Monday, December 28, 2009

The Annual Calendar Quest

Every year I wait until after Christmas to buy my calendar. Hey, it's 50% off.

I went today. The pickings were pretty slim. I guess people were out taking advantage of the after Christmas sales over the weekend.

From what calendars were left, I deduced:
  1. Apparently, busy moms don't buy planners. There were many "busy mom" calendars and planners on the shelves. I guess moms are too busy to buy planners.
  2. However, other planners were popular, as I didn't find much of a selection of those (and I was looking for a good planner--that's how I keep track of my subbing schedule).
  3. Animal lovers weren't out in force either. I saw a whole rack of cat, dog, bird, horse, and other animal calendars. If there were that many left over...
  4. But I didn't find the usual bunch of castle and scenery calendars. Sigh. That's what I wanted.
  5. There were a bunch of Harry Potter calendars. I guess he's fallen from popularity.
Since I wait until now to go, I'm fine with choosing from what's left over. I'm satisfied with my choices.

The other thing--the shelves were a mess. I'm glad I wasn't shopping there this past weekend. It must have been a madhouse.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Crunch

Apologies for disappearing for the last week or so. It's that time of year again. Time for my annual cold!

It seems like I get something right around Christmas every year. I guess the timing is right. I am off work.

So, I've been trying to get my last minute Christmas stuff done (and since I procrastinated just about everything this year, that means all of my Christmas stuff) while trying to take it easy and not aggravate the cold.

Today I spent in front of the sewing machine. I was making a cape for my soon to be 4-year-old nephew (he turns 4 on the 26th). He was specific about what he wants.

I asked him what color. He said orange. Orange? He said it on two different occasions with different people present, so orange he gets. And he wants it to be long--down to the floor. To emphasize his point, he squatted down and hit the floor. "This long." Okay, then.

I still have to wrap all my presents. Well, I shouldn't say "all". It's not like there's that many. I left everything until the last minute.

I've probably forgotten something. At this point it'll stay forgotten. The goal is to get well. Hopefully I'll be able to get enough rest through the holiday. Yeah, I don't believe that either.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Movie Santas Quiz

I ran across this quiz about movie Santas. I tried it. I thought I'd share.

I got 9 correct. I know you can do better.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When Is Christmas?

It was one of those random snippets of conversation that caught my attention. I inquired further. It was the end of the day, and the class was filing out to go home, but the girl was kind enough to explain:

"I always thought Christmas Eve was December 30th and Christmas was December 31st. I wondered why we were getting out for break so early. I learned something new today."

Um, yeah. I probably should point out that this girl is in the 10th grade.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Don't Recall

I did not work today. The assignments have been fewer this year; all of us are feeling the crunch. I spent the day getting a few things done around the house.

Yesterday morning I already discussed. The following incident happened yesterday afternoon.

It was fifth period in the environmental science class. I walked the room to make sure they were on task. As almost everyone had their books open, paper out, and they appeared to be writing on the paper, I took my seat at the front of the class.

Watching students do work is boring. So, I pulled out my paper and started working on my novel.

I had written about a page when one of the girls walked up. She was curious. She wanted to know what I was writing. Actually, she wanted to know if I was writing about her.

I was a bit perplexed. Why would I be writing about her? She wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary. She had been talking a bit, sure, but other than that she wasn't doing anything note-worthy.

I asked her why I would be writing about her. Was she doing something I should note? Was she paranoid?

She told me that I had gotten her in trouble a while back. She had been suspended. I did not remember this. I asked her what she had done. She, of course, had done nothing wrong. I just had it out for her. Eventually, she gave me enough clues so that I figured out what had happened. (She was one of them.)

(And by the way, the girl who issued the apology was in class as well. She's still doing no work. She spent 20 minutes "in the restroom" and spent the rest of class staring at walls. So much for "on task".)

She spent the rest of the period semi-working. She did nothing that needed to be noted, so I didn't. For a while I tried to "watch" her, like I was angry or something, but I couldn't pull it off.

Sometimes it amazes me that I forget these things. I don't hold on to anger over such incidents. But the students remember. Most of the time, they behave better. And that is the point of it all, anyway.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Missing Assignment

It was 2nd period in an environmental science class at the continuation high school. I was sitting in the front of the room. A disagreement began in the back. When the disagreement didn't get resolved after a couple minutes (they usually work it out without my involvement) and the volume increased, I knew it was time to insert myself into the situation.

Jeff was picking up books and flipping through them. Ernie was getting more and more upset: "Give me back my sh**!" And three other boys were contributing to the chaos by "staying out of it" while offering unhelpful suggestions:

"Get away from me. I'm not in this."

