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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Thanks for the Analogy?...

It isn’t often that you come across weird, backhanded analogies…

“…Remember to thank our subs. Their job is often thankless...Sort of like peeing a pair of dark pants: It gives you a warm feeling, but no one notices…”

Who is “you” and who is doing it to whom?

From: Tips for Subs and Full Time Teachers

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Let's Go For A Walk In The Park...

New signage installed in the park behind the local community college.

I was hoping for a photo opportunity with the new camera, but this was all I saw. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 20, 2006

How do YOU rate?...

Found this over on the Education Wonks

An anonymous teacher rating site:

This is NOT a new concept!

Way back in the age of LSD, hippys, flower-power, Vietnam protests, there existed the same resource at the university I attended. It was a resource called: “The Tower List”. It was an underground student published pamphlet of professor rating scores and student comments about the professors on campus.

It was, understandably, the most popular book on campus. It was also the most hated publication, by low rated professors, on campus.

As a direct result of the “The List”, the classes of the “A/B” rated professors were fully enrolled while the classes of the “sub-C” list professors were noticeably under enrolled.

The “sub-C” group decried the document as unfair, a popularity contest and threatened libel. They wanted “The List” banned from the campus. This posed an interesting dilemma for an institute championing the “free expression of ideas and information”.

This “situation” lasted for a few years until the university simply solved the “problem” by removing the names of which professors were teaching which courses in the class catalogs and then assigned professors to classes AFTER class lists were enrolled.

Fortunately, there isn’t a similar “” site for me to worry about, but I DO sometimes wonder, though, where I might rank.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What's the Opposite of No Lesson Plan?...


What’s the opposite of “no lesson plan”? How about too many plans?

I’m back at the country club school in a different 3rd grade class, I picked up the class folder at the office to find a set of “extra lesson plans!” inserted.

In the class room there are instructions to locate the file box with not one but two large lettered signs labeled: “Canned Substitute Lesson Plans!” The box contains an entire year of pre-canned plans to use. Instructions were simply locate the current week/day number and go for it.

After I located the week #7 set, I wasn’t too happy since they were pretty vague about where I was to find the materials and books referenced.

It was then that I spotted a table in the back of the room with a large sign labeled: “Substitute Teachers Desk!” where there was a personal note from the teacher and yet a different lesson plan for today.

This is the one I was what I was expecting, so we returned the “canned set” to its’ proper file and started our day.

This was, once again, the easy day with a good group of kids.

The schools are out this next week for winter break, so I’ll have more time for the eBay auction business.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What I Forgot...

The last two days I’ve been in Kindergarten. These are my first Kinder assignments in about eight months.

What I forgot…

1. They constantly tattle like little machine guns.

2. They can’t remember directions beyond the first two words.
Instructions: “Color the tree brown and the leaves green…” is executed as multi hued flora of Technicolor wonders, only some of which ends up with brown trees and green leaves.

3. They cry if you say “No”

4. That repeating the mantra “Print your name at the top of the paper” works for only 30% of the class. The rest need you to point your finger at where the “top of the paper” is and wait while they print the name.

5. That sitting still “Criss-cross, apple sauce with zip locked lips” isn’t achievable for more than 5 seconds.

6. That you MUST, MUST make sure each kinder gets an EQUAL amount of snack going out to recess. …And you better not run out of snack before the last kid reaches the door.

7. They can’t read or write words longer than four letters, so Mr. HOMEWORK is powerless to threaten assigning the extra homework essay if they act up.

8. They are short. You aren’t. That means you need a tune-up at the chiropractor tomorrow.

And last…to carry this list the next time the automated sub system calls for a Kinder assignment.

…Did I forget anything? If I did, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list later.

Check the reader comments link ----v

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Worst Job In The World?...

Quote from:
Substitute Teaching: Possibly the Worst Job In The World?
“…One student who wishes to remain anonymous gave us the answer: "subs are scum, they shouldn't, and don't, have any authority whatsoever. They are pointless." He went on to say, "plus, its fun to mess around with subs and see how angry they get…."

…And this is why I think I’ll stick to elementary school level subbing.

Friday, February 10, 2006



The rest of this week was a couple days in 3rd grade classes at the “country club” elementary school. I’ve subbed in this school a few times before and it seems to be a continuing, consistent school environment.

Kids are respectful, friendly, cooperative, enthusiastic and hard workers. Subbing under these conditions is almost like a vacation. This is the way a public school should be for ALL kids.

I live less than a mile from this school and yet if I still had school age kids they wouldn’t be going there. We’re not in this schools’ boundary. The local school for this neighborhood is two miles further down the road where the atmosphere is more, shall we say, disruptive?

While both schools are in the same district and less than three miles apart the school atmosphere is totally opposite.

There is no school choice allowed within our local public system. Even moving into a schools’ current boundary will not guarantee the district won’t redraw the boundary by the time your kid is ready to start school.

No wonder a lot of parents are shelling out a lot to send their kids to private schools if they can afford it.

I can see why vouchers for school choice might be an attractive lure for some parents.

Is it time to try Pro-Choice?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Drought Seems To Be Over...


The subbing work load seems to be picking up. Yesterday was a 3rd grade class with a request from another teacher at the same school to handle his class on Friday.

With today’s 2nd grade class, I’m hitting my goal of working at least three days/week to keep the bill collectors at bay.

There were lots of parents on campus today at lunch. It’s “Lunch With Your Own Kids Day” at this elementary school.

This is kind of a novel concept: A family picnic at school. It was calmer than usual at noon. Very nice.

I think the rest of the district should adopt the concept.

Friday, February 03, 2006


I have usually avoided “Special Day Class” assignments because of all the horror stories others have told me about. But I took this assignment today because there doesn’t seem to be much of the “regular class” variety.

First up, NO LESSON PLAN. The class DID have two aides for the sixteen students.

If those aids weren’t there, I wouldn’t know what I was supposed to do or even how to do it. There was a mix of mentally retarded, autistic, and really below grade level mix of 4th, 5th grade students.

One kid has something called “Williams syndrome”, another autistic, another one spent part of the movie eating Styrofoam (…not sure if he swallowed any before I took it away from him). And a fourth kid was a continually scratching her legs.

I probably won’t volunteer for this again.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Be Careful What You Ask For...


Day 2 with the same 5th grade class from yesterday. I specifically asked for a lesson plan before taking today’s class.

Well all I can say is: “Be careful what you ask for”.

I DID receive the extremely detailed, three page, word processed lesson plan from the teacher this morning. Part of which is re-produced below:

(Click pic for readable image)

I know a REAL teacher might pull this off with only 20minutes lead time, but I couldn’t. If I had the previous might to prepare the “example for student’s to model”, then maybe I could have pull this off but not on a spur of the moment.

What do you seasoned instructors think? Is this assignment too ambitious to expect a sub to accomplish with the teacher’s desired results or not?

This got condensed down to:
“Your principal thinks it’s a good idea to eliminate recess next year to get more learning done. Write a letter to her why or why not this is a good idea. Provide at least three reasons.”