Thursday, June 30, 2016

It Makes No Sense

I kind of understand why Jonah is in summer school. I can totally see how he failed English. He spends way too much time arguing about things that don't need to be argued about.

We were reading a story on Guardian Angels. (The non-profit safety patrols. Not Biblical angels.) It talked about the red berets they wear. The student who was reading initially pronounced the French hats as "barrette". Which is the way it's spelled, so it makes sense. I gently corrected the reader.

Then I asked if someone knew what a beret was. The description I got was of a kind of pancake hat. Apt description. And then it was time to move on.

"But it's spelled 'barrette'."

I explained to Jonah that it was a French word, and as such the last letter should be silent.

"That's stupid. Then it should be spelled..."

At this point, the whole class went after Jonah, telling him to "shut the front door" so we could move on.

I did understand Jonah's point, so I thought to throw him a bone. I agreed that there are many things in English that don't make sense. Weird spellings. Strange derivations. And if he wanted to rail against them he could. Later. After class.

That seemed to settle him. That time. (There were other things that got his ire, and his loud complaining, up.)

So, did he stay after class to discuss the vagaries of the English language with me? Of course not.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Appropriate Reading Material

So... Um... Yeah... Summer school.

I got the assignment a couple weeks ago. Kinda expected it to fall through, but it didn't. The day before, my cold went all full-blown, but I made a miraculous recovery just in time.

The class was 9th grade English, but it was filled with students from all high school grade levels. Because they were making up the failed class.

On the first day (yup, I was covering the first day of summer school), I went over the teacher's syllabus. They were required to bring a book every day for reading time. Something "grade-level appropriate".

I informed them that Captain Underpants wasn't grade-level appropriate. Nothing against it, but it should be a little below their reading level.

"What about Fifty Shades of Grey?"

Because, naturally.

I explained that it would have to be a book that their parents would allow them to read. (That was actually in the syllabus.) The boy said his parents wouldn't mind.

The next day, the boy brought a book. I didn't see much more than the title, but it looked fairly appropriate.

Another boy, however, had that iconic Windsor knot sitting atop his desk.

And that's where it stayed. I did not see him crack open the book once. He borrowed magazines to read when it was time to read.

I wonder if he was just trying to get a reaction from me. I disappointed him, then. For I didn't react at all.

I did, however, make mention of it in my note...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On the Other Side

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 found a portal that took you somewhere (somewhen?) else? Would you go through it? (You have no idea if you can come back.)

(Apologies for the weak question. I had a really good one, but I forgot to write it down and have since forgotten it entirely.)

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Little Blue Guy

Last week I mentioned the amigurumi jellyfish. I finally managed to finish it. (If you'd like the pattern, just click on the link.)

Isn't he (she? it?) cute? That's the shot I posted on Instagram. (I'm @ZiziRho if you'd like to follow me.) This next shot didn't look so hot on my phone, but once I did a bit of tweaking, it turned out pretty good...

The pool in the background with the blue of the piece kind of all blended together. I'm not sure what the Picasa software did. I clicked on "I'm feeling lucky", and this came out.

As for the gloves, I still haven't delivered them. (Last week was kind of busy between TV and internet issues, the cold I whined about, and, well, check back Wednesday to find out what else I was doing last week.) Maybe I'll get them to her this week? I hope so.

Should I attempt to make more of the jellyfish and sell them? Anyone interested in one? (I will take orders.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

End of School Year Review

At the end of every school year since 2010, I take a look back at the stats. I got the idea from Mr. Homework, but I have since made it my own yearly blog feature.

Of the 180 school days this year, I worked 161 of them. This is up from previous years (the links to previous years are at the bottom of this post). This number does not include the 6 1/2 days I worked at the continuation high school in August before the official start of the school year.

Of those 161 days, 55 of them I also covered an extra period during the teacher's prep period, and 25 of those teachers did not have a prep period. Which means that of the 161 days, I didn't get a prep period in 80 of them. About half. Which sounds about right.

I worked the first day of school but not the last. I did work three of the four days of the last week of school, if that counts. And that included proctoring a final.

71 of those days were in high school classes, 63 were in middle school classes, and 27 were spent at the continuation high school (well, 34 if you count the days in August).

