Friday, May 31, 2019

Fairly Warned

I've been struggling with this post for days. It still might not make much sense...

It was Thursday. I was covering the Mandarin class. No, not that one. Different school. Apparently Mandarin is a thing now. At least for this school district.

That morning, I woke with a sore throat that went into full blown head cold for the holiday weekend. (If you noticed that I wasn't around the blogs, that was why.)

It turned out to be not a bad day. Which is a good thing when one is starting to feel miserable. However, I was warned about sixth period. They were the "interesting" group.

When the teacher told me this (Ms. L was there that morning as she was chaperoning a field trip to a local temple), I took a look at the seating chart (with pictures!), and I did recognize the students she warned me about.

Jake was one. I did get to chide him on pretending to be Steven. When the other students overheard this, I informed them that Jake preferred to be called Steven. And I told Ms. L about this later. I so hope they tease him about it for the rest of the school year--from that day, two weeks. 

Ms. L explained that she had placed one girl, Monica, as a sort of buffer between the boys. If the boys got too bad, I was to let Monica move away.

Class started, and Ryder shooed Monica out of her seat and took it. Monica was a willing participant in this, so much so that when I informed them that I had an accurate seating chart, they did not move.

Okay then. Just another addition to the note.

Towards the end of the period, a few of the students who had gone on the field trip returned. This is pretty standard.

But it freaked the other kiddos out. "Ms. L is back?!?"

Suddenly, Monica and Ryder knew exactly where their seats were, and they were in them.

Ms. L did not return. After the class was dismissed for the day, I did manage to locate Ms. L and let her know how the day went. She found the seat swap interesting.

Alas, poor Monica was in for it. (Although, one of the boys I was warned about did not behave badly, so he got a pleasant surprise the next day.)

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Wasting Class Time

It's been a while since I was at the continuation high school. Not much there has changed.

Graduation is fast approaching. To qualify for the graduation activities, including the graduation ceremony, the students have to have all of their credits posted by sometime this week. (The events of this post happened last week.)

Sixth period. History.

The conversation started with grad night. One girl had gotten her ticket for the festivities. (I'm not sure where they're going this year.) The other two girls in her group were discussing whether they needed to go to school that day.

Somehow, this segued into how many credits they had. To graduate, they must have 220. One was 20 short. One was 14 short. And the third girl whispered to the others how many more she needed.

They spent much of the period discussing how many credits they needed. Then they moved on to astrology (and whether the Aries was compatible with her Capricorn boyfriend--although they weren't certain he was a Capricorn). That led to sex (and which girl was a virgin and which girls were not).

What they did not discuss: the assignment. They spent the whole period, an hour, discussing stuff and not doing any work. You know, assignments that would give them points that add up to credits so they can graduate on time.

I did point this out.

"I only need two credits for this class."

"I'll get it done."

Deep sigh.

I will not be surprised if one or more of them fail to walk this year. But they did it to themselves.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Change of Plans

Science class (biology). The teacher coached tennis sixth period.

The lesson plan had me going out to the tennis courts sixth period to "supervise".

I dislike covering sports, but from time to time I must.

First, I have to find the class. The teacher usually gives me a vague idea of where to go, but these areas can be fairly large, so locating where the class usually meets can take a bit. (It's nicer when we can just meet in the teacher's classroom, but that's not always feasible.)

Then, somehow, I must take roll. After that, ideally, they practice. The cross country team would go out for their run. Other teams may do something, but the last time I covered tennis (a while ago--not this school year), they pretty much goofed off for the hour.

So, I was not looking forward to sixth period. Not at all.

I got through the day. (Biology is a freshman course, so I had those usual issues.) Then it was lunch. I had a half hour to linger in the classroom and anticipate the tennis team.

I packed up. I logged into the attendance software on my phone. The bell rang for the end of lunch. Just as I was ready to get up and head out to the courts, the door to the room opened. It was the teacher.

It took me a couple minutes to process "you can go". Sometimes when teachers are on campus, they'll stop in to check on things, and then they'll go on their way. So, my brain stuttered over the teacher saying he'd come back early enough to teach his sixth period class.

Once I caught up, I was quite content. Not only did I not have to cover the tennis team, I got to go home early. Score!

(Early in my subbing career, I felt like I'd have to stick around as I was supposed to be there. But lately, I'm good with leaving early and letting the office know the teacher has returned. They know I'd never leave a class unattended.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Invisible Protector

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. 😉

The other day I was in the kitchen, and I felt something wet hit the back of my leg. I looked around for what could have caused it. But I could find no apparent cause. And then my mind went to a very strange place...

