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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mandated Reporter…

All school district employees, including subs, are designated “mandated reporters”.

I sometimes feel that applying common sense to an incident isn’t worth the risk when criminal and other legal sanctions for failing to report even possible suspected situations are pretty harsh. The obvious situations are clear but sometimes my gut tells me that some situations don’t really warrant reporting but general rule is: “When I doubt, report”

Today was a pretty good day with a fairly large 5th grade class when one of the girls brought me her library book. Inside the cover was the post-it note:

“If you open this book, we will rape you!”….and it was signed!

First names only but the office staff pretty much had an idea who they were. I’m pretty sure it was just a sick joke since they could not possibly know who the next person to check the book out would be.

I’m kinda saddened that 5th graders these days even know what “rape” is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fast .vs. Slow Roving …

There are two types of “roving sub” assignments. I have just completed one “fast” roving assignment this month and have four more unknown types lined up for Feb. and March.

Since I never know who will be running the roving schedule, I will ask the interviewer if they want me to hold strictly to the schedule (slow) or to send the next teacher as soon as the previous returning teacher releases me (fast).  

The health insurance auditors usually want to be done as quickly as possible (fast) whereas the twice yearly principal/teacher evaluations tend to plod along at the preset, scheduled (slow) pace.

If I have a choice, I prefer the fast roving schedule. Even just a few minutes sliced off each early ended interview adds time to the front end of my lunch period and subtracts time off my end of day release.

In either case, I’ve never had a school require me to stay beyond the end of the last interview.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What’s Worse Than An Early Morning Assignment Call?

…Answer: It’s the early morning cancellation call as my wife will attest.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to rely on the last minute, 05:30am phone calls for substitute teaching assignments to add to a paycheck.

After several years experience, I have managed to assemble a modest network of teachers and school secretaries that I rely upon for pre-assigning my teaching assignments in non-layoff years.

Since before the beginning of this New Year, I had already pre-assigned classes scheduled for about half the school days of January and even a few more lined up for February through April.

I was startled, then to be awakened at 05:30am only to be informed that I wouldn’t be working today. After all, this assignment was arranged back in mid-December and only canceled sometime after midnight. I know because it was still in the assignment queue when I checked the computer just before I went to bed at 11:30pm

So, now it’s 05:30 in the morning and my paranoia won’t let me get back to sleep wondering what I must have done wrong yesterday.

You see, today’s class was the second half of a two day assignment. I had met with the teacher in class yesterday morning before she left. We went over the lesson plans and she verified that I was scheduled for next day also. No pre-warning that she might need to cancel, which would have been ok.

I guess you never know why some things happen the way they do.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Blue Lollipops…

I could have subbed the entire first week of the New Year had I had stamina for Kinders or middle school P.E. classes. Instead, I started the New Year with two days of 4th graders.

The most common question I get when kids enter the room for the first time is: “Where is Ms/Mr teacher?” This class was no exception

First girl through the door:  “Where is Ms H?”
Me: I’ll answer that question when everyone gets settled, ok?

Earlier in my short career as a substitute teacher, I’d just tell them that I don’t know why their teacher had to be away for the day. Sometimes I DID know, but I didn’t feel that it was my job to give out any details that the teacher might or might not care to share with the students.

Lately, I’ve gotten a bit more creative, especially around this age group of kids (8-10).

Me: Your teacher is not here today because she is on an assignment.

Door girl: Assignment? What’s that?
Me: It is supposed to be a secret, but your teacher is a CIA agent and “teacher” is just her undercover job. She was sent out on an important mission for today and tomorrow!

Random Kid: What?
Me: It’s true! She’s a secret agent for the CIA. That stands for “Candy Interception Agency”. Her secret mission is to track down and stop the smuggling of illegal “blue lollipops” into the country. She had a tip that a giant box of them was coming this morning at the airport and had to go investigate.

At this point, they know (at least I hope so) that I was having a bit of fun but they seemed interested in the “yarn”.

Random Kid: But lollipops aren’t illegal! We have them lots of times.
Me: Ahhh. But were any of them BLUE?

The room went quiet and I could almost hear them thinking about colors. Ummm,  green, yellow, red, orange …blue?

Confident Kid: But, I’ve had blue ones before!
Me: Really? What flavor was it?
NowNotSoConfident Kid: Ummmmm…

Me: See! Think about it. What flavor IS blue? Very few people have had a blue lollipop because they are illegal in the United States.

“While you think that over, let’s get to work. The first item on the lesson plan is a practice spelling test. Get a piece of binder paper and number it from 1-20 with your name at the top…”.

Now, the standard procedure for spelling tests in elementary school is for the teacher to:
1.       Clearly pronounce the word
2.       Use the word in a sentence
3.       Repeat the word.

Of course all the sentences used for this spelling test were going to have to incorporate the phrase “blue lollipop” somehow. When I occasionally failed to come up with a sentence with “blue lollipop”, one or more of the kids suggested one for me.

…now that I think about it, what flavor IS blue?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year - 2012!

Here's hoping for some change for the better on the start of this new year!