Some specifics:

  • English: 60 days and 4 extra periods
    • This year's grade winner: 9th, with 21 days
    • 2nd place: 11th, with 16 days
    • 3rd: 10th, with 11 days
    • As for the rest: 7th grade-8 days; 8th grade-8 days; 12th grade-7 days; ELD-8 days
  • Science: 18 days and 7 extra periods
    • Top: 8th grade science (not surprising) with 9 days
    • I did not get a day in physics, but I did get one day in chemistry, 5 days in 7th grade science, and a day here and there in the high school disciplines
  • Social Studies: 25 days and 17 extra periods
    • Top: World History with 5 days
    • The rest were about even, with 3 to 4 days in 7th grade, 8th grade, geography, U.S. history, government, and economics.
  • Math: 38 days and 2 extra periods
    • Top: 8th grade with 15 days
    • 2nd place: integrated math (which replaced algebra 1) with 11 days (plus 3 days of algebra 1 at the continuation high school)
    • There was a smattering of all the other levels ranging from 1 to 4 days.
  • Special Ed.: 22 days and 13 extra periods
    • Some of these days correspond to the other subjects, as some of the special ed. teachers co-teach, so I might have classified the day as special ed. and English because it was a special ed. English class.
  • Miscellany
    • 4 days in computer classes
    • 6 days "roving", that is, various testing or days where I covered more than two teachers that day
    • 2 days in Spanish and 2 days in French
    • 3 days covering one period of P.E. and three days covering an athletic team (just one period at the end of the day)
    • 2 days covering art
    • 1 day covering band (middle school)
    • 3 periods of ASB and 2 of yearbook
It's always interesting to me to look back at the school year as a whole. One of the great things about subbing is the variety. I definitely had that this year. 

Previous Years' Stats:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Graduation Daydream

This is the 9th annual graduation daydream. (I just counted.) It all started with me dozing off in a special ed class on the last day of school. And, so now every year since, I like to repost this as a way to mark the end of one school year and the beginning of summer.

It starts with a stage filled with teens in caps and gowns. A graduation ceremony. The new graduates look over the audience filled with proud parents. They're excited. They've finally finished school, and they're looking forward to the next phase of their lives.

The new graduates exit at the side of the stage. They hug each other. Many are in tears. They meet up with parents, take pictures, and gradually leave the area.

The stage is empty, but not for long.

Off to the other side of the stage is another group of students a year younger than those who just exited. They climb the stairs and claim the stage for themselves.

The new senior class surveys its domain. Some look in corners. Others go to the edge of the stage and peer out at the audience. Many are cheering, fist pumping, and bouncing up and down. Two boys run at each other and bump chests. They have arrived.

While the new senior class celebrates, the area just off the stage that was just vacated starts to fill. This group looks around in awe and wonder. A few look up the steps, itching to join the new seniors. Several look out over the line that stretches out behind them. It's a long line and it seems to disappear into the horizon.

As each group moves up to the next position, they look over their new surroundings. The new freshman class, however, is so busy celebrating and laughing at the group just below them that they don't notice how trashed their new position is. Then again, their old spot in the line wasn't much better.

The newest middle schoolers carefully take up their new position. They are all wide-eyed wonder. The more adventurous pull their peers along. They take their time looking around, acclimating to their new position in line. There's a demarcation behind them, and they thought they'd never get beyond that border. Now that they are, they're not sure what they're going to do next.

Each elementary grade moves up one. As the former kindergartners take their first grade spot (and make themselves right at home), an empty spot is left at the end of the line. But like all the other spots in line, this one doesn't remain empty for long.

Off in the distance, family groups start to arrive. The parents push their little ones into their spot in line. Some of these children run to take over their spot. Others cling. The families stand there, watching their little ones for some time, not sure what to do next.

One mother shakes her head as she watches her little one acclimate to the line. "They grow up so fast," she says.

Nearby, various people are on their way out of the area. One woman hears the kindergartner's mother, so she turns to her and says, "You have no idea." The woman looks off into the distance where her graduate is off with friends.

