Friday, June 14, 2024

Last One Out

When I left school on the penultimate day, I assumed I was done for the year. I went to bed that night thinking about how I was going to begin my summer break. But then, at about 10:30 PM, I got an alert.

The assignment was for the alternative education center. The one school that did not have a minimum day. And all the behavior problems from the students. Did I really want to work the last day of school?

I really did want to work the last day of school.

For a while that morning, we wondered if we'd have any students. School started at 8:30 AM. The first student showed up closer to 8:35. And then others trickled in. In all, five students showed up. (Total enrollment is something like seven or eight, so that was pretty good turnout for them.) 

Both of my students for first period were absent, so when second period started, I went in search of my class. Mr. O, the math and science teacher, had all five, and he was showing a movie. So, I joined Mr. T and Mr. O and we watched the end of the movie. (The students were more interested in their phones, which they're normally not allowed to have, but last day and all.)

I should mention that Mr. B hadn't left me any lesson plans, and Mr. T said the teachers had all turned in their grades the previous day. So, the kiddos truly had no work. (One of Mr. B's children was promoting, so of course he wanted to attend the ceremony.) 

I had two students for third period. Jensen and Jensen. Yup, two boys have the same name. Jensen C. I've mentioned many times before. Jensen T. hasn't made the blog before as he's not an issue. Jensen C. objected to me and tried everything he could to not be in my class (because, apparently, I'm "boring"). So, Jensen C. called his mom to come pick him up early. She refused. He called his dad. Apparently he agreed, as Jensen left shortly thereafter.

I had two students in fourth period. I was informed that Ronny would continue to sleep in Mr. O's class. (Ronny is not a nice kid. He uses words as a weapon, and I find it easier to not antagonize him. Just asking him nicely to do something can be met with a cutting remark.) 

The second student needed to ask another teacher a "quick question". After five minutes I went to retrieve him only to find him playing a game (Mysterium) with Mr. T, security, and the other three students. 

Mr. T: "You told me you asked her."

I don't know why he didn't ask me. I would have said yes. 

After lunch, I was supposed to have the majority of the students in class. I went to retrieve them. I learned that Ronny had gone home, so we were down to three students. Two of them were "playing with" the chickens.

(They did a thing where they got fertilized eggs and left them in a warmer. Since their hatching, the students have been "caring for" these chickens.)

As Mr. C (security) was cleaning up the game, Mr. T said that they were going to play Sequence. Did I want to join?

Of course I wanted to join.

Mr. C and Jensen T. were one team. Mr. T and I were the other. Jensen was good. They beat us the first two games. Mr. T and I pulled out the second two. They won the fifth. We won the sixth. 

And that was the end of the day.

At some point during the game, the principal had the other boys help her gather the chickens (there were five) and take them to her car. She was taking them to their new home. Before this, all the instructional aides had left for the day. The school's secretary left for the day. (They left about lunch time.) 

So, at the end of the day, there were three students and three adults left on campus. Mr. C noted that there were three cars in the parking lot.

And we were the only school still in session.

Yup, I was definitely the last sub standing. 

It's officially summer vacation. Next week I'll do my annual stats post. And then it's summer schedule on the blog. Happy summer.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Letter to Myself

It was the penultimate day of school. (Yes, this is the same day as I wrote about yesterday.) I was covering a special ed teacher who co-teaches. 

For second and fourth periods, I was co-teaching a seventh grade English class. 

It was finals day, but Ms. Q was not giving a final. (One girl was disappointed that she didn't get to present her presentation. No one else in the class was upset at not having to do a presentation in front of the class.) She had a different activity for them.

The students were to write a letter to their future selves. 

Upon completion, we sealed up the letter in front of them (without reading it), and Ms. Q set it aside to return to them as they graduate high school in five years (that would be 2029). 

"But I don't want to write a letter to myself."

"I won't be here as a senior."

"I won't care what I have to say."

"How will you get this to me?"

We insisted, and they relented. Some ended up writing quite a lot. And some... Well, seventh graders.

It was such an interesting assignment. I've done something similar with a group at the beginning of the school year where they'd get the letter at the end. I don't think I've seen one where the teacher planned to hold onto the letters and then give them to the students' senior English teachers in five years. 

I'd be curious to be a fly on the wall when the students get these letters later. They whined about it now, but I bet many of them will love this when those letters find them again. 

They really don't realize how the time will fly. Or how much they will have forgotten. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they completely forget about these letters. 

Wouldn't you love to find a letter from your seventh grade self? (Or not. It may have been a difficult year, depending.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

An Eighth Grade Playlist

It was the penultimate day of school, and I had caught a gig covering a special ed co-teacher. Her sixth period class was eighth grade English.

The eighth graders were officially done. All that was left were the end of year activities. On this day it was a trip to a water park. (The general ed teacher was out too; she was chaperoning the water park trip.) So, any eighth graders left behind...

Well, they had excuses for not going. It was too expensive. (Likely true.) They had a season pass to a water park, so why go with the school? (Also likely true.) They had a doctor appointment that day. (The student was wearing a knee brace, so likely true.) 

