Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ditching to PE

It was Friday at the continuation high school. Fridays are even more laid back than the rest of the week. The students expect to do little to nothing...

(Well, many of the students do little to nothing on a regular basis. It's how they ended up at the continuation high school in the first place. If they were more academically inclined, they wouldn't be in the position of making up the credits that they should have gotten in classes they already took.)

Basically, most of the teachers reserve Fridays as the makeup day. That is, the students have the day to finish any work they didn't complete during the week. But, of course, when there's a sub, they all claim to have finished the assignments.

So, it was 4th period, and one of the other classes on campus that period is PE. (I was covering the science class.) Mr. K lets students join his PE class on Fridays sometimes, so when a couple students asked if they could join his class, I said they could. Provided that Mr. K didn't mind them being there.

Five minutes later, Mr. K returned the students to class. Well, that's pretty clear to me. They weren't welcome. So, I told them to stay in class, and I passed out their extra credit assignment.

But three boys weren't having it.

"I've got my counselor..."

And he left before I could tell him no. Because that ploy wasn't very obvious.

I went through and did a head count against my roll call. I was missing three students. Sure enough, they had somehow gone back to PE...

Really? They don't think I'll notice?

(Although, if I had managed to keep them in class, they probably would have spent the period being difficult. That's what usually happens.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Communication Via Feeling

It's Tuesday, so it's time for my weekly random question...

This is one of those I-really-need-a-what-if-this-week questions. But even after struggling to come up with something, I rather like it...

What if we were all telepathic? If we could sense each other's innermost thoughts and feelings, would we ever have developed language? How different would our sense of each other and understanding of our world be?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Ballad of Mike and Ricky

For #ThrowbackThursday, I'm offering a post of a day I thankfully don't recall. I don't recall anything about this day or these two. I'm glad of that. This post first appeared on May 21, 2010.

(not their real names--their real names are much more distinctive)

Freshman English. 5th period. The other classes warned me about them, so I was sort of prepared.

It was near the beginning of the period when Mike first accosted me. He wanted me to sign his grade check. Never mind that it wasn't Thursday (the normal day for grade checks). He had written in a C+ as his grade. I explained that since I didn't have access to his grades I wasn't going to sign.

Mike wouldn't take no for an answer. I told him I would sign, but only if we changed his grade to N/A (not available), or he could wait until Monday. I noticed that no other teacher had signed this grade check, yet Mike insisted that he needed it for football. Finally, he relented, but I could tell that he was not pleased.

I tried to get on with the lesson plan, but period 5 was not cooperating. Ricky was "helping" by correcting the sentence of the day on the board. After he erased the corrections. Then he erased the clean board. And again.

I told Ricky to stop. It was time to sit down. Ricky informed me that Ricky wasn't his name; his name was John. This might have been plausible if (1) there had been a John on the class roll, and (2) I didn't know him from last year.

"Ricky, I mean 'John', it's time to sit down." (I managed to convey the quotes around John in my tone.) I continued to call him "Ricky, I mean 'John'" for the rest of the period.

Then Mike got into the game. He claimed his name was Pedro. He explained that while he might have looked black, he was half Mexican (and half Chinese and half white and half something else--it went on and on). I replied that he couldn't be all those halves, but that point was lost on him.

Pedro was actually the boy who sat behind him. I don't know why Pedro let Mike use his name without protest. He must have seen that I didn't believe Mike. I knew Mike from last year, so the name change wasn't flying.

It was a very long period. I won't even mention the disaster of a spelling test.

At the end of the day as I was packing up, something made me check the grades posted on the wall. (I knew they were there for Mike; I didn't feel like checking up on him for his grade check.) I found Mike's student number (on the roll sheet). Low and behold, Mike had a 67%. C+? I don't think so.

I made sure to note that in my note to the teacher even though I had written quite a lot about Mike (and Ricky) already.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Challenge?

Another August Thursday at the continuation high school...

Considering the issues I had with this group just two weeks ago (on this day, this day, and this day), I was expecting more fodder for the blog. Nope. They did their work (mostly), and I needed to find ways to fill my day.

The teacher's desk was piled with worksheets. The students kind of work at their own pace, so at any given time, there can be as many as five different assignments out with them. And they were all stacked in one pile.

I noticed that a few had been paper clipped together into like assignments, so I decided my task for the day would be to finish sorting the rest.

Fourth period came in. I gave my usual speech, took roll, made sure everyone had something to work on, and then I went back to the sorting of the worksheets. I hadn't been at it two minutes when something made me look over at the class.

Two boys were on the floor doing push ups.


I didn't even say anything I was so stunned. The look I gave them must have conveyed this, as they stopped the exercise immediately. They said something about "a challenge" and then went back to their desks.

And the craziest part--the rest of the class sat back and calmly watched the show.

Well, that had to go in the note. I couldn't not share that with Mr. H.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Juan was in that class. He had his backpack on. I guess he won his battle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

False Surroundings

It's Tuesday, so it's time for my weekly random question...

I saw this article last week in io9 about a real brain condition that makes people think they've woken up in a duplicate world. And I thought it was perfect for my question of the week.

What if you did wake up in an alternate world? What would you do?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Crosswalk Stalker

It's #ThrowbackThursday or my repost day. This post originally appeared on January 27, 2010.