"You have no idea," the woman repeats.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Things Not to Do in a Final

Just as soon as my internet issues get resolved, I get felled by a cold. Deep sigh. Just poking my head out to clear up a few things, and then back to resting and watching TV. If you've not seen me around your blog the last couple days, that's why. I'll be back soon. I hope. 

Also, this week I'm at Unicorn Bell. I'd love it if you'd stop by.

I actually got to proctor a final this year. (Some years I do. Mostly, I just show movies on the last days of school.) It was in a freshman English class. 100 questions on Romeo & Juliet.

Honestly, I expected more of a fight. Luckily, I was wrong. I warned them about not talking. They didn't talk. Everything was going pretty well, until I caught the kiddo with earbuds in.

Seriously? It's a FINAL! You don't listen to music while taking a final.

I motioned for him to remove the earbuds. A bit later, I caught him with one earbud back in his ear.

Well, at least it went smoothly for the rest of the class...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

That Strange Place

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 noticed all sorts of weird goings on near a place you frequent? (Like a neighboring house, that storefront near your favorite coffee shop, a building near your work, a strange apartment building near your kid's school...) By "weird" (and I'm specifying here), I mean people coming in and out at weird times wearing odd clothing (like pantaloons or prairie skirts or horned helmets) and looking lost. What would you think was going on? (I'm asking for a friend...)

Monday, June 20, 2016

More Requests

Last week I mentioned my internet woes. It looks like the problem might be solved, so I can write the post I intended to write last week. Hooray!

(If I have not gotten around to your blog yet, I should soon. I have a couple days to catch up on after the fiasco that was last week.)

I finally finished the requested gloves:

I have not delivered them yet (scheduling issues), but once I do, I should get a good shot of them modeled.

And more donuts:

They were originally ordered from another seller at the farmers market. Connecting with her has also been a challenge.

Seems like I'm getting all these requests from other farmers market vendors. Which again happened on Sunday the 12th...

One of the vendors brought her son. He found my booth, and he got to talking. He saw my EOS lip balm holders...

...and told me I should make one like the Yo-Kai Watch. Which I'd never heard of. I looked it up... (I'm not going to post a picture due to copyright issues, so check out the link if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

Then later, Pam, who manages the non-food vendors, had something to show me. Amigurumi jellyfish. (Again, copyright, so please check out the link.) Which apparently is now a thing on Pinterest. It's so much of a thing that when I mentioned what I was making when I went to buy eyes, the ladies knew exactly what I was talking about.

I had hoped to have one finished to post today, but alas, not quite. Those tentacles take a while. But next week for sure. (I'm close to finishing one.)

Also, this is my week over at Unicorn Bell. Where I'm whining talking about how I've been writing chapter 20 for a very long time...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Unenforceable Consequences

My internet woes continue. You probably haven't seen me on your blogs since Wednesday, when I snuck some time on the work internet and still had some data left at home. At the moment, it looks like I've exceeded the month's data allowance. Again. Hopefully, things will get cleared up this weekend, so I should get caught up by next week. *fingers crossed*

It was the penultimate week of school and the last Friday of the year. (The room no longer looks like it did above. The teacher had taken all the work off the walls.) The last week of school is all end-of-year activities for the 8th graders, so they were done with class. So done that the teacher had already submitted their final grades.

Friday was their field trip to Knott's Berry Farm. But not every 8th grader could go. If they failed classes or had discipline issues, they could not go. (And a few chose not to go--they didn't want to, didn't have parent permission, or could not afford the ticket.)

The teacher I covered that day was chaperoning. As she had all 8th graders, the only students I had in class were those who did not go. Small classes, but the ones left behind...

Ms. R gave them an assignment to keep them busy. An assignment that she would not grade. She said some of them might figure that out.


Giving 8th graders a do-nothing day is one way to trash a classroom, so I played it like it was an actual assignment.

"I'm not going to do it," one boy informed me. Then he logicked it out. He knew all their work had been turned in. In fact, Ms. R was not accepting any more late work. They had turned in all extra credit. And he knew that his final grade for the class was already recorded with the school.

I did not confirm nor deny.

At least he just sat there. I didn't have to keep after him, like I had to keep after the boy doing backflips onto a beanbag. (I did mention giving 8th graders a free period was a bad idea.)