What if you couldn't perceive the person who was looking after you? 

I'll let you decide if this is a more mundane (because you can't see) or weird (because they exist on a different plane of existence) question...

Friday, May 24, 2019

Full Evil

Last Thursday I went full evil. It kind of just happened. I'm rather ashamed, but here I am, putting it on blast on my blog.

First, I served papers on a sweet old lady.

I have mentioned the deluge that happened in my bedroom. Yes, there is still a hole in my ceiling. Getting the neighbors to pay for the damage, well, isn't happening. We've had to take them to court. The sweet old lady is still the owner of record. (She's moved to an assisted living facility.) Her daughter, well, if her daughter had taken care of business, we wouldn't be going to court.

Shortly thereafter, I called 911 on a black man.

I don't know if you've been aware of all the "Beckys" calling 911 on people of color who were minding their own business. It's a thing.

However, this man was lying in the street, twitching. It was a busy street. Traffic... Well, it was 6-ish.
And while he was in the crosswalk, he was far enough out in the street that he could have been hit. I don't know that he was having a seizure, but it sure looked like it.

On the bright side, 911 seemed to be aware of the issue, so I wasn't the first to call. Once the first responders arrived, we got out of the way, so I don't know how this all resolved.

It was once I got home that I realized how evil I had gotten. I need to be way more careful in the future.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Wrong Savannah

I had the same classes all last week. Seventh grade world history. Advanced.

(Their teacher was the chaperone for the annual Washington, D.C. trip. So, out of town and hopefully having fun, but working, too.)

The "advanced" means they were the good kids. While they were not 100% on task (they had computers--their assignment was online--so some played more games than did work), they were not doing the sorts of things that generally make for good blog posts.

On Thursday, their acceptance letters to be in a leadership class next year were delivered to period four. So, with my trusty seating chart, I passed these letters out to all the kiddos. There were only about ten.

Passing back papers is harder for me as I don't know the kiddos. Generally, I just call out names. They raise their hands. And then we meet half way.

But, as I knew I had the class all week, I had made myself seating charts. It made roll go that much quicker. And it was useful in keeping track of who was who, especially if there were any "special mentions" I needed to make in my note to their teacher.

I passed out all the letters but one. I remembered marking Savannah absent, so I held on to her letter.

Sixth period the teacher was a coach. The season is over, so the kiddos are just hanging out in class. One girl noticed the letter on the desk. She was oohing and ahhing over it. I mentioned that the girl it belonged to was absent.

"She better not have been..."

Turns out the girl was Savannah's sister, and she knew that Savannah had been at school. (They're on the same campus, so they had arrived together.)

She knew what class Savannah was in sixth period, so she went to take it to her. And it was then that I realized what had happened.

There were two Savannahs in period four. I had forgotten this fact while passing out the letters. I remembered marking a Savannah absent, but I didn't check the last name.

Oops. Glad her sister was there to fix my mistake.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wrong Luck

I had the same class all last week. Seventh grade world history. Advanced. Their teacher was on the annual field trip to Washington, D.C.

I believe I've mentioned that subs have been in short supply this year. More often than not, I'm covering a different class on the teacher's prep period.

Mr. F's prep period was fifth. Around third or fourth period, I'd get a call from the secretary telling me what class I was going to cover for that fifth period. Monday it was an English class I'd covered before. Easy group. Tuesday it was a very small special ed. class.

On Wednesday, she called to tell me I'd be covering a math class. And I groaned.

The teacher's morning was co-taught. The teacher's sixth period was pretty good, actually. But her period five...

I wrote about them. Well, kind of. They're the ones that somehow managed to make a room smell of marijuana.

As it turned out, the teacher was there to start off the class. (She had an IEP meeting that period.) She told me that fifth was her bad class. Yup, I remembered.

And, actually, I had a student that I had had earlier in the day. (This happens sometimes. When they point it out, I cackle and tell them they can't escape me 😛) Let's just say I wasn't surprised at his inclusion in this class.

The period went about as well as I expected. The teacher told them that they had corrections to make on prior assignments. These would help raise their grades. And yet, half the class told me that their grades were good and they had no corrections to make.

(Ms. T told me this would be true of two students. At least a dozen made the claim.)