Also likely true: they did not qualify to go. To qualify, they had to be "promoting" (passing GPA, etc), no recent behavioral infractions, and no excessive absences. 

Because of this, the students in class were few. And they were a bit wound up. They had no assignments (they're done for the year), so they had free time. Once the initial flurry of activity subsided, most of them were on their phones and they settled to pretty mellow.

One girl went to the class TV and changed the music that was playing. It was some rap something that didn't sound very school-appropriate, but I didn't have a chance to chide her on it. She changed the music, and then she left to go hang out in a different class. (This was okay per the teacher.) 

So, I looked at the remaining students and asked if that was the music they wanted on. It was not, so they changed it...

And I was floored by their choice. They left this artist on for the rest of the period. 

Seriously, take a listen. I commented that the music sounded like it was out of the '40s. What decade does it sound like to you? (And if you're intrigued, check her out on YouTube. She's got dozens of songs all in a similar vein.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

No (Legal) Cure

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 😉

Since I've been down with a cold for the past couple weeks...

What if you got sick, but the only treatment for it was illegal?

(I kind of cribbed this one from Star Trek: Picard. While it wasn't a major plot point, it was an important detail in season 1. Then again, it was kind of critical.) 

Monday, June 10, 2024

Envisioning the Next Step

Niece's birthday is this Thursday. Her sweater will not be done in time. (Even if I did manage to finish it, I then have to mail it, so...)

But progress has been made.

After consulting the example photo: 

(I have to keep reminding myself that my version is not going to look like this as I'm doing a lot of guessing. But it's frustrating all the same.) 

I figure now is the time to square the circle. And hopefully she'll get me her measurements soon, as I think it's about as wide as it'll need to be. I've made progress, anyway.

And until I have measurements, I can catch the back up to the front.

Eye sweater previous posts:

Friday, June 7, 2024

Not a Freshman, Not a Senior

I've had Marcellus in various classes over the years. He was in Mr. J's fourth period computer science class.

I had been in the class a couple days (so, this was back in March) when something about freshmen came up. There were a couple freshmen in this class, and for some reason I thought Marcellus was one of them. (Which makes no sense as I had had him in "various classes over the years".) Although, to be fair, he is short, so...

When I said something along those lines, Marcellus corrected me, informing me that he was a senior. I apologized for my mistake, and I verified his grade level in the attendance software. 

Marcellus was lying. He was a junior. 

I did not call him on this, however. It was unimportant. It wouldn't even make the blog, except...

Thursday. Legacy day.

The seniors had "checked out". Officially. Their grades were finalized, and they were beginning their senior activities. The first one was them going back to visit their elementary schools wearing their caps and gowns, letting the kiddos there know that one day they too would be in the seniors' shoes. 

For the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, class was as normal. As fourth period had eleven seniors, those students were absent (for school business) while the rest of the students were there.

As I started taking roll, I mentioned that there were a lot of absences. The students remarked that the seniors were gone. (I knew this. There were more students missing than would be accounted for by the missing seniors. It turned out that several students were just late to class.) 

This was when the other students "noticed" Marcellus. 

"Wait. Aren't you a senior? You're supposed to be gone..."

At which point Marcellus sputtered and flailed for some excuse. 

They were joking, of course. They had to know Marcellus wasn't a senior. But apparently it's been an ongoing bit that Marcellus claimed to be a senior, so him still being at school had to put an end to the game. 

At least next year Marcellus won't by lying. And hopefully I'll remember that even though he's short, he's not a freshman.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Working the Study Guide

Thursday. Second period math.

Mr. J wasn't giving a cumulative final. Their final test was to be the last chapter test of the school year. And to prepare for that test, Mr. J had left a study guide. 

(Ms. L, the co-teacher of the other math classes, showed me a copy of their test. The study guide was a problem for problem duplicate, the only difference being the numbers used in the problems.) 

I gave them the study guide. And I prefaced the period with, "You know how you get the test, you look at it, and you go blank? And then you tell me you don't know what to do? And I tell you I can't help you? Today, I can help you."

Many of the students took advantage of this help. 

They also were able to utilize their notes. They had a formula sheet that they could use on the test, and they were making notes on that. So, they were making good use of their time.

As was Ava

Ava was on it. She was working through those problems. Asking questions. All of it.

At the end of the period, Ava asked if she could come back during lunch for help with the last bit of the study guide. 

Part of me snarled. This girl... She could be little miss attitude so much of the time. But when she wanted something, she was as sweet as could be. 

I kept the snarl inside, though. Because I'm the adult. 

Ava did return at lunch. I did help her with the final three problems. And she did seem to understand what she was doing.

I really do hope she does well on the test. Her grade is still hovering between D and F. She could (barely) pass the class. That's on her. I won't deliberately tank her chances.

(When I'm grading things, I don't notice the names on the papers. Seriously. And if I do notice, I won't mark something off for students I don't get along with. If they give me the right answer, or even if they get in the ballpark, I will give them the score they earned.)