This was the class with The Visitors. I got a chance to ask. Turns out, the boys did actually belong in that class. They had been suspended for a while (not a month). But they weren't due back that day. Not sure why they came back early. But I didn't encounter them on this day as they had been suspended. Again.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Old Home Day

Why I was back in this class is kind of a long story. Why they even needed a sub is an open question. When I talked to Ms. A, I was told that most of her regulars had graduated.

Graduation at the continuation high school doesn't work like traditional high schools. A set amount of work counts for a credit. Once the student earns the district (not sure if this is statewide) required 220 credits, they graduate. They can finish at any time, not just in June.

There was one girl who needed a little help with her history assignment. Otherwise, things were pretty dead until the afternoon. That's when the instructional assistant (IA) arrived with Angel in tow. (I'm looking back through previous posts. I haven't mentioned Angel much. Which surprises me, as she was the type of student that frequently fills my posts.)

I hadn't seen Angel in a while as she graduated a while ago. She's now at a local community college studying forensics. She came by campus to make sure her boyfriend got grad night tickets as they were going together.

A couple others stopped by to pick up paperwork they needed for college enrollment or just for their personal records (stuff they should have on hand in case they ever need it). One of the boys had been at the school for a while (and never made the blog--a good student), so it was good to see that he'd finally finished.

Then Taylor stopped by. She needed help with something for college and help with finding a new job as she'd just stopped going to her old one... The IA, who was as bored as me, was happy to help.

An actual student walked in for 7th period. He started a math assignment. He waved me off when I initially offered, but when he got stuck, he was happy for my help.

Taylor chimed in. She said I was a good one to help him. I guess she does remember and appreciate how I helped her finish that final credit.

Note: Today is the last day of school. Next week is when I recap this week. I have a couple more subbing stories. Then it'll be time for my annual repost of the Graduation Daydream and my Year End Stats (spoiler: my days are up for this year). That will be either next week or the week after, depending on how the posts work out.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Not Going Anywhere

The big internet issue has been resolved, but the new company is waaaaay sloooower than the old company, so I'm feeling my way along with this new normal. Ah well... 

Last week was the penultimate week of school, which can be an odd time at the continuation high school. The kiddos are either frantically trying to get those last couple credits finished, or they've given up for the year.

So, rather than fight this, Mr. M gave them a project to work on. They were to plan a backpacking trip through Europe. 14 days. 5 cities. Everything else was open to their choices. They could choose which cities, how long to stay in each city, and what they wanted to do there. And they needed to figure out how much it would cost.

They were to submit (online) a Google map with their cities marked. They had to do a write up of what they'd see. It would entail a lot of research online (and not a lot of lecture from the teacher).

Cool assignment, right?

Mr. M warned me some weren't doing it. Which is normal for the continuation high school.

One boy, who had done no work all period, claimed he was already done. (They had been working on it for a couple days already.)

Me: Okay, cool. Where are you going?

Boy: To Europe.

Me: Yes, I know. Which five cities did you choose?

Boy: Ones in Europe.

Me: Which ones?

Boy: Um... France.


On the one hand, I wasn't surprised that he hadn't done the assignment. They frequently claim they're done when, in fact, they haven't even started. But I did expect a better bluff. I mean, can't you just name five random European cities off the top of your head?

This was a geography class... (Well, and world history, depending on the period.)

So, quiz time. In the comments, name five random European cities. I won't even ask you to list the five you'd visit if you were planning a trip.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Terrible Momentary Fame

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 ;)

We've all, at one time or another, said something or done something we regret. I'm talking about minor things, like saying something mean about an acquaintance that you didn't really mean, but would be hurtful if that acquaintance ever heard it. Or, perhaps you did something silly at a party when you'd had too much to drink (notice, I said "silly"). Embarrassing, sure, but nothing criminal.

Now, we don't record these silly minor things for posterity (although, nowadays pictures get taken of everything...). This thing, well, you didn't record it, but someone did...

What if this thing you regret got online and went viral? (No need to tell us what that is ;) )

Monday, June 13, 2016

Golden Ticket

I was at the farmers market again yesterday...

