDtx.dpuf
Infographic: How Are Districts Preparing for the Affordable Care Act?

Saturday, December 07, 2013

MovieMagic Giveaway time!! #MovieMagic

Update: The Winner of the random DVD is......Jan!  Congrats!.
Note: Winners addresses must be submitted by December 16th, 2013.

You Haven’t Seen Your Favorite Movie Until You’ve Seen the Special Features!
This Holiday rediscover the #MovieMagic behind your favorite films. Blu-ray offers exclusive special features that put you in the filmmaker’s chair, with a behind-the-scenes access to all of the magic: Special effects, talent interviews, alternative endings, unreleased scenes, bloopers, and more!
With a Blu-ray combo pack, you can enjoy your favorite films in high-definition whenever and wherever you want. You can keep the Blu-ray disc in the living room, DVD in the car, and the digital copy on your phone for when you’re on the move!

Grab your favorite movie lover a Blu-ray this holiday!
Highlights:
• With the combo pack you can take your favorite films wherever you go. You can keep the Blu-ray disc in the living room, DVD for the car, and the digital copy on your mobile phone while on the move!
• Blu-ray lets you to watch your favorite movies with unmatched sound and video that is SIX TIMES the quality of DVDs!
• Blu-ray offers the most premium possible in home entertainment experience
• You don’t have to worry about the buffering that happens with streaming videos

Reply in the comments section to enter to win a copy of one of the following titles (chosen at random from the list below) awarded to one lucky reader!
• The Little Mermaid - Diamond Edition
• The Lone Ranger
• Monsters University
• Angels Sing
• Rise of The Guardians
• Despicable Me 2
• Turbo
• Grown Ups 2
• Wizard of Oz 3D
• The Wolverine
• Star Trek: Into Darkness
• White House Down
• Fast 6
• Pacific Rim
• After Earth
• Man of Steel
• Red 2
• World War Z
• 2 Guns
• Weeds: The Complete Collection
• Predator 3D

Drawing will be held and winner notified on Dec 15, 2013> If selected, please reply with your mailing address by the deadline. :
Winners addresses must be submitted by December 16th, 2013.
Giveaway open to the U.S.
No P.O. boxes 
Please note: each household is only eligible to win ONE #MovieMagic Title via blog reviews and giveaways.

Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.