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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader...

I got a peek at this latest question game show clone.

It's much funnier than "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" except that it should be re-titled: "Am I dumber than a post and willing to admit it on national television"

The adult "drop out", who claims to be a computer consultant, walked away with a $175K after hearing and passing on the question: "How many decades in two millennium".

(...For the record, the kids on the show got all the answers right.)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Substitute faces up to 40 years in prison...

The setting:
Old unsecured computer running Windows/98
Orginal trial version virus checker.
Technophobe substitute teacher.
Kids left unattended.

The result:
"...The six-person jury Friday convicted Amero, 40, of Windham of four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child. It took them less than two hours to decide the verdict. She faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison."

What's wrong with this:
Security Focus by Mark Rasch, MSNBC

"...Substitute teacher Julie Amero faces up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to porn using a classroom computer, but the facts strongly suggest that she was wrongfully convicted. Many issues remain, from the need for an independent computer forensics investigation and the presence of spyware and adware on the machine, to bad or incomplete legal work on both sides of this criminal case."

"...Ms. Amero, 40, a longtime substitute, contends that when she arrived that day in October 2004, she asked the regular seventh-grade language arts teacher at Kelly Middle School if she could use his computer to e-mail her husband. But first, she says, she went to the bathroom, and when she returned, the teacher was gone and students were gathered around the screen, watching a hairstyle Web site.

When she tried to close the site, what she got was an endless barrage of pop-up ads for pornography sites. The images continued all day, since “I absolutely have no clue about computers,” she said in an interview."


I didn't realize that this substitute teaching job could be this hazardous to my freedom and financial health. Similar instances of what happened to Julie Amero could happen to anyone.

A very similar situation happened to me a couple years ago. I didn't end up in jail or even close, but this case demonstrates just how quirky the situation can get.

My wife once misspelled "" and got a nude photo site.

The South West Airline commercial isn't far from the truth when it comes to demonstrating how inadvertently anyone can be "caught" in a similar situation.

There is so much "reasonable doubt" in this case, that I believe that Julie is being used as a scapegoat shield from potential parental lawsuits.

If anyone is at fault here, I think it rests squarely with the school administration for allowing "dangerously outdated" equipment in the classroom.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Winter Broke Week...

The schools are out for this week. I did get a full week in before the winter break.

"Winter Break Week" is actually "Winter Broke Week" for substitute teachers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Haiku Note Taking …

Day 2 of 4 opened with only one absent.

LB’s mom called him in sick today.

-- No comment --

The remaining sixteen 4th graders were great today. All were eager, bright, energetic, enthusiastic, and fun to be with.

The lesson plans for the week consist mostly of “packet work” for math, language arts and science. They plow through these things in half the time allotted so we have lots of “silent reading” time.

I decided to give them a break and dug out my video of "The Seedy Side of Plants". I asked them to write at least five interesting notes from the video.

Being the high group they are, only ONE student wrote five “interesting notes”. All the rest generated 20 to 50 “interesting notes”

I read them all but was intrigued by the somewhat Haiku-ness of one student’s paper:

Ants eating the seed…
Eating ants is only hope…
Plants starting to grow…
When woodpeckers store acorns…
Bats flapping wings…
Bats eating fruit…
Bats hanging upside down…
Bats spitting seeds…
Bats pooing out seeds…
Zebra walking…
Melon plants grow…
Snow falling…
Thick wind…
Damp of hair goes down…

They ALL liked the part about how the Strangler Fig tree propagates its seeds. Sample comments:

  • Bats go potty hanging upside down eating.
  • What bat poop looks like.
  • Bats poop figs and then it falls and it grows a plant.

There’s nothing like good quality subject material to keep the kids interested…

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Left Behinders Day 1 …

I was asked last month to take this four day, 4th/5th combo class assignment this week while the teacher and all the 5th graders are at Science Camp.

The combo classes at this school are reserved for the high end students who can work independently at or above grade level. It’s considered a privilege to be selected for any combo class at this school.

So this week while all the 5th grader half is away, I’m left with the remaining sixteen, “cream of the crop”, 4th graders… and one 5th grade LB (Left Behinder) from another class.

I could tell right away LB wasn’t happy about the situation being stuck in this “younger” class. His teacher’s lesson plan for the week was: “He’s to do all the same work as the 4th graders”

I couldn’t tell if the half completed work and lackluster participation in class today was the result of not being able to keep up with the high-group 4th graders or the general resentment of being the only 5th grader in school left behind.

