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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Break In...

I arrived this morning for my half day assignment in 4th grade to find the office staff and teachers all talking about the break-in last night.

It seems that a team of a**holes broke into one of the schools' four classroom pods by throwing chunks of concrete and boulders through the access door window. They then used the same rocks to bust out all four of the classroom door windows.

They cleaned out all the teacher and student laptops & iPads they could carry within the 15min response time before security arrived on scene. They even left a nasty-gram on one of the teachers' desks indicating that they "will be back".

I assume that the school will be looking into installing security cameras in the near future.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Push Me, Pull You...

The first couple of days after we got back from vacation, I took myself off the sub list because I just wasn't ready to go back. The long plane flights, unpacking, answering mail, getting caught up with the bills and, in reality, I just didn't feel like jumping back in a classroom quite yet.

I did check the sub line just to see what was available a few times. It was with one of those random checks that eventually displayed a plum assignment at a school less than 5 minutes drive. It was for a teacher that I know well, and is very organized. Her class is a well-behaved 6th grade class. I saw that as the sign to get back to work.

The office staff welcomed me back from my "extended spring break" saying they missed me. I met the teacher in her classroom as she finished prepping my lesson plan for the day. She was going to be at the school doing something related to the new "common core" orientation stuff with some of the other grade level teachers. If I had any problems, she was only a phone call away.

As we were going over the plan together, the front office called with a message for me to call the substitute teacher coordinator at the district office as soon as possible. I am already at my daily assignment so I could not comprehend what they could possibly want.

As it turned out, there were more teachers out that day than the number of subs available to fill all the vacancies in the district. Since the teacher I was supposed to work for today was actually there today, the district canceled my assignment.

I was re-assigned to teach middle school math where I had not worked since the double assignment debacle two years ago. Maybe I'm finally out of the doghouse with these guys.

Middle school works more like H.S. in terms of classes. The school day is broken into six, one-hour periods. The students have 50mins instruction allowing 10min to transit to their next class.

Teachers work only five of those instructional periods during the day.  The sixth is designated a "planning period" where the teacher can process any daily district paperwork, email, grading, planning, etc.

For the substitute teacher, it's usually a free 50min break unless the teacher has specified something to do.
By the time I drove down and checked in at the middle school, first period had only 15 minutes left. The students were standing outside the classroom quad with an AP (assistant principal) waiting for someone to show up. By the time we got everyone in the classroom and I had a chance to go over the lesson plan, there were only ten minutes left before the students had to leave for their next class.

Periods 2 & 3 went smoothly as the teacher had them working on pre-assigned projects. Period 4 was designated her planning period to be immediately followed by lunch.

I dutifully locked the classroom door and headed for the teachers' lounge for what I thought would be an extended lunch.

No such luck.

I'm in the teachers' lounge contemplating which overpriced soda I wanted to drink when the school wide PA system is paging me to contact the school office immediately! Since the office is only down the hall, I walk down to see what they want.

What they "want" is for me spend my "planning period" to cover one period of art before returning to my math assignment. This would free up the AP that was tagged to substitute for art today when no other subs were available.

It wasn't a request.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Away without leave (AWOL) does not really apply to substitute teachers. The school district does not guarantee work when we want it and we do not guarantee that we are always available when needed.

The plan was to do a beach getaway somewhere new during Spring Break. Unfortunately lots of other people had the same idea and the airline fares seemed to reflect the "more demand" side of the price scale.

Therefore, we went the week after spring break leaving the school district one sub short. 

Here are some of our pictures from Hol Chan Reef Resort & Villas Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Very few cars on the island. Main mode of transport is golf cart & ATV's

Palm tree shade artistry

Trying out our kayak skills?

Yes you really can SWIM with the sharks (nurse sharks)

Iguanas are numerous all over the island. His larger cousin, the crocodile likes the mangrove swamp better.


Not threating at all