Monday, October 20, 2014

The Long Walk

10th grade world history. They had a worksheet on the Revolutions of 1848. (Should that be capitalized? I'm not sure.) It was one of those fairly easy days where the kiddos did their work (mostly) and all I had to do was to pass out worksheets and collect worksheets.

Well, except for the restroom passes...

(I swear, I'm not trying to turn this blog into the restroom pass chronicles. But it seems like this is the big issue with the kiddos currently.)

As I've mentioned before, I have my own restroom pass policy. Ms. B actually took the time to write hers down, so I made sure we followed it. The students get timed. The students then owe Ms. B double the time they took after class. So, if a student is gone 3 minutes (the average for the day), the student owes Ms. B 6 minutes after school. Simple enough.

6th period a girl asked to go. No problem. A bit later, a boy asked to go. The girl hadn't returned. That's when I noticed she'd been gone a long time. I checked the timer. 12 minutes. Yikes.

Eventually she did return. After being gone 22 minutes.

I told her to write down 44 minutes. She looked at me questioningly. I explained that she owed double the time she took, and I even showed her the timer to prove that she was gone that long.

A bit later I heard her complaining to her neighbor. About how if Ms. B got upset with her...

Um, okay...

Because it's Ms. B's fault that the girl roamed campus for 22 minutes?

(The girl said something about a broken bra strap, so it could all be innocent.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Senior Superlatives

It was Friday in the senior government class. They had an assignment, but most ignored it in favor of the other things I passed out to them.

First, they were to write their senior quote. They get to pick a quote that goes along with their picture in the yearbook. They were limited to 125 characters.

Then, they got to vote for the senior superlatives. You know what I'm talking about. They used to have "most likely to succeed". Nowadays, they have things like "class clown", "best hair", "most likely to return as a teacher", etc.

Helpfully, they included a list of every senior on the page. But this didn't help the group.

In 5th period, one of the students came up to the board to put up "suggestions" for the class. Decided by her and her group of friends. The other seniors mostly ignored her, although she was open to their suggestions as well.

I warned her that she was making a case for "most likely to return as a teacher". She didn't like that. She wants to be a teacher, but not at this school. (She might have mentioned elementary school.)

At some point she got done and went back to her seat. But a bit later she rushed to the board. There was one name she just had to add.

A boy chased after her. He absolutely, positively did not want her to put his name up.

What did he not want to be remembered as?

Most likely to become a millionaire.

Really? He did not want to have this in front of his name?

After a bit of back and forth, I had to step in. If the boy didn't want to be "most likely to become a millionaire", then the girl had to back off and not put his name up. And eventually she relented.

No, I did not ask why not. I should have. I know that. Now.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Different Phone Systems

It's that time of year again. Blog Action Day...

Download me and add me to your Blog Action Day post. Please make sure you link back to Blog Action Day

And I've been scrambling about what to write. Some years the topic is easier than others. This year is not an easy year for me. So, apologies in advance...

There are a couple different high schools I sub at. One is in a slightly better part of town than the other. Neither are in "dangerous" neighborhoods, but one has a slightly more "ethnic" population. When the students at either school ask where I prefer to go, I answer that it doesn't matter. What matters is the teacher I'm covering.

(Or, I'll say I prefer the continuation high school. To mess with their minds. And because it's true. If I have to choose solely on school. Because the teacher I cover makes all the difference, really.)

A couple years ago, school A got a new phone system. And these phones are cool. They have caller ID, so I can tell if it's the attendance office calling (because they need a student) or the secretary (because she wants me to cover an extra period). There's even a nice button where I can send the call directly to voicemail (which I'd only do if the call is from the outside, like from a parent. Parents don't want to talk to the sub).

School B--still on the old system.

Just this year, school B got new phones. Which means that they're now on the same system. So, if I want to call the district office from either school, I can dial directly. (I wasn't able to do that from school B until they got the new phones.)

But there's a difference. School B's phones don't have the caller ID. And the teachers have told me that they're not sure how the things work. (I clued them in to some features that teachers at school A told me about.)

Teachers at school B said they're treated differently than school A. So, how they finally got the new phones wasn't a surprise. Or that they got them so much later than school A.

Why would the district treat the schools so differently? 

Remember how I said one school was in a slightly better part of town. Yeah, that's school B.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Picture Fail

Ages ago (I just checked. It was February) I talked about selling some lacy fingerless gloves just as soon as I got some pictures of them. And, well, I'm still working on it.

I got some pictures taken, but there was an issue...

Wouldn't you think I'd've noticed the pronounced shadows when I took the pictures?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Special Day?

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements.

I was on Twitter the other day, and I saw this tweet:
And being the contrarian I sometimes am, I thought, "Yeah, but..."

What if someone changed the calendar?

Because, you know, it could be better. More logical. More streamlined. The only thing that keeps us using it is habit, really.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola and the Staring Contest

Sophomore English. 6th period.

The bell rang, and one student complained that another was in his seat. I told the other to move. He (the other) then roamed about, looking for a place to settle.

Bad sign. This was a boy I was going to have to watch. I didn't have a seating chart, or I would have "helped" him find his seat. Usually, the other students can clue him in, but this time, whenever he'd try to settle, the other students told him he didn't sit there.

He had to sit somewhere.

"Go away, Ebola, we don't want you here."


On the one hand, it was a very clever nickname. He was the sort of student I spend a period battling. Not doing any work. Roaming the classroom. Talking out of turn. (Luckily, this was not a silent working day, so I didn't have that battle.) This is the student that makes it into my note if I don't end up kicking him out.

On the other hand, now this student has been singled out by the rest of the class. I can't let any student be picked on. Not even him.


E found a seat at the front of the room. And while the two girls sitting nearby weren't pleased, they still managed to find topics of conversation that included him. E wasn't being picked on, so I could move on to other things. After standing over him until he got out paper and pencil.

I was elsewhere when I heard him ask the boy seated next to him for his name. Which he wouldn't give. And then they got into a staring contest.

Why? I have no idea.

The boy wouldn't give up his name. And E wanted it. He said that he needed to talk to every student in the class.

(Someone asked why E wasn't this animated in 1st period. E explained that in 1st period he was still asleep. Oh, to have had him in 1st period...)

Then they started the staring contest. And E got adamant about getting the other boy to interact with him.

Time for me to intervene...

The other boy (I checked the roll--his name was Ethan) was staring at E. And not moving. At all.

Now I was freaked out.

Was he having a seizure? Whatever was happening, it was time to distract E and the two girls. One of the girls noted that Ethan had a fly on him, and that's when Ethan swatted the fly away.


One of the girls asked around for white-out (she was actually doing the assignment). Ethan went into his stuff and got some for her. And then when he handed it to her, he froze again. Which freaked everybody out.

Ethan--freaking everybody out on purpose or dealing with some condition or other? It wasn't my place to ask.

E didn't do any work. And the others were still calling him Ebola.

Sometimes, I just have to leave it all in my note.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Names They Choose

12th grade English class. They had a guest speaker. The Marine Staff Sergeant had presented to many of the same students before, so he divided the class into two teams--the group that had heard him speak and the group that hadn't.

He made it into a game. He asked questions that anyone who had heard him speak before would have known the answer to. If they had been paying attention. Because of this, he gave the group who hadn't heard him speak first shot at answers.

The two teams ended up tying.

But that's not why I mention this.

He had the teams name themselves. Team heard-him-speak-before: White Lightning and Black Thunder. The team that hadn't: Ebola Gang.

Where do they come up with these things?