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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Human Development Class...

This is the last day of school before Spring Break and the end of my long term assignment in 6th grade. I'm in the teachers' lounge having lunch when three female teachers arrive in deep conversation about who will be doing the "Human Development" class for all of 6th grade.

Uh Oh!!

"I can take half the girls if can you take the other for the video portion. Who is doing the boys' video? Well, Mr. S said he's done it before and he's willing."


"What about the other section of boys? Mr. M is the only other male teacher who usually handles it but he's got a sub for the rest of the month"

Uh Oh!!

...AND that is how I found myself in a crowded classroom of about 50 boys with instructions to show the video and answer any anonymously written follow-up questions in the time remaining.

The reaction is what you might expect from immature males upon seeing diagrams of their "male junk" at different ages. Lots of embarrassed, riotous noise. 

"We don't need to see THAT!"

At the conclusion of the video, I thought I was going to escape the Q/A session as no one wanted to be the first to turn in an anonymously written question.

But...first one, then another and eventually a flood of single sentence questions filtered through the ranks to arrive at the front. Some questions seemed reasonably curious while others weren't.

Because of the rowdy atmosphere, I did not get to answer more than a few questions because of time constraints. That might have been a good thing.

Samples of some of the more reasonable Q's:

Why do boys have body odor?
Where are all the places sweat can come out of?
How many times do you have to use deodorant a day?
What else happens to boys?
What will puberty feel like?
Does your penis grow overnight?
What's a wet dream?
Is there a specific age boys go through puberty?
I have heard this thing about circumcision. What is that?

--and the most common question--

When can I see the girl puberty video?

The overall video content was very weak on actual information, not nearly as good as this one from 1955 and answered that last kids' question pretty wel...

Thanks to Joanne for the find!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why I Don't Like Long Term Subbing...

Tomorrow is the last day of a long-term assignment I really didn't want.

The district office called on Tuesday afternoon two weeks ago....

"...We wanted to ask if you are available to work a two and a half week, long-term, 6th grade assignment at xyz school starting Wed April/2 up to the start of Spring Break".

Now, the best way to preview a possible career in teaching is to take as many long-term substituting assignments as possible.

It's a great way to get a feel for and demonstrate your abilities to others that you can handle the stress of classroom management and the planning work load involved. It's also a great way to gage what grade levels you are comfortable with and even some of the schools in which you might be working.

I am not looking for in a career in teaching. Subbing is strictly a part-time job for me.

I can handle anything for a single day. I can execute the teacher's pre-written lesson plan. I can collect the daily work and leave a daily summary for the teacher to let him/her know what I did/did not complete.

Since I was not available for the 2nd and 3rd day of this assignment ( I was previously booked at another school)  I told them I couldn't take the assignment thinking that would dissuade the offer right there.

I assumed, given those conditions, they would pass and get someone more qualified and able to provide the consistency and continuity one instructor for the full term would provide.

That didn't happen. They would get a sub for the two days I wasn't available and put me in for the rest.

First day was a disaster. The "students" were off the wall and out of control and not in any mood for actual class work. This is supposed to be one of the three top schools in the district, but this particular class is not helping that reputation.

Add to that, the detailed daily lesson plan for the entire two weeks was anything but:

Roll call
Clean up
- repeat-

The socializing and students wandering the room is constant. My attempts to DO the 3R's lesson plan wasn't working.  I first had to locate just where they were in each subject before I could assign anything. Even a visit from the principal had little effect after she left the room.

I was already dreading the next two weeks, but at least I had tomorrow and Friday to be somewhere else before I had to return on Monday.

Monday morning arrives all too soon. The automated subbing system is calling at 05:30am to offer me a job in a Kinder class at a different school. That's very peculiar.  I thought my schedule was set for the next two weeks. The system shouldn't be calling to offer any conflicting assignments.

Sure enough, when I logged in to check my schedule, there were no pending assignments listed. After that first class on Wed, I felt a little relieved to think I was "released".

I did what any reasonable person would do at 05:30am with nothing urgent to get up for....I went back to bed.

It's close to 09:30am and the school is calling to see why I hadn't shown up for my assignment.  I explained I checked and wasn't on the schedule. I explained that I took that to mean they had cancelled it. It's happened before.

They double checked, and saw that the person responsible neglected to enter my two week assignment. They asked if I could still make it in today.

I had to turn them down as I had already made alternate plans for the day. They said they would call for someone else to work today and re-assured me that I WOULD be on the schedule for the rest of the assignment.

(...I found out later that "my" class was stranded that morning waiting on the back playground for about 30min before someone noticed and notified the front office)

Friday, April 04, 2014

Sub Catcher...

No, not the Navy anti-submarine kind, but the substitute teacher assignment kind.

It's been a while since the school district I work switched automated substitute calling systems but I do remember the frustration of "telephone only access" systems like SubFinder and SmartFindExpress.

I received the following email from Tom asking if I would evaluate a new SmartPhone app that will auto search available jobs from schools using the "SubFinder Substitute Assignment System".

From an email contact:...

I'm a long time software engineer with friends that substitute teach.  I was appalled at the process they had to use with SubFinder to obtain work.  There are other 3rd party notification applications out there but our application takes it one step further.

In a nutshell this application will auto accept jobs for them based on a custom set of rules they enter into the application then send them a text message.

The free app will search your district website for available jobs based on your preferences of grade level, school location, days of the week, even teacher preference etc. and notify you of an available assignments.

For an additional onetime fee, you can also enable an auto-accept feature saving you the time of logging on to SubFinder to do it manually.

Since the district I work for uses a different system, I'm not in a position to evaluate this app appropriately.

If your school district DOES USE the SubFinder substitute teacher system and you want to test drive this app to see how you like it. Please do and, if so inclined, report some feedback here in the comments section.

Additionally, for the first five users wishing to try out the auto-accept feature, use the following:
Registration Code: RDDJSFUPSY