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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Party Moms

The substitute’s rule of wisdom states that the day before a major holiday or the start of summer vacation is generally an assignment to be avoided if you can’t handle amped up kids. The two most likely problematic assignments are the Fridays before Christmas and Halloween night. The job is then less about the 3R’s and more about crowd control for the day.

So this Friday before Halloween, the teacher’s note on the system said that they would be having an in-class party and a school costume parade about an hour before dismissal. The teacher’s note also suggested that I could come in costume if I wanted to join in. Since I hadn’t worked this week and the assignment was for only the last half of the day, I went in. My only concession to a costume was wearing my SF Giants baseball cap.

The 5th grade class was in full party mode when I arrived to meet with the teacher I would be working for. The teacher said there was no lesson plan since I wouldn’t be teaching anything. I was not surprised. My job today, as explained by the teacher, was to be the properly credentialed teacher required to supervise as legally required. The class “party moms” would handle everything.

One the reasons I took this assignment was that this school has a high parent participation rate and this class proved to be no exception. Six “party moms” were directing Halloween crafts involving Graham crackers, chocolate, and candy corn art. They handled the pizza party lunch and games. All were dressed in costume and in full control. There was really nothing for me to do but “monitor” all day.

When some of the kids asked where my costume was, I put on my Giants cap and told them I was the superhero who radiated an invisible force field in front of me that deflects all thrown objects. I’m called WALKMAN!

Fortunately most of these kids HAD watched last night’s MLB World Series game against the Rangers and “got” the joke.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Exposure Notice!

Possible exposure to almost every kind of communicable malady is sure to appear when dealing with hundreds of kids at dozens of schools. Exposure to everything from head lice, hand, foot and mouth disease, ringworm, and common flu viruses are common but each year something new seems to appear. This year it’s scabies!

It’s almost impossible to be prepared for what comes next, but I'm going to try!

From Blogger Pictures

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Said – No!

Automated calling systems for substitute teachers are supposed to benefit both parties. The school doesn’t have to rely on an actual person to make dozens of phone calls each day in the attempt to fill positions. The automated computers will tirelessly dial until every assignment is booked.

Substitute teachers, on the other hand, aren’t expected to do much. Some subs only respond when called while others continuously query online or by phone looking for available jobs.

The ONLY thing that the district requires of a substitute teacher is to notify the system for any “period of unavailability”. This requirement supposedly saves time by not offering positions to someone who has already stated is not taking assignments for the day, a partial week or more. It’s a sensible requirement.

Why then, after I’ve listed an advanced three day absence, does the system STILL call offering jobs late into the night (two within 5min of each other) and, more irritatingly, at 05:35am the following morning?

Does the system not understand: “No! I’m not available”? I now have to assume that entering an unavailable date is just a “suggestion” to the system in that I might have changed my mind at the last minute without telling them.

After the first early wake up call, I turned the ringer off for the next two days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sounds Like an Old Song

I was in class Monday and Tuesday, but I am taking off the rest of the week. Why?

Well, we need new carpet in the house but...
Before we get carpet, we need to fix the termite problem but...
Before the termite guys will work, we need to fix the possum problem under the house...

This is starting to sound something like the little old lady who swallowed a fly!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Doof Move…

Went and picked up my class of 4th graders this morning. Half way back to the room, a teacher runs up behind asking:

T: Who are you subbing for today?
Me: Ms B in room D15?

T: Ms B is room D14. That’s my class you have there.
Your class is still out on the blacktop waiting for you…

Not an auspicious start to my day…

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Rovingest Sub…

The “roving sub” assignment is just school jargon for “scheduled wandering” from class to class to cover the time period necessary for teachers to conduct meetings or functions that can’t be handled outside of school.

Roving is usually a rare assignment, as I’ve previously experienced only one or two of these per year. This year seems to be an exception. I’ve had nine roving assignments in September and October so far. My record for the most classes covered in one day is eighteen!

Roving sub duty is usually easy. There is no preparation required. The first “assignment” usually starts a half hour after school begins and frequently ends before the final bell.

The teacher usually has you supervise work already in progress, do a short lesson like a spelling test or the favorite default, silent reading until her return. There is a lot of walking involved and if you take a “roving sub” assignment, be sure to get a map of the school so you don’t waste time getting lost.

Question: Is “roving-est” even a word?