Friday, February 3, 2023


Friday. The continuation high school. Technically, the class was woodshop, but due to safety concerns, we were in the teacher's other classroom where he teaches graphic arts. 

I don't know why the topic of prom came up other than they do start talking about it as early as October. 

Cole: "Are they going to have a DJ?"

Wanda: "Yes. Me. I'm going to DJ prom."

Cole: "Oh, well, then I'm not going..."

And the rest of the class erupted in laughter. 

Deep sigh. 

Cole: "There'll be like eleven, twelve people there..."

Yeah, I don't think so. 

Prom is popular. If it wasn't, they would have stopped having it by now. There'll be a crowd. And the way Wanda talked, it sounds like she's a professional DJ. I'm sure she knows what she's doing.

Kids are cruel. And I imagine Cole will be eating his words.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Spanish Week

I tend to avoid covering Spanish classes. I took French. But sometimes I don't have much of a choice.

January tends to be a slow month, subbing wise. Last week, I had prescheduled assignments for Monday and Friday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday's assignments only popped up in the evening the night before. These assignments came so late that I was figuring I might not work those days. (Although, there was still the possibility that I'd get something in the middle of the night.) 

This is why I took the Spanish classes. Two different classes. Two different schools. Two days in a row.

(I have covered both teachers in the past. Tuesday's. Wednesday's.) 

Sometimes, I go through themes. I may hit a bunch of tenth grade classes. I might get a cluster of days at the continuation high school. I might go on an English bender. 

Because both teachers called out last minute, they hadn't prepared the usual detailed lesson plans. All they left in the scheduling app was a brief, "The work is in Google Classroom," message.

That's generally sufficient. The students know how to log in as they normally have assignments there. While I don't know what they're doing specifically, if the class is trustworthy enough, they'll get the work done without my hovering over them. 

And, for the most part, things went well. One class needed textbooks, which they got up and got off the bookshelves. One class had to take a Scantron "test", and they told me where those forms were located. 

But then there was fourth period on the first Spanish day. I told them their assignment was in Google Classroom...

"We don't have a Google Classroom..." 


We are in the third week of the second semester. The teachers created a new class in Google Classroom for the spring semester, closing down the fall semester Google Classroom. 

I would have doubted the kiddos were telling the truth, but this was a Spanish 5 class, which is also AP and filled with seniors. They had no reason to lie. 

I mean, I can see how the teacher might have not gotten around to creating a new Google Classroom for them. 

I asked if the teacher had any other way of communicating with them. I wondered if she had created a Google Classroom knowing she'd be out. (They checked. They didn't have a new one pop up.) 

So, what to do with a class with no lesson plans? 

This was the sort of class populated with academically-minded kiddos. So, I told them they had the period to complete any work they needed to complete for any other classes. This does not work in a middle school class or a core class filled with the general school population. They take it as "free time" and play. But AP classes actually make use of the time.

I saw one student pull out a calculator. A couple of them were clearly working on some project, probably social studies. A couple of them pulled out books to read. 

A couple of them played games on their phones, but the majority actually used the time to do other work. 

Not ideal, but there was no way I was going to figure out something else for them to do on such short notice in a subject I know very little about.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Two Scenes from Math Class

Monday. Ninth grade math. (It's kind of a combo of algebra and geometry.) I had covered the class the prior Thursday and Friday, so I kind of knew what I was in for. 

Actually, I kind of knew what I was in for before I took the assignment, and that was confirmed when I saw the class rosters. I recognized many names from success seminar in October

I just can't narrow it down, so I've got two stories for you.

It was getting towards the end of the first class of the day. I had offered to help them with the assignment. (They were graphing exponential functions.) No takers. 

Then, one boy: "Will you give me the answers if I pay you one dollar?"

I expressed how insulted I was at that price. So, they raised it, first to five dollars, and then to ten. I explained that they would be buying my expertise, and I took all the math in college. (Well, not all the math. I wasn't a math major. But I took the basic calculus sequence, and I ruined the curve in a senior level math class.) 

I wasn't about to give them answers. "I will help you do it, though." 

"How much do you want for that?" 

Me: "That is what the school is paying me to be here to do. I will help you for free." 

Alas, we had less than ten minutes of class, so I only got to help one boy with one problem. If only they had asked sooner...

In the next period, I had two girls who I remembered well from success seminar. Not in a good way.

They took seats in the corner, and while there was a lot of giggling, at least it was fairly quiet giggling. (The room was nearly silent, which surprised me.) 

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied them pulling something out of a backpack. I got up to investigate.

Marta dropped the item immediately. It made a big clunk. 

I only caught a glimpse, but it appeared to be a flat iron. You know, for hair? (It could have been a curling iron, but it was a bit bulkier than that.) 