Seeking a clue as to what I might be in for the rest of the week, I lightly broached the subject privately by asking him if he had something like allergys that didn’t allowed him to go with the rest of the class.

LB: My mom had a “bad feeling” about the trip and wouldn’t sign the permission paper to let me go.

Me: Wow. Does she have these “bad feelings” often?

LB: Yea. She has them all the time. My brother and I don’t get to do much.

Me: I bet that’s hard.

LB: Yep…

When I asked the office staff person about LB’s situation, she told me that “Mom” is very controlling, WAY too attached to her boys and a general PITA when she doesn’t get her way at the school.

Poor kid…

Monday, February 12, 2007


I, for one, am sick and tired of those high paid teachers. Their hefty salaries are driving up our taxes, and they only work ten months or less a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they! That's right, all they are is overpriced baby-sitters, and we can get that for less than minimum wage.

Now we're talking...Let's give them $3.00 dollars an hour and only the hours they worked, not any of that silly planning time, lunch time, nap time or "teacher work days" crap.

That would be only 5 hours each school day, or 15 dollars a day.

Each parent should pay 15 dollars a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now, how many kids do these glorified baby-sitters teach in a day.... maybe 25 at the most.

Then that's $15 per day, times 25 students =$375 a day.

And what about those special teachers or the ones with fancy master's degrees?

Well, we could pay them minimum wage just to be fair. Let's round it off to $6.00 an hour.

But remember they only teach school 180 days a year! We're not going to pay them for any vacations, holidays, annual leave or such stupid crap as that.

So, let's see.... for regular teachers that's $375 x 180 days=$67,500.00 (What the heck ?!?)

And for the special degrees that would be $6 times 5 hours times 25 children times 180 days =$135,000.00 a year.

Hold on, my stupid calculator must need batteries! That can't be right! Wait a daggone minute, there is something wrong here!!!

There sure is, duuhhhhh????!!

(...Make a teacher smile, send this to him or her!)

(Note: I can't take credit for this one I received in an email...Thx, Mike!)

Monday, February 05, 2007

New Look...

I'm on jury duty this week.

Since I can't check the jury line from the classroom, I can't take any class assignments.

Until they dismiss my juror group or I get selected and dismissed from a case, I'm stuck not working this week.

Since Blogger seems to have finally finished fiddling with the blog template editor, I thought bring the blog up to date under a more standard format.

(...I hope I don't break anything)


Well it looks like I didn't mess it up. I even got the StatCounter back in place.

One neat thing I like about the StatCounter is the "Visitor Map" feature.

It shows a graphical map of where visitors to your blog are generally located. From there you can switch to Googles satellite maps to zoom to the street level ISP point of contact.

Just click the link "View My Stats" under the counter at left, then select the "Recent Visitor Map" from the left hand menu.

I'll leave my counters enabled for public access for a while so you can take a look.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Yard Duty Karma…

I was talking to another "retired teacher and now working as a sub" person in the teachers lounge today.

I was telling her that subbing is hard enough without being assigned the before school, morning yard duty since that is when I need to go over the lesson plan and locate all the material needed for the day.

She revealed the following bit of "sub sneaky" tactics.

When she was a full fledged teacher and she knew she was going to get a sub, she'd ask her other buddies if anyone wanted to dump their assigned yard duty and she'd just add it to the lesson plan.

Now that SHE'S the sub, I hope Karma gets her!


(An interesting sample of follow-up comments from the ProTeacher Discussion Board)

“…We used to give the sub "study hall" duty that normally rotated amongst us middle school teachers when I taught middle school. One week, everyone on my team got out of study hall because we had a sub covering for the week. There is not much a sub can do and we had a great week off.......THAT'S LIFE”

“…Honestly, I believe it boils down to treating others the way you would want to be treated. I would never switch a duty so that a sub would have to do it. Just another reason I think every classroom teacher should have to sub from time to time. Subbing is going to make me a more considerate classroom teacher. It's not "just life" it's common and professional courtesy. Do unto others and all that.”

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Teacher refused to leave campus - Arrested!...

Frankly when I've had a bad day at school, the LAST thing I want to do is stay at school.

"...An officer summoned to the school arrived and said Mo put a girl between herself and the officer and told her students to help her, Gagan said. She screamed something about the late Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat to a white man in 1955 sparked a bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., police said.

Complete SFGate story here: The Sheldon Elementary School teacher