Friday, September 23, 2016

Heard it Before

"It's the pipes. They need to fix the plumbing."

I had no idea what the boy was talking about. I was busy getting class started. They had a warm up. I was taking roll. Then I was going over what we were going to be doing for the period. Pipes? I hadn't heard anything.

Then I heard it. And I immediately knew what it was...

Really? This old chestnut? And I'm supposed to not know what that sound is? I know exactly what that sound is. 

I can't tell you how often some kid tries this. 

I wish I could tell you I had some great line to shut this down. I don't. I looked at the kid who gave me the excuse and told him to stop it. 

"It isn't me." 

Sure it's not. I hadn't even heard the ringing until he brought it up. 

He protested his innocence, even showing me that his fingers were dry. 

But funnily enough, that was the last I heard the tell-tale ringing. 

This is the point where I'd shake my head and say something about immature freshmen. Except these were sophomores. In name only, I suspect.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

False Alarm

It was Monday morning. I had gotten this particular assignment more than a week ago. She's a teacher I've subbed for many, many times, so I wasn't anticipating too much when I walked into the office.

I got the usual question. When I said I was in for Ms. M, I got perplexed looks. "But the field trip is Thursday."

It used to be a regular occurrence. I'd show up to a school only to be told that the teacher wasn't out. Or worse, I'd go to the classroom and the teacher would be there, no absence planned. But that hasn't happened for a while now. It hasn't happened in a good, long while. (We're talking a few years.)

They checked the teacher's mailbox. Sure enough, she had left lesson plans.

And that's when one of the administrators joined the conversation. She had talked to the teacher on Friday, and this teacher's absence on Monday had come up.

So, I was in the right place. Whew.

Geez, guys! Don't scare me like that.

(The teacher was out on that field trip on Thursday, too. Which I also covered. And considering this is the most interesting thing I have to write about those two days tells you how much trouble I had with them.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

An Old Sci-Fi Standby

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 ;)

Through the ages, science fiction has shown some different types of family dynamics. One that's fairly common is the one where children are raised in a sort of factory system, not within a family unit. Many times, these children were not born to parents per se.

The thought that flitted through my brain, though, did not start with factory-born children. In this case, they were born the traditional way. And they weren't taken to some sort of institution, either. It was more sort of a wide-spread adoption requirement.

This is a long explanation for a very short question:

What if we didn't raise our own children? 

It's a weird thought. A weird question. But the underlying question is: why is our society structured the way it is?

Monday, September 19, 2016


I've got mermaid tails on the brain. I have no idea if I'll get around to knitting one, but I have a plan all mapped out. It involves the stitch pattern that's currently the background on the blog. I'll keep you updated...

The mask. It's almost done...

It needs to be blocked, starched, and the ribbons to keep it on need to be attached. Looking at the picture, I realize the eyes are too far apart. I could not tell this by trying it on. I can see just fine through it.

Ah well. My curiosity is sated. Although, I kind of want to make one in orange...

Friday, September 16, 2016


Health class. Sixth period. It was the beginning of the period, so I was explaining the assignment. As I was doing so, I looked over as one student folded a paper airplane. And threw it.



Somehow, I managed to let him know that wasn't appropriate. I finished my instructions and let them get to work.

The boy didn't do a whole heck of a lot. Neither did most of his table. This wasn't especially note-worthy as it would be easily apparent to the teacher that those boys turned little to nothing in. (The previous day they had blatantly disregarded the "answer in complete sentences" instruction. I have a feeling I was looking at the F-table.)

And besides, I was kind of busy with Asia.

At the end of class, I held him, Asia, and a couple other students back because they failed to comply with my "be seated" instruction. I gave them a stern 30-second talking to, and then I released them.

The boy hovered for a moment.

"Are you going to put my name in the note?"

Me: "Of course."

Thanks for reminding me, kid. (Since Asia sucked all the air from the room, I had forgotten all about it.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Doing Battle

"I wish Mr. W was our sub..."

I don't think Asia got the reaction from me she expected. She meant to insult me. Impune my abilities as a sub. Let me know I wasn't liked.

But what I heard was a validation. Instead of letting her do whatever she liked, I was enforcing the rules. Sorry, Mr. W, but I don't think you were a very effective sub.

(This may or may not be true. In a moment of such blatant insult, that's what I need to believe.)

What I said was, "Since I'm angering you so, perhaps you'd rather work outside..."

Which she did. For a time.

The next day, Asia was incensed. I was giving her attitude. Rolling my eyes. Giving her looks. All because was upset with her.

(I kind of wanted to explain projection to her, but everything I said started another rant, and at that point I was trying to shut the whole thing down.)

What set all of this off? The assignment was for them to read a chapter silently. Now, to me, "silently" means absolutely no talking. And that's what I enforced.

To Asia, "silently" meant she could discuss things with her friend, make a pretense at doing the assignment, and my insisting she not talk was completely unreasonable.

Deep sigh. Freshmen. *shakes head*

(She informed me that she was going to report me. For being unreasonable, I guess. I'll let you know if I get in trouble.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


The class was Intro to Health Careers. I've covered it before. Although, not so early in the school year.

Normally, they'd be working on modules, but due to an unexpected and harsh cold (it laid her flat for a week plus), the teacher had not had a chance to get them started. So, the assignments were a bit different than what I'd expect.

This particular day (I covered the class for three days) they were posed two questions. How do vaccines work? Do vaccines cause autism? To find the answer, they were to search online. Then they were to write up their answers, with at least a paragraph of explanation per question.

Fifth period. While every other student jumped on Google, Samantha immediately opened a Word doc and started typing.

Eventually, she filled a page. Curious, I ambled over and asked the obvious question. "Already know the answer?"

"Yes," she said. "I got into a rant, though. I'm not sure if that's allowed."

So, I read what she wrote. To "check".

Her description was well written. She compared how vaccines work to athletic training or dance classes. It was clear she understood the underlying mechanisms. The rant was saved for question number two.

As far as rants go, hers was rather tame. She mentioned a Reddit post, ignorance, and previously rare diseases becoming more prevalent. I didn't think she'd gone too far, especially considering that the teacher had pretty much asked them to take sides in this.

It's heartening to see well-informed students. It isn't as rare as it may seem from this blog. (The well-behaved and intelligent students rarely make appearances here, mostly because the other students are funnier to write about.)