I had this whole long post planned with pictures of the finished gloves, some new donuts, and a couple projects that may or may not be in my future. But I'm having internet issues. And if I try to upload another picture, I fear I may throw my computer through a wall in frustration.

So, instead, I'll leave you with a story.

Towards the end of the market, they hold a raffle for the customers. Every vendor is asked to provide some small item. (This day, I offered one of my crocheted donuts.) They combine the items into five prizes.

Oh, and raffle tickets are free.

You'd think it would be easy to give away raffle tickets. If they don't win, they didn't lose anything. But if they win...

So, it was getting towards raffle time, and the tickets they had given me to give to customers were still sitting in my booth. I offered them to every passing customer. No takers.

Then they started announcing numbers. The first number--666. I looked at my tickets. Sure enough, I had #666.

To the next passing customer, I waved the ticket. "This is the number he just called." She didn't quite believe me, but she took the ticket, and she got the prize.

She returned a short time after. She had a question about the donut. Because, naturally, the donut was in the box she won.

I just think about all the other passing customers that passed on those tickets. Sigh.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Missed the Bus

One of the great things about the kind of special ed class I covered for six days was that they got dismissed from school about ten minutes early. This is so they can get on the "special" buses and be out before the crush of the normal dismissal time.

Tuesday, my first day with the group, the instructional aide (IA) dismissed them at the appropriate time. Another IA walked them out. Mr. C returned shortly thereafter to inform us that Davion had not gotten on his bus. Instead, he ran away.

Apparently (according to Mr. C), there's a girl. And Davion wanted to walk home with her. Permission from Davion's mom was sought... and denied. So, Davion was supposed to ride the bus. Per his mom. But he didn't want to. At least, that's what Mr. C thought the issue was.

Administration was contacted about the incident that day. And again on Wednesday when Davion again ran away rather than getting on the bus.

Thursday, an assistant principal arrived to check on Davion. Did Davion then get on the bus with her watching? Nope. He ran right by her and again missed his bus.

So, Friday they sent out a counselor to talk to Davion before it was time for dismissal. Ms. K pulled him outside to discuss things. At one point I saw her on her phone, apparently trying to call Davion's mother again. (The last time, the mother had said not to call her anymore. And Davion had to ride the bus.) I don't think the mother picked up.

Did Davion ride the bus on Friday? I have no idea. On Monday, Davion was out due to a suspension.

Ah, bliss. Some students... They make the day nicer just by being absent. Davion isn't the worst student I've ever encountered, but he was definitely the problem child in this class. While there were other issues, Davion was the one who was deliberately defiant.

My last day, Tuesday the 7th, Davion returned. And he explained his suspension. (We were curious.) Ms. K suspended him for cussing, although he denied the charge. He said that he had said "mother trucker" and Ms. K misheard. Since a day prior he had called either me or the IA (his story changed) a b*tch, I wouldn't put an f-bomb past him.

But the bus? I have no idea if he finally rode it or not. I didn't get a chance to find out before leaving for a new assignment the next day. He's being watched...

The silly things students do battle over...

Thursday, June 9, 2016


There are some things that I don't see when I'm in a class one day and out the next. Little dramas that play out over days. So, six days in one class gave me a different perspective than I normally get.

On the first day, Kenya declared that she wanted to be famous. But Kenya is more interested in something else. Boys.

The IAs clued me in to Kenya's obsession, but I figured out the object of her affection on my own. And he's completely oblivious.

She would say "hi" to him in that fawning way we girls sometimes have, and he kept on walking by. She tried to engage him in conversation, but he was more interested in watching videos on a tablet with his friend. It seemed like she talked to his back quite a bit, and if he heard her, he's doing a great job of pretending that he didn't.

On Friday, we finished their reading assignment early, so Kenya and her toady Brittany had some time to "draw". Only, they didn't draw...

They each wrote one to a different boy, but they wrote the exact same thing. And as they did it, they covered it up, but not well enough for me not to know what they were up to.

I figured it was harmless enough, but the IAs were concerned. The notes were confiscated.

Later, they told me that Kenya's affections only lately transferred to this boy. Her previous crush... Well, something turned her off him.

