Friday, April 16, 2021

Notes on the Second First Day

Someone, ahem, forgot to photograph the room I was in the first day back, so this photo of the long-term room will have to do. Hey, it's been a while. I'll get back in the habit soon enough.

Our first day back to in-person learning was the last day before spring break. (There were Reasons for this.) I had just finished the long-term assignment for Ms. A's class, and my next long-term didn't start until after spring break, so I got a lone one-day assignment. Math, special ed. 

The day was interesting... 

  • First period I had one student show up. Alas, he belonged to the wrong cohort (the cohort that was supposed to remain at home on this day), so he had to be sent home.
  • Another student showed up late for first period. Alas, she didn't know she was supposed to bring her Chromebook with her, so she was unable to do the assignment that was online.
  • The in-person students looked at me strangely when I'd just start talking to the computer. I had eight students who were still doing distance.
  • Third period I was to have one student in class, and he showed up.
  • The room had seating for ten students. I let the students sit where they liked (provided it was approved seating--a chair with a plexiglass partition). Naturally, no two students chose the same seat all day.
  • This meant that when the custodian asked which desks he needed to wipe down, I had four desks to point out. But this is fewer than ten, so he didn't have to reclean all the desks.
  • Oh, the students do get wipes to clean their desks when they leave, and we have the option of letting them clean their desks when they arrive. 
  • Fifth period (we were on block schedule, so only three periods met) I had one in-person student of the two who were supposed to be there.
  • The other in-person student showed up to the virtual meet. I let her know she was supposed to be in class, but she got credit for attending the virtual meet.
  • Another student, upon finding out he was supposed to be on campus, asked how he could change that. (He didn't want to attend in person. He's not the only one. The office was getting calls all day about changing from in-person to virtual.) 

I was worried about being in classrooms with lots of students. It turns out, most don't want to return just yet, which means that the classrooms aren't packed. With plexiglass partitions, open doors and windows, constant airflow, and masks, things are pretty safe.

We'll see how this goes going forward.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Moving Boxes

It was the Monday (March 29th) before spring break and the first day I had been on campus since November. My long-term assignment was due to end at perhaps the best/worst time. Ms. A (their regular teacher) was returning on Wednesday (March 31st). In-person instruction was beginning on Thursday (April 1st). Spring break started Friday (April 2nd). 

Oh yes, the timing. Is bad. Very bad. There were Reasons why this was the schedule. My long-term had been set to end on that Tuesday (March 30th) since the beginning. So this all kind of hit at once.

And a programming note: I saved the school days from before spring break to post when school has resumed. During spring break last week I posted about other things. 

Ms. A hadn't been to campus since about a week before things shut down last year. She was out on maternity leave. (I was wrong about her being on maternity leave this year. She was out for other personal reasons.) So, I walked in to a bit of a mess.

Her desk was piled high with notebooks. The classroom desks had cheer uniforms on them. And these boxes covered the entire front of the room.

If I was going to be teaching in the room, I would need to deal with the mess. But, she would be back a day before school resumed in person. I just had to finish up my grading and make sure the kiddos had work for those last two days. 

But... I can't live like that. Those boxes... 

They were how the cheer uniforms had been shipped. (I didn't talk too much about Ms. A's cheer class as there was nothing much to say. They were fine.) Someone had removed the uniforms and gotten them ready for the students to pick up. Only about a third of the class hadn't had a chance to come to the campus for them.

But the boxes... 

Another neighboring teacher said if I broke down the boxes and left them outside, a custodian would remove them. 

That was something I could do.

I couldn't deal with the notebooks. I couldn't deal with the cheer uniforms. Where were those to go? What needed to happen to them? But empty boxes? Those I could definitely get rid of.

It took a bit of time to break them all down, but it felt so good to have that space open up. And sure enough, a couple hours later a custodian did come by and remove the boxes to wherever the dumpsters are located.

As for the rest of it, when Ms. A returned, she dumped the notebooks (they were from last school year), and she bagged up the uniforms. And then the classroom was ready for students to return.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Long-Term Thoughts

I don't talk too much about long-term subbing assignments here on the blog as I don't generally do too many long-term assignments. I'm not a fan. 

But, with the pandemic year and fewer day-to-day subbing assignments, I ended up stumbling into a couple. First, there was the one at the beginning of the school year. Then, I happened into this English class that I've been talking about for all of March.

