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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flu Ready...

I start my five day assignment for 3rd grade tomorrow...just in time for the swine flu outbreak.

I'm ready!

Designer masks

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Value of Visibility…

Going into the Spring Break week (April13-17), I had exactly one assignment day pre-scheduled for the week coming back and nothing beyond that to the end of the school year. In previous years, experience showed that subbing assignments after a week long school holiday is pretty dismal for at least the following week.

My one and only assignment last Wednesday was as “roving sub” for seven teachers that had parent-teacher meetings. For one reason or another, these meetings couldn’t be conducted before or after school. Scheduled 40 mins apart, I would be called to the teacher's room when the parents arrived to take over the class while the teacher and parents talked.

Three of those parents meetings were “no-shows”, as it turned out, so I spent most of the day in the teachers lounge reading a book.

I could have gone back to the car to read but I have found that just being visible in the high traffic area of the teachers lounge is an efficient way to pick up future assignments.

“Oh! You’re here today. I was wondering if you are available for the last Thursday before summer vacation?”.
Why yes I am, as I open my assignment book.

“I’m getting married at the end of the month and need someone to cover a five day assignment. Are you available?”
I can do that! Assignment noted.

“Mr. Homework? There is a call for you from a Mrs. N---? Line 2”.
Yes, Mrs. N--- (different school) I CAN sub for you tomorrow.

“I’m glad you're here, did you remember that I need you for June 3?”
(I did vaguely recall, but since it wasn’t firm…)
Ok, I’m entering it right now. We’re all set.

…and so it continued the rest of the week.

I currently have 11 of the final 34 days of school booked, where I previously only had 1 at the start of last week.

Sucky Jobs...

I know I complain a bit about the job of substitute teacher and the low pay.
...not anymore!

Bricklayers labourer in Bangladesh:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Video Day...

Good morning class! My Name is Mr. Homework and I am your substitute teacher today.

Unfortunately, your U.S. government teachers Mr. Diem and Mr. Rightonleft didn't have time to create a lesson plan today, so let's just roll the videos...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Did You Know...

I just added a "Flag Counter" feature to the left column of the blog.

One of the neat things you can do is click the counter block and then click on any of the flags listed to find out more about the country of the visitor.

For example: Pakistan: Population: 176,242,94

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. The area underwent successive invasions in subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal Empire flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries; the British came to dominate the region in the 18th century. The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars - in 1947-48 and 1965 - over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 - in which India capitalized on Islamabad's marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics - resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002. Mounting public dissatisfaction with President MUSHARRAF, coupled with the assassination of the prominent and popular political leader, Benazir BHUTTO, in late 2007, and MUSHARRAF's resignation in August 2008, led to the September presidential election of Asif ZARDARI, BHUTTO's widower. Pakistani government and military leaders are struggling to control Islamist militants, many of whom are located in the tribal areas adjacent to the border with Afghanistan. The November 2008 Mumbai attacks again inflamed Indo-Pakistan relations. The Pakistani Government is also faced with a deteriorating economy as foreign exchange reserves decline, the currency depreciates, and the current account deficit widens.

(Confession: No, I didn't read it all. Just cut and pasted it)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Train station dancing seems to be the in thing these days. More fun at the train station...
(Schools are still out for spring break)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Books and Covers

Since I was complaining about American Idol a few days ago, I ran across this:

Can you judge a book by it's cover? Simon sure does. Just watch his expressions...

Susan Boyl - wants to be a singer:

Saturday, April 11, 2009


As most seasoned readers of this blog know, I use the alias “Mr. HOMEWORK” at the schools I substitute. It works for me as part of an accidentally discovered classroom management technique.

If I tell the kids to call me “MR. HOMEWORK!!” it plants a subconscious seed that misbehavior in class might result in extra work at home. Works for me!

So imagine my surprise, Monday, when some the kids came running up as I was unlocking the door to tell me: “Guess what? Mrs. Homework was here last week!”

Knowing that my wife isn’t in the subbing business and has absolutely no desire EVER to do so, I assured them that they must have been mistaken. I didn’t even know how they would have recognized her since she’s never been near any of the local schools since I started subbing.

“No, no! We had a sub last week and she said we should call her Mrs. Homework!” They then ran off, without disclosing any further details.

Well, that IS an interesting development. Maybe we’ll encounter each other some day on campus and I can uncover the back story to the mysterious “Mrs. Homework”. If it happens, I'll let you know.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I picked up my monthly paycheck at the school district office yesterday afternoon. It’s pretty puny as I logged only six days subbing. I guess it must qualify as my “troubled asset” because I noticed they didn’t withhold any State or Federal income taxes as they normally do.

I must have got some of that TARP money I keep hearing about on the radio. YES!

P.S. I'm currently reading "Atlas Shrugged"

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fringe, the Final Seven

We DVR! Greatest consumer appliance invented since the microwave.
We hardly watch "live" TV anymore.

When the networks run a show over it's scheduled time slot into one of my favorite shows without advanced notice, it's excruciatingly irritating! I could care less about "American Idol". I want to view MY shows please.

In case you were exposed to seven minutes of some lame Idol singer that made you miss the last seven minutes!!!! of the Fringe episode titled "Inner Child", you can view tha last 7 here:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Keys to the Classroom…

While I haven’t encountered this situation yet, some substitute teachers report that they are not trusted with the key to their classroom for the day. They report that they have to wait for a custodian or a school admin to unlock the classroom door before they can gain access to the room in the morning.

They are not trusted to keep the key during the day for fear that they might lose it, copy it or give it to someone to gain access.

Fortunately, the schools I work for assume I’m a trustworthy guy as demonstrated a couple weeks back when I arrived for my 4th grade assignment.

“We can’t find the key to your classroom so you can use this” the school secretary informed me as she handed over a lanyard of three keys.

“It’s the master set and opens all the doors to the school. It even has the key for the towel dispenser in the mens bathroom. If it’s out, feel free to change it”, she said with a smile.

Trust is a good feeling.

Friday, April 03, 2009

My New Grandson!

My new grandson!! (...who is yet to be named)

Born April 2, 2009. Weight 9 lbs 1 oz, Length 21"
Update: The parents finally settled on a name: Sean (normal spelling, normal pronunciation...)