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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Turkey Anatomy Search …

It’s still Christmas break for at least another week so I have time to check the statistics to see a sample of how the internet community finds their way to my blog.

So greetings to all you culinary aficionados from such far flung places as:

  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Nordrhein-westfalen, Bochum, Germany
  • Hessen, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Maribor, Slovenia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Delhi, India
  • Kenya

I hope that using the Google search engine for the key words: “turkey boobs” enabled you to cook and enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving holiday meal.

If that’s not what you were looking for…sorry weirdo!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hyper For The Holidays …


The phone is ringing at 05:30am this last day of the year before the start of the Christmas break. I instantly have a case of the déjà vu’s all over again. That last time I subbed on the final day in December for Kinders was enough for me to avoid all “last day” assignments forever.

But what the hell, this is a different school and a different grade. Maybe it won’t be so bad. As it turned out, it was a short, short assignment for a full payday.

Once you subtract the 15min school tour of decorated doors, the 40mins where the art prep teacher takes over the class, the 35min lunch, the 40min movie, the 20min recess and the minimum day dismissal at 01:15pm, the actual classroom instruction time works out to about 2 hours.


The kids were hyper for the holidays but still trying not to rate a mention on Santa’s naughty list. All in all, it was a fun, successful afternoon.

Maybe that’s why when the office called at lunch time; I agreed to sub for a class of left behinders four days this February while the rest of the school is off at science camp. If I was wrong about all “last day” assignments, maybe the “left behinder” assignment won’t be too traumatic.

Right?...right?...a little help here…

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pushing My Buttons…


We returned home last night to five missed calls for subbing jobs for Monday so I wasn’t surprised with this mornings call for a half day afternoon 4th grade assignment. It seems this last week before the Christmas break is a busy time for substitutes.

Lesson plan is minimal and easy.

1. Go over answers to the math exercise they were doing when I arrived.

2. Lunch (40 mins)

3. Make sure they pay attention while Parent/Volunteer reader reads the story.

4. Cursive writing exercise (20mins)

5. Social studies – 6 pages

6. Clean up, Pack up and Go home.

Total class time 2.5 hours! This should be an easy day!

It’s such a short amount of time that any one student shouldn’t have had enough time to find that button that really ticks me off.

Orlando did…

Orlando is probably the best reader in class and probably the smartest kid in class. Unfortunately, he’s also the biggest “smart ass” in class. That’s probably why his desk within an arms length of the teacher’s chair at the front of the room.

This kid has NO impulse control. Whatever thought sails through his head detours out the mouth, hands or feet. Sometimes all three at the same time! Constantly!

Hopefully my report to his teacher will allow me to have the last shot as he spends 20min of recess time on the bench tomorrow.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Left Behinders…

There are two schools in the district that have very similar names and are easily mistaken for one another. One is a country club school where discipline is never a problem. The other is the polar opposite to the point I don’t take any assignments above 3rd grade at that school.

The first school is overloaded with parent volunteers who sign up to chaperone field trips, grade papers, organize fundraisers and anything else the school might ask of them.

The other school, not so much.

So it happened that I got a call from a teacher to take his 5th grade class at what I thought was the “good” school. He mentioned I was scheduled take his class on a field trip with all the other 5th and 6th grade classes at the school to see the “Nutcracker Ballet”.

“Sure! No problem.” (I’m still thinking this is the “first” school)

When I called the system to receive the assignment number, I realized it was for the “other” school.

Now I know that either I’m going on a field trip with minimal chaperone coverage for a bunch of kids that need the maximum level OR they’ll want me to stay at the school and monitor the real bad ass kids that weren’t allowed on the field trip in the first place.

No winning options here.

As it turned out I ended up on one of three busses with about 250 kids, three teachers, two substitutes, the health aid and one parent chaperone. We arrived at the theater along with busses from about 20 other local schools. The place looks like opening day at the Giants game.

The experience wasn’t any where near as foreboding as I anticipated. The packed house “Ooh’d, Ahh’d, and clapped in all the right places. They seemed to enjoy the ballet even if there were a few grumbles from some of the kids about it being: “boring”, “they didn’t talk”, “I didn’t know what it was about”, etc.

We managed not to lose anyone after the performance and I didn’t notice any discipline disturbances anywhere from the full house of about 5000+ kids in the audience.

We got back to the school with about an hour left before the dismissal bell. My class was rejoined with the five “left behinders” kids that didn’t go.

They also rejoined us with a student teacher that had them while we were gone who informed me that four of the five “left behinder” boys were caught exiting the girl’s bathroom after lunch.

Somehow, I’m not surprised. I'm glad I didn't have "left behinder" duty today.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Let Teachers Carry Guns???

I found the following story in the news today: Nevada politician: Let teachers carry guns

"LAS VEGAS - A Nevada state senator and also-ran in this year's Republican primary for governor says the Legislature should consider letting teachers carry guns in classrooms to stem a rise in school violence.

'I would expect enough teachers would be interested so it would serve as a deterrent,' said Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas. He said he's preparing a bill to introduce when state lawmakers convene in February.

I wonder when and where Sen. "Too Many Beers" got that bright idea?

Personally, if it ever got that bad in the schools around here, that's time to give up the substitute teaching job and stay home.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Half Day Assignments…

This is a slow week for subbing. I had a half day in 5th grade Monday and another half day Tuesday in 1st grade.

I’m usually not real fond of 1/2 day assignments but if I have a choice, I prefer the afternoon half of a 1/2 day assignment. It’s usually shorter because the kid’s lunch time is part of that half day. Since you don’t have to be there until 11:30 or so, you can sleep late and not rush breakfast.

If you compute the pay by the hourly rate you are actually in the afternoon class, then it’s the highest paid job for substitutes (per hour) in this area.

The rate (a little more than ½ the regular day rate) divided by the actual hours in the classroom (around 2.5h) works out to be about $25/hr. Slightly less if you do the morning half class.

Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary in the district you work…

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Answer Key…


Substitute teaching at the elementary level isn’t all that difficult as far as subject matter goes. While there have been occasions in the past where, once or twice, I didn’t feel “educated” enough in English grammar to actually teach the subject, those situations tended to be at the upper grade levels. Teacher edition text books with the answers included and teacher provided answer keys for any worksheets to be handed out make my job fairly easy to handle.

Any functioning adult should be able to master 1st grade worksheets without any problem or aid from an answer key. English grammar at a 1st grade level shouldn’t be a problem…even for ME!

So imagine my surprise and frustration when confronted with the following worksheet involving words with vowel “U”:

(click the image to enlarge)

The instructions are simple enough.
1. Say each picture name.
2. Listen to the sound of each letter
3. Print the word for the picture name.

All the words have either the short or long form of the vowel “U” and this being 1st grade work, all the words are less than five letters in length.

Quick, time yourself and see how well you do in identifying the word that goes with all the pictures.

Note: All current and veteran 1st grade teachers are disqualified from participating. THEY, of course, have the answer key!

(The one circled in red is a real killer. For the longest time the only thing I could imagine was that finger removing a “booger” from the baby’s nose. But that’s an entirely different vowel…) Posted by Picasa