This was Friday, and they had an end-of-year party in the afternoon. The club was going to hold elections for next year's officers during the party. At least, that's what one of the IAs told me when one boy spent a lot of time chatting up a bunch of the kids.

He was general ed (the club was a way for the special ed kids and general ed kids to interact in a social setting), and he was confident. He made a point of saying something nice to Kenya and Brittany. And I could tell Kenya's head was turned.

Well, at least this boy was better than the last one. I think. Maybe.

I'll see how this plays out next week. If it plays out next week. It should be interesting.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Too Many Subs

When I got offered this gig--6 days in for one of those self-contained special ed classes--I had to think long and hard about it. But I figured I can handle it. And there would be instructional assistants (IAs) to help.

I made the right choice.

Monday had been Memorial Day, so no school. I started on Tuesday. Wednesday went along swimmingly. But one of the IAs was going to be out on Thursday, so there were a couple things I would have to know how to do. Ms. J would have a sub (she was the 1-to-1 aide for a boy who needs almost constant supervision), but she also made sure the students were provided with the math assignment they needed, and she was in charge of mail delivery.

The sub, Mrs. B, is well-known to me. And she knows the class pretty well, as she's floated in on various occasions. So all was well. Until 5th period.

5th period is when Ms. J, and by extension her sub, Mrs. B, takes her lunch. The IA who covers during her lunch hadn't arrived...

A call to the office confirmed that Mr. C had called out for the day. (I'm pretty sure he said something about being out on Wednesday, but for some reason, we didn't know about it and/or didn't have coverage.) Eventually, his sub arrived.

So, Mrs. B went on her lunch, covered by a sub, and the class was supervised by a sub.

Well, at least the kiddos stayed on task. There's something to be said for consistency. So, they did what they do, and eventually the all day IA returned (she spends 5th period in another class) and Mrs. B returned from lunch.

Friday all the regular IAs returned.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Next Past Life

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 ;)

Everyone has a different belief as to what happens after we die. One belief system talks of reincarnation--the idea that we live different lives as different people. Another talks of if you're a good person you go to heaven, but if you're a bad person, you go to hell.

But what if we meshed the two...?

What if "hell" is just being reincarnated into a terrible era, such as the dark ages?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nothing New to See Here

So, um, yeah. As of this writing, I haven't done much of any work on the gloves from two weeks ago...

(I may have done more on Sunday, but it won't be done in time for me to post it before this post goes live.)

I don't have any good excuse for my lack of progress. Just life, I guess. Maybe next week?

* * *

Since last Monday was a holiday, some of my regular readers didn't see my post. So, I'm reposting from last week. (For those of you who were here last week, I made no significant changes to the rest of this post.)

One month short of a year ago, I shared my sister-in-law's GoFundMe with you all. From that post:
Heather, my sister-in-law, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in April 2012. She has an aggressive form of MS, and she needs help for her best treatment option... (Go here for the full post.)
That took her to Panama in July of last year. Since then, I've been trying to get her to do another interview to update you all as to her progress, but with one thing and another...

The GoFundMe has been updated this weekend with what's going on right now...
Short version:
Heather’s health has rapidly declined over the past 4 months. She is currently back in Panama getting another round of stem cell treatments. She’s been there for a week and will be down there for a total of 3 weeks.  
Full update:
February was 6 months from the stem cell treatment in Panama. A routine MRI was scheduled to keep tabs on Heather’s progress. When she got a call from her doctor and was asked to come in for the results, we knew there was a problem.  
The MRI showed that she still only had the one lesion on her pituitary gland, but there were indications that something much worse was ahead. What her doctor saw was the precursor to something called Schilder’s disease. This is an extremely rare type of MS that has only been diagnosed in 99 people in 100 years. Heather became number 100... (Go here for the full update.)
If you could share Heather's story with your social networks, they would greatly appreciate it.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Their Own Way

8th grade English. (It was a middle school week. I had one class of 12th graders on Tuesday, but the rest of the week was all 7th and 8th grade.) All the classes are in the middle of their The Diary of Anne Frank unit.