"It wasn't me. It was Jeff."

"Don't get me involved in this."

After initial confusion, I got the gist of what was happening. Someone had taken Ernie's paper (he had been doing the assignment). Jeff and the other three boys denied involvement. No one knew where the paper was now, but Ernie was going to get his paper back. If he had to beat up someone to get it, that was fine with him.

Jeff looked through everything. He took up every book in the vicinity and flipped through it. He begged the other boys to tell him who had hidden the paper and to give it back. All the while, Ernie was getting more and more upset (Ernie threatened to take Jeff's cell phone from him and sell it to get retribution). Finally, Jeff started digging through a pile of books that had nothing to do with the class, and Ernie's paper turned up.


The other three boys laughed. They knew that game. They had done it themselves way back in elementary school. Then to magically have the paper turn up? That was classic, they said.

(Although, Jeff looked like he genuinely didn't know where Ernie's paper was, and he acted like he hadn't had anything to do with taking it. But he could be a very good liar. I have no way of knowing.)

This took long enough (5 minutes tops) that Ernie was no longer in the mood to do work.

The boys mellowed, and I was able to walk away.

Then, at the end of the period, Ernie asked the four boys again. Who had taken his paper and hidden it? All four professed innocence. They didn't want Ernie to beat them up.

I think Ernie was all threat, for no fights happened in class or after. But one of them did it. And they all lied very convincingly. This is why I don't believe much of what they tell me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Old in Coffee

12th grade AP English. They were working on some essay or other (I didn't have a lot of details, but they were AP kids and could be trusted to do their work without me having to prompt them). They were half working, half talking about random stuff.

One student started talking about coffee. He asked what people put in it. One of the girls mentioned cream and sugar. The boy said that no, that's what kids put in it. Adults put old in it.

That's not a typo. He said "old".

He continued with this reasoning. He said that coffee makes kids old. One girl complained that she drank coffee, but she wasn't old. The boy said that she might be 17, but the coffee made her older.

So, I asked what about older adults who did not drink coffee. He said that they just age normally, not extra aged because of the old in coffee.

It made only a smidgen of sense. Of course that was the point.

The stuff these kids come up with!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Accusing the Innocent

Freshmen. Grrr!

It was first period. I was walking the room, trying to get them to do the assignment (they had questions from the book they were reading, The Outsiders). Stubbornly, one boy in the back of the room had an empty desk. So, I attempted to get him to put something on it.

First, he had no paper. He managed to acquire some. Then he had nothing to write with. And finally, he hadn't gotten the packet of questions. He accused the girl sitting in front of him of keeping the assignment from him.

The girl in front of him? She was sitting quietly, reading. Minding her own business. She was offended by the accusation.

I turned to the girl. I explained one of the subbing facts of life to her: "I get this all the time. The one who is doing nothing always accuses someone who is working of some crime. Ignore him. I do."

That satisfied her, and she went back to what she was doing. I went and got the boy the packet of work. Then I continued walking the room.

I got back around to the boy. His assignment was on his desk. His paper? Blank.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Grapevine

It's been a slow week in subbing land. I guess that week off last week gave the teachers a case of the healthies.

Being a Friday at the continuation high school, not much happened today. I had a whole lot of "It's Friday; we don't do work on Fridays" going on. The students talked amongst themselves. I listened.

Apparently, one student was about to be suspended again. The other students in the class were surprised as this boy had just gotten back from a suspension. Since he never showed up for class, I guess he's gone again. What did he do? No one had any idea.

I heard way too much about which teachers the students hated, or as they phrased it: "That teacher hates me and is out to get me." The last sub they had in this class made the list.

I didn't hear the best gossip. The students make sure they are out of earshot before they discuss that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The teacher was out sick, and she didn't want her algebra class to get behind. Did she ask me to teach the lesson? Of course not. She asked a nearby teacher to come in on her prep period and briefly give a lesson.

The class got settled, and the neighbor teacher was about to begin. That's when she saw the boy with his mp3 player. I don't know if he was getting it out, putting it away, or if it slipped out of his pocket. The teacher demanded the mp3 player (they are forbidden in class). The boy refused.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has this problem.

The boy refused to turn over his mp3 player. The teacher insisted. She told the boy that he would get a referral if he did not comply. He said he'd take the referral. I went looking for referral forms.

The teacher then told him that she would have to call security. Suddenly, the boy rethought the referral. (I'm not sure why that made a difference.) The boy was finally willing to let his mp3 player be confiscated.

At the end of the period, the boy asked for his mp3 player back. Um, no. When it becomes that much of an issue, it's going to the office. He can get it back from them.