It was 3rd period. Biology. I was walking the room, making sure the kiddos were on task.

Basically, I look at each student's desk. I make sure that the book is open and paper is out. If they appear to be working, then I pass by with no comment. If a student is not working, I stop to ask.

I had just about completed my circuit of the room. I asked the last pair of girls if they were going to do any work today (with the implication that their answer should be yes). I waited as the girls looked for books and paper. I was hovering.

"Thank you for bringing this up," one girl said.


The one girl was talking to the other girl, pretty much ignoring me (although my hovering was what prompted the thought): "I feel like those crosswalk guys, you know..."

"Crossing guards?" I offered.

"Yeah, them," she continued, still talking to the other girl. "I feel like crossing guards are my personal stalkers."

Girl 2: "They follow you home?"

Girl 1: "No, but they follow me across the street."

Girl 2: "Not all the way."

Girl 1: "Sometimes they cross all the way."

Girl 2: "They're there to help you."

Girl 1: "But they creep me out..."

I walked away at this point. I was offering nothing to the conversation. And I didn't want to laugh out loud at girl 1. I thought that might be rude.

Sometimes, the stuff that they say...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Liebster Award

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by Charity. I'm going to cheat a bit and pull the explanation from her blog...

The Liebster Award exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. It pays tribute to new blogs, or blogs with a follower count of less than 1,000–including Twitter. The word “liebster” is German in origin and has several definitions, including but not limited to: dearest, sweetest, kindest, pleasant, endearing, lovely, cute, nicest, valued and welcome.

The rules:
  1. Link back to the blog that nominated you. (See above.)
  2. Answer questions that your nominator has set for you.
  3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-11 blogs that have less than 1,000 followers to receive this award. (Remember, this includes Twitter.)
  5. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  6. Contact your nominees and let them know you have nominated them.
The questions:
  1. What's your favorite season of the year?
    • Probably the fall. After the final gasp of heat, sometime in November, when it finally gets cool.
  2. Would you rather know when and where you will die or keep it a secret?
    • If I knew when and where, I'd be a basket case just waiting for it to happen. So, I'd rather not know.
  3. What's your biggest pet peeve?
    • At the moment, I'd say people who block traffic. Like at the grocery store. They somehow get in front of me and slow down, so I can't get around them. No "sorry". No acknowledgement that I'm even there, trying to get past them. 
  4. What do you think is your greatest strength?
    • This is a really, really bad time to ask me this. I'll have to revisit this when I don't feel so...I don't know...
  5. Your greatest weakness?
    • See #4.
  6. When you get in the reading mood, do you look for books by genre or author?
    • Depends. Sometimes I just want to read a Terry Pratchett book. Sometimes I just need a trashy romance.
  7. Do you still own a camera? Or do you rely solely on your smart phone?
    • I still have a digital camera that I use for my Etsy shop. I probably should upgrade it, however.
  8. What is your greatest possession?
    • Funny. At the moment I'm packing, and most of my possessions I'm looking at and going, "Do I really need to keep this?" Maybe my knitting needles. The tools that keep me making things.
  9. Chocolate or Vanilla?
    • Chocolate
  10. What's your favorite childhood memory?
    • Favorite? Well, let me go with the one that just popped into my head. When I was in the 6th grade, I learned to play tetherball. I was awful when I started. So, I practiced. Played myself. And eventually got so good that the better players were happy to see me in line to challenge them. "Oh good, a challenge," they'd say. And sometimes I'd even beat them.
  11. What drives you to keep pushing forward when exhaustion or insecurities strike?
    • I don't know. At the moment I'm plagued by insecurities and it's exhausting me. I'm barely hanging on...
11 Random Facts:
  1. Those questions hit a few nerves. I went and took some Rescue Calm. I should feel better in a moment...
  2. Yeah, I've got nothing. It's been one of those summers. I'm not one to whine all over the blog, and all I want to do at the moment is whine. There's got to be something...
  3. If any authors would like to promote their books on Unicorn Bell, my week is coming up (August 18-22). I have four days open. Just hit me up (unicornbellsubmissions [at] gmail [dot] com and put "book tour" in the subject or if your email is enabled on your comments, we can go from there).
  4. That's also the week I'm moving, so make sure to get in touch with me early so I can get everything set up before I go offline for the move.
  5. The move is part of the reason why I'm prone to whining. So, enough about that...
  6. I'm actually fond of the number 11. The digits of my birthday add up to 11. (7 + 3 + 1).
  7. I set my alarm clock so the digits of the time I wake also add up to 11 (for example 6:32 AM).
  8. Yes, I know it's crazy. But why must we set alarm clocks for 6:00 or 6:30?
  9. The pillow props from my contest have all arrived at their destinations. It only took me a week to knit them, and about a day to three days for them to arrive. I hope the winners are all enjoying them.
  10. At the moment I'm busily making lacy fingerless gloves. I hope to have them in the shop this fall.
  11. I really should go and make dinner now. It's been about a day since I ate last.
Then, finally, I am to create 11 questions for my nominees to answer. But I'm not doing nominees today. Maybe next week. (This post is way too long already.)

So, thanks Charity. And to everyone else, what questions should I ask my nominees next week? Would you like to be nominated?