They read the play version, which is in their literature textbooks. A nice thing about their textbooks is that there are audio versions of everything in there, so if the teacher leaves me the CDs, I can play those while the students follow along.

Alas, on this day, the teacher left neither CDs nor a device to play the CDs on. (We no longer use boomboxes for this. We put the CD in a computer that hooks up to the classroom speakers. It's all very high tech, when things are working.)

Their teacher instructed them to read the last two scenes of Act 2 silently to themselves. And then they were to finish up the questions for the play that they had received at the start of the unit. (All the classes had the same question packet.) Their test was the next day.

Oh, they howled. Why couldn't I play the CD for them?

Um, well, first, I didn't have the CD. Second, I didn't have the teacher's laptop to play it on...

"But there's a computer right over there..."

A computer I hadn't booted up. And that wasn't connected to the in-class speaker system.

"And there's a computer over there..."

That was even farther away from the plugs. And again, not connected to the speakers.

And besides the fact that I didn't have the CDs for the play.

Still, they argued. Then they decided that they'd rather just read it out loud as a class. Which wasn't going to happen considering how uncooperative they were being in arguing for the audio. That would have been a train wreck. I insisted they do as their teacher instructed--read it on their own.

I explained, they needed to read silently. As in, no talking. Because, you can't read and talk at the same time. (I've never managed to do it...)

And they ignored that, too.

Ah, 8th graders in the spring...

This is where I gave up. I fought the good fight. I lost. Time to write it all down.

The next day I was covering another English class nearby. At some point Ms. A. came by. And told me how angry she was with this group.

They were in trou...ble...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Returner

7th grade science. They had a "warm up" assignment, then they had a review packet to work on.

Instead of doing the warm up quietly, Liam did nothing. When my significant looks yielded no results, I asked him to get on task.

"How come you can talk?"

Right. So, now Liam's on my watch list...

When I passed out the assignment and Liam started whining, I knew how the rest of the period would progress. It was time to nip this in the bud. Luckily, the teacher had provided me with two classrooms to send unruly students out to.

I told Liam to take his assignment and go next door.

Oh no! He'd be good. Just one more chance...

No. Giving "one more chance" is a recipe for disaster. (I learned this one the hard way.) Once they've been given a consequence, not following through is the quickest way for me to lose the entire class.

But Liam wasn't going to budge. Until I informed him that his only other choice involved a trip to the office and a talk with the principal.

Liam left. And class proceeded as normal. Until Liam returned.

He walked back in, went to his seat, pulled out his work, and asked me what pages he needed to complete. As if he had just taken a break and was returning to class.

I answered his question. Then I told him to go back next door. He said the teacher wouldn't let him in. OK, fine. Then he could go two doors down.

A couple students left to use the restroom. They told me that the door to the classroom next door was open, and that Liam was just sitting outside. (He lied about not being let in next door, and he didn't even try to go to the classroom two doors down.)

(Liam returned once again, having been told by some adult or other that he couldn't sit outside. Well, I had told him which room he was supposed to be in...)

Deep sigh. And wouldn't you know it, he was a student in the English class I covered the next day...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Visitors

Monday. 8th grade English. They were to read quietly. And I had no issues with the classes until fifth period.

As I compared bodies to the seating chart (a couple of them were not where the chart said they should be), I discovered two more students than I should have.

"We belong here. This is our class. We were suspended for a month, and we've just returned..."

But their names weren't on the new class rosters, nor did they have a change of schedule form. So, they were lying.

The rest of the class, however, backed up their story. "They belong here..."

Sure they do. (I wasn't 100% sure they didn't belong. Only 98% sure.) Since the class was fairly settled, and calling security was just causing commotion (oh, how they vehemently insisted--the whole class--that the boys belonged when I tried that!) I decided to play along, making sure to add their names to the class roster.

Is it too much to hope they gave me their real names?

I don't know what they get out of this. They were marked absent (and it's marked as a "cut") in the class they missed. And our class was no fun. They were supposed to be reading quietly.

I made sure the boys did not sit next to each other. And remained quiet. Boring, I'd think.

Ah well. This should be a far more powerful lesson in why one shouldn't "visit" other classes. (And a lesson to the rest of the class in why they shouldn't play along.)