Right before I started Ms. A's class, I did a day assignment for Ms. R's co-teacher. Ms. R asked if I would be willing to cover her class when she went out on maternity leave in April. Figuring we would still be doing the distance thing, and frankly, figuring that it would somehow fall through, I agreed. 

Which is why right after finishing up Ms. A's English class, I'm starting Ms. R's English class, and I'll be covering that until almost the end of the school year. 

And, just at this transition, the district is opening back up for hybrid learning. This means I'll be on campus with the students who have chosen to come back to in-person learning. 

Still with me? 

The week before spring break, we were given prep time, sort of. The students were "asynchronous", meaning they had work, but we didn't meet for class. Those were my last days with Ms. A's classes. I played catch up on grading.

I also got to attend the opening up staff meetings, so I'd know the protocols for this hybrid thing. And I got a chance to meet with Ms. R so I'm ready for her classes.

It was a weird week. 

And now, my blog transitions from distance learning to hybrid learning. This should be interesting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Keep the Secret

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.

What if you were sworn to secrecy about something, but you know the person you're keeping the secret from needs to know this? 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Jabbering On

I had the worst time coming up for a title for today's post. I had to resort to pulling out the dictionary and reading through all the Js. And this is the best I could come up with. Sigh.

I didn't get a whole lot of anything really done done. I continued to play with the seven (and a half) years cardi. Border time...

It's hard to see in that image. I'm about halfway around adding a double crochet border. It'll make more sense on this image...

The right side has the border, the left side does not. I don't know if I like it. It needs something, but do I want to jazz it up a bit, or do I want the knit stitch (that I struggled with for years) to take center stage? I'm not sure.

And I also finished a couple more masks. First, I decided I wanted one in pink...

And then I just need a plain black one. (I have another black one, but I made a mistake on it, so I needed one made right.) 

So, progress of a sort. Perhaps next week I'll get a bit more done. (Don't count on it.)

Friday, April 9, 2021

H Blitz

Since I am on spring break and pushing all my subbing stories from last week onto next week, that means that it's a day for a random quiz. And since it's H day on the A to Z (which I am doing unofficially), that leads to this quiz... 

H Blitz

This is one of those Sporcle ones where all you have to do it type the word in the answer box and it'll find the blank it belongs in. It is timed (4 minutes), and there are 40 questions.

Everything begins with an H. Hopefully your blog reading today will have reminded you of some of these, like a state or an Olympic event or a Shakespearean tragedy. 

I only got 28/40. I'm sure you can do better. Good luck.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Good Morning

Buttercup has absolutely nothing to do with today's post, but as today's post really doesn't have an image, she'll just chill in the backseat while I go on about something completely different.

Monday morning, 4:30 AM. I awoke to use the bathroom. 

Before falling back asleep, I picked up my phone. I've been playing Words With Friends 2 since about July, and recently a mini-game has been added. It's a head-to-head competition where I'm given 45 seconds to come up with a word. Me and my competitor get five turns, and highest score wins. 

These mini-games aren't "free", however. To earn a "ticket" to play, two hours must elapse. So, after having been asleep for several hours, I had a couple "tickets" to play. So, I did.

None of this would normally make the blog, except something happened...

I was on turn two when I felt a large jolt. It felt as if a car had crashed into the wall behind my bed. And my heart raced as I had a moment of panic.

I blame it on the hour and being pretty groggy. 

In the next moment, my rational brain took over. "Oh, calm down. That was just an earthquake. You've been through earthquakes before." 

At which point, I realized my clock was counting down, and I needed to play a word, quick. 

I finished the game. I couldn't tell you if I won or lost. Then I pulled up the app on my phone to see a bit more about that earthquake. 

It was a 4.1 (it said 4.0 when I checked, but since then it's been upgraded). Epicenter was near Inglewood in a town called Lennox. I know where Inglewood is. It's not terribly far away. 

I'm actually rather grateful to the earthquake, as I was scrambling for a topic for today's post. I needed something that started with a G, but I thought I might have used this title for a similar post before. Turns out I haven't. But, in 2010 there was an earthquake on Easter, and I posted about it on April 4th. I mean, this was technically Monday the 5th, but I thought the coincidence way too funny not to mention.