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Sunday, February 16, 2014

When Two Halves Do Not Make a Whole...

School districts pay subs a flat daily rate. Half day assignments are paid 1/2 the full daily rate plus $5. If by chance, you are able to pick up a morning 1/2 day and, on the same day, an afternoon 1/2 at a different school, it is considered a single "full day" and pays $10 less than two halves.

This little accounting trick is not spelled out in the substitute teacher handbook. Pointing out that when we spend additional time and fuel traveling to two different schools, usually missing lunch should be worth the extra $10, it falls on deaf ears.

My choices are:
1)  Suck it up and quit complaining about the extra $10 they should pay.
-- or--
2)  Refuse to double end assignments and force the district to pay $10 extra/day for two subs covering two classes.

The two weeks before the February seven-day winter break means a lean monthly paycheck for substitute teachers. Even so, I was able to work every school day right up until the start of break.

One of those assignments was a half day morning assignment ending at 11:30am.

When 11:45 came and went without the teacher returning to the classroom, I called the office to see what was happening. They said the teacher was running late and would be there shortly. Ten minutes later, another sub shows up for HIS half day afternoon assignment. He said it was a last minute call that came in just about 10mins ago.

When checking out in the office, I asked what the situation was with two subs scheduled for the same class the same day.

It seems that two teachers are sharing one contract to teach this class. Both were at the same training session so each had to have a sub to cover "her half" of the class. The whole district is having problems getting subs for this training. She said the district office reported that 70 assignments were posted for today and not all of them were filled.

I didn't try to suggest that they could have called me to ask if I could stay the full day. Instead, I left and went home for lunch.

I was home no more than 5 minutes when the substitute assignment system called to see if I'm available this afternoon for a half day assignment at a different school but they need me right now.

I guess at this point I was in a "mood"....I chose #2.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Someone Put Garbage In My Backpack...

When I started this job 10yrs ago, I wrote almost every day because it was such a strange and different experience working with kids, teachers and the education bureaucracy. Lately, I have been wondering if I have seen/experienced it all with nothing new to report.

At 8:05 this Monday morning, a 3rd grade boy approached my desk complaining that his books got wrecked. That's not exactly something new. Kids are not exceptionally reverent when it comes to the careful handling of valuable school property. Water, juice box, melted chocolate coatings are common but this was a new one.

He shows me his hardcover Math, Reading and Science books dripping greasy goop all along the ruined warped edges of all three books.

Me: What happened?
The kid shrugs his shoulders and says, "Someone must have put garbage in my backpack."

I had him retrieve his backpack and looked inside. I saw what appeared to be a large amount of unrecognizable, fruity smelling black goo on the bottom with only the identifiable stem left.

Me: Did "someone" by any chance forget to eat "his" banana at lunch last Friday and put in your bag to take home?

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Random Drawing and Free Fergus Ferry iPhone App

Update!! ...and the winner is Rebecca! Congratulations!

Fergus Ferry is allowing me to give away some free stuff.

If you have or know of any beginning /young readers then these books and games might help you get them into the reading habit.

About Fergus Ferry from:
"...a popular series of rhyming books for ages 2 to 6. Come with Fergus, the brave little ferry, and his friends, as they have thrilling adventures and make daring rescues on the harbor. The books, written by author J.W. Noble for his son, also contain subtle parent/child messages."

To celebrate the launch of the Fergus Ferry apps, Fergus has a great Christmas present for all his friends and their families - for a limited time from now to January 31st 2014, the iPad and iPhone versions of the app will be free (an $89 value) and the Android versions will be just 99 cents.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, the ebook versions of the stories will also be available for no charge for the same time to download from Amazon, iBooks or Barnes & Noble.

In addition to getting the free iPhone app or ebooks, you can also enter a drawing for a complete paper back print set of the Fergus Ferry books.

The Fergus Ferry app is available now both in the iTunes store for Apple devices like the iPad and iPhone or the Google Play Store for Android devices. More information on the app and the Fergus Ferry stories, teacher notes and even more fun games and puzzles can be found at Get the full version of the app, an $89 value for no cost here:

If you wish to enter the random drawing for the paper back print set, just use the comments section at the bottom of this post anytime during the month of January.  Please include your name and email contact info. If chosen as the random winner, I will contact you and arrange delivery of your books on Feb 1, 2014.