Marta was standing, so she quickly plugged the thing into the wall. (I should mention that the room was carpeted.)

I told her to unplug the thing. She hesitated, but did. I told her to put it away. She said she would, but made no move to do so.

So, I hovered. I wasn't right next to her, but I was in the front of the room in front of her and Kristen. 

Eventually, Marta sat back down in her seat. I took that as my cue to go back to my station. I kept an eye on them. I never saw them put away the flat iron, but they didn't start doing each other's hair, so that was a win.

(I have seen girls do their own or each other's hair in class before, but never before with an appliance. I mean, I don't allow it, but sometimes they do not listen and do what they want to do anyway.)

I thought if I wrote both stories out I'd figure out which one I'd post. I still can't decide, so I'll leave them both for you. I was really glad to see the end of that day. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Awake for the Journey

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements 😉 

I have not done a whole lot of really speculative, sci-fi questions as of late. So, let's change that.

In a certain subset of sci-fi, there's an idea of colonizing other worlds. But those worlds are far away, so the humans are put to sleep for the trip. The idea is that on the other end, the people will wake up without having aged. But...

What if cryogenic sleep doesn't work? What if the people on a colony ship from Earth would age normally during the journey (which could take a whole lot of years)?

Monday, January 30, 2023

A School Crochet Project

I made some progress on the scarf, mostly because I took it to school with me to work on when I had the odd moment and needed something to do with my hands. 

Just to compare, this is where it was last week:

So, progress. 

Because the question came up in the comments, I looked for a video to explain what a Möbius strip is. I found one by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's a bit long-winded, but it really explains the shape:

The fact that one can crochet (or knit) something in that shape satisfies the math geek in me. (There are a couple ways one can introduce that half twist.) What's really cool is that because the shape has one edge, I'm just working around and around and around, and it grows from the center out.

I need to make a video showing off how the thing works in crochet. Maybe one of these days...

Friday, January 27, 2023

Kicking Him Out

Friday. Snack time. 

(Snack is a ten minute pause between the first and second classes of the day.)

All the students filed out of the room, except for one. He was still on his computer, playing a game...

I gave him a minute or so. Then I headed over.

"Time to go."

"Just a couple more minutes? If I exit the game now, I lose points..."

Now, besides the fact that he should have spent class time on, oh, I don't know, maybe his math assignment rather than a video game, I wasn't about to grant him the time as it was my break time.

Because of the way the block schedule is set up at this school, after snack, I have a long two classes to get through before lunch. This is a little more than three hours. That's a little more than three hours until I can once again leave the room and use the restroom.

I told him I needed the restroom, so he had to leave. He stalled.

"I'll close the door when I'm done."

I had been warned not to let the students near the teacher's stuff as she had experienced some thefts. I was no way no how leaving a student in the classroom unattended. 

Apparently his game finished, and he logged off his computer, grabbed his stuff, and left. 

I still had enough time to make it to the restroom and back before the next class. 

But I mean, seriously? He knew when the period ended. I gave a clean up warning minutes before that bell rang. He couldn't have figured out that he didn't have time for another round of his game? 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Catching Up

Eighth grade English. Fifth period. And I was confused. 

Class had barely started when a student asked me for a restroom pass. I checked the seating chart to get a name. "Evan?" I asked. He confirmed.

But, just before the bell had rung, another student had asked for a different hall pass. He needed to retrieve belongings from the PE locker room. Before I let him go, I asked his name so I wouldn't mark him absent when I went to take roll. He said his name was Evan. 

There were not two Evans on the roster. 

Getting roll taken takes a couple minutes. I was squaring away who had asked for hall passes (a girl had asked to go to the health office) and making sure I noted who was out of the room (the office had called for another boy) while checking for empty seats against the seating chart. I hadn't quite gotten my feet under me. 

Then the Evan who went to the locker room returned and sat in Evan's seat.

And now I knew what the problem was. Restroom Evan was not Evan. He was only pretending to be Evan.

Ah yes. A name swap. This I'm familiar with

Restroom Evan returned to greetings of, "Hello, Jose." 

Jose's seat was occupied. Jose attempted to sit in Evan's seat, not noticing that Evan was sitting there, all the while saying, "My name is Evan." 

Uh huh. Dude, the jig's up. 

Caught, Jose went back to his seat. The boy in that seat protested that Jose had told him to sit there and pretend to be him. (Considering his behavior up to this point, I'm more likely to believe that he was a willing participant.) 

A couple minutes later, and the boys were all back where they were supposed to be. A couple minutes after that, and the class settled. 

And then I had some time to write this all out for their teacher. I can't be the only one to "enjoy" their antics.