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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rocks in My Pockets!

I knew I shouldn’t have made the call, but subbing assignments have been a little light this month. I had already checked the subbing line a few times Tuesday afternoon and and into the evening without success. I decided to make one last attempt before I went to bed at midnight.

The assignment was for 2nd grade the next morning at 7:30am. Since this assignment wasn’t posted when I checked at 10:00pm, I knew there was a high probably that this was a last minute deal and unless the school requires teachers to plan for such an eventuality (…yes, there ARE a few that do), there is a high probability that I’ll be walking in without a lesson plan.

I stalled for time, by replaying the assignment description while trying to decide if I really wanted to take that chance. The desire for a bump in the paycheck won out and so it was that I arrived at school the next morning 15 minutes late. The sub line hadn’t been updated to this year’s earlier starting schedule.

No lesson plan. Not only that, there were no books in the kids desks either.

No reading or math practice books that I could assign as a time killer. The teacher had ripped all the pages out of all 20 sets of reading and math practice books with the separate piles of each page in file folders that she used to make daily “work packets”.

Unfortunately for me, it looked like she makes these sets of “work packets” only one day in advance. There was evidence that she was out the two previous days and one of the subs had already used the single advanced prepared set on Tuesday. There was none prepared for today.

With no plan, I was unaware that this class “switches” with a different class for science until the teacher I was supposed to switch with asked me what time I wanted to do it. She didn’t quite believe me that I didn’t have any material for a science lesson until she went looking for books in the room.

Finding none, she gave me a text from her class to “read to them”. With her help and a copy of the current bell schedule, I had only a few minutes to get a general plan in place before I was to pick up the kids.

The bell rang for start of class and I went looking to pick up my class in the back playground where I could see classes lining up.

Not finding “my class”, I was told that the 2nd graders line up in the Kinder playground…on the other side of the campus! That item of information would have been handy on a lesson plan.

I’m exhausted by the time the first recess comes. The stacks of worksheets I’m pulling from her folder stash are coming up a couple short when I pass them out, so I have to start pre-counting material before I start handing it out.

The first recess ends, so I went to pick up the kids on the Kinder playground only to discover that the 2nd graders only line up there in morning. Of course, my kids are the only ones left standing in the back playground when I finally get there. That’s another planning item that would have been useful information.

Now, at this point, you may be wondering about the title of this post and what it has to do with pockets and rocks.

Well, the last activity of the day for 2nd graders is P.E. The missing plan should have read, “You will be monitoring the special ed class, while the 2nd graders perform P.E. with Ms. S” but…there was no plan.

I’m watching 1st graders play some form of dodge ball without rules, when I notice one of the special ed aides chasing one particular kid around the blacktop trying to prevent him from eating pieces of gravel he’s finding on the ground.

Trying to help as much as I can, I hold out my hand to have the little rock eater surrender whatever he’s got in his tight little fist. After disgorging several handfuls, he’s modified the game where he just picks up rocks to give me. A couple of times if I’m distracted watching some of the other kids, he just sneaks up behind me and dumps the rocks in my side pants pocket.

The rocks in my pocket will be a reminder about what kind of rocks I must have in my head to pick up another late night substitute assignment. least it wasn't squirrels!

From one of my granddaughter's favorite shows:


Angela Watson said...

Unbelievable. Did you make the principal aware of this teacher's total lack of preparation? Would it make any difference if you did?

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness! I've been subbing here in Washington this year and I've had some pretty sketchy plans left behind, but I've never had absolutely none! Sounds like you did great with what you had!

L Becker said...

Sounds like you had a fun day! I think elementary school is the best place to not have lesson plans. There's so much to fall back on - reading a story you find in the classroom (or the library if needed), drawing pictures, writing a "get well soon" card to the teacher, playing 7-Up or some other timewaster. You could never get away with that in middle or high school. Although I have had 7th graders ask me if they could draw for the entire period...haha!

The Bus Driver said...

once i had nothing to do in a second grade classroom, the library sent over 2 magic school bus videos and 2 arthur videos. I had the kids vote, and we watched videos the whole day.

Billie's Mummy said...

Don't you love it when they leave no plans! I've had it done so many times now.
I was once called in late and got there as the bell rang, I got sent straight to the room without being told what grade it was and then discovered there was no plan for the day. Really makes you think on your feet!

traveler hudd said...

as a newbie sub, i have already learned which assignments to pick up and which to not. i have been burned a few times in accepting day of assignments so i try and stray.
sounds like you had an interesting day though... at least it is good foder for your blog :)

Sladed said...

Oh, my! One of those "challenges" that is all too frustrating and seemingly unnecessary. Having to search for your class leads to pit stains for sure!
An earlier comment is right on: reading books, writing "get well" cards, drawing, watching videos, and playing games are all good. I have never done most of these because, even though the teacher screwed up by not leaving plans, I never wanted to harm my reputation by not getting work done. As you did, I would attempt to cobble together appropriate work.
I do carry two lessons around with me wherever I go. One is a team/group activity that involves making 1 paper airplane and measuring how far it flies. I have a page on the 4 things required for flying (lift, etc.) so that I am teaching something.
The 2nd lesson revolves around reading a poem called "If I Were In Charge of the World" by Judith Viorst. After reading it I turn it into a writing assignment. Both of these plans can be adapted for 2nd thru 6th grades. I bet you could find lesson plans on line for these things too.
1 more thing: if you're very lucky the teacher's printer is also a flatbed scanner which you can use to make a couple of copies of a worksheet if you come up short. I lucked out once with this one.

You earned your pay for sure on this one!

Anonymous said...

It is funny how you learn which jobs to choose. The same thing happened to me a while back. It made for a very long day. Have a happy holiday! Next year will be here before we know it. By the way, I loved the video.