Ah well. On the prep period lottery, you win some and you lose some. Four good preps out of five isn't too shabby.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


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 "they" came for your best friend?

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Bed Saga

No, not literally. Although, the concussion screams intent.

It all started about three weeks ago, on April 30th. I sat on my bed to put on my shoes, something I do every morning.


The bed fell under me. In that moment, I wanted to figure out what had happened, but I didn't have time, not if I wanted to get to work on time. So, I finished putting on my shoes, and I was out the door. I didn't think too much about it, other than some generalized worry, until I got home. That's when I went about ascertaining what broke.

The bed is what they call a Hollywood frame. It's just a simple rail. I've had this bed for about five years without a lick of trouble.

It turned out that the wheel had snapped off. I was able to glue it back together and place it back on that leg.

But that was a temporary fix.

I searched online for a replacement wheel. No local retailers carried it, but it was available online. (From wheel break to ordering replacement wheel took two days. I had to go to work and such.)

Alas, the temp fix was very temporary. The wheel continued to fall off at least once a day. Anything would jar it loose. I was very careful with my movements, but still it would pop off with a "thunk" when I least expected it. Or when I did expect it. It was a pretty constant thing.

Tracking showed the replacement showing up the following Tuesday, May 7th. But on Saturday, when I had time, I needed to deal with another bed problem. The rail was creeping out. An easy fix...

I stripped the bed. Then, by myself, I flipped up the mattress and box spring to lean against the wall. Then the rails. I tightened them. I put the bed back to rights. Since I had stripped the bed, I figured that was a good time to wash the sheets and such. Once they were clean, I remade the bed, and all was good, except for that wheel. I was good for a couple days, until the wheel arrived.

Only, guess what came in the mail just after I had finished putting my bed to rights?

So, this next bit is just sheer laziness. I didn't fix the wheel that day. I figured I could wait another week. What's another week, right?

Then, Tuesday night, as I was nearly asleep (and not moving at all), the wheel fell off again, and I was DONE.

After work Wednesday, May 8th, I stripped the bed, flipped up the mattress and box spring, flipped up the rail, and went about removing the wheel. You'd think this would be easy, but the wheel was attached via a long connector that didn't remove easily. Pliers worked.

The replacement wheel fit perfectly.

Before returning the bed to rights, I went to tighten the rails again. Only, one of the brackets would not. It popped off the bed.

Upon further examination, I found that the bracket had bent, just a little. But that little was enough so that it would no longer fit on the bed. And the rail needed that to support weight.

The bracket on the left is the working one. The bracket on the left has been stretched out ever so slightly, just enough to no longer fit on the rail.
Over the course of an hour, I tried everything I could think of, including hammering the bracket to bend it back. It was enough. I was able to reassemble the bed.

It was so nice to sleep in the bed without having random thunks in the middle of the night.

However, as I walked by the bed the next morning...


The bottom half of the bed had collapsed. The bracket failed.

Again, I went online to order a replacement part. (I did go out to see if I could find it locally. I could not.) But what size did I need? What did I need to measure? That took a while to figure out.

While I was waiting, though, the frame would not hold. There was nothing else to do but remove the frame entirely and put the box spring on the floor, like a teenager. Sigh. (Plus, I store stuff under there. All of it had to be moved out and stored somewhere for the wait.)

The replacement bracket arrived on the following Monday, May 13th. I worked up the energy to put things back together on Tuesday. I stripped the bed, flipped up the mattress and box spring, and brought the rails out.

I propped the two parts of the frame up against the box spring as it leaned against the wall. I started by attaching a bracket to the bottom half...

I'm sure you can see what's coming. If I had been thinking...

Yeah, so one side fell over as I was doing this, landing on my head. Hard. No, I didn't pass out, but it hurt.

And... The bracket didn't fit. It turns out that I had ordered the wrong size.

The gold-tone is the proper size. The silver-tone is just a bit too big.
(I spent an hour trying to figure out which size I needed. I measured. I even tried it on the rails before flipping up the bed, and it seemed to work. But when it came time to actually put things together, big fat fail.)

So, everything had to go back to how it had been. Back to the internet to order the correct size. Hopefully.

This time I ordered the part right away, although I spent a lot of time looking at the smaller size. Was this correct? Was I going to screw up again?

Tracking showed that the package would arrive on Saturday. I was out, so I wasn't thinking about the package delivery. I pulled my phone out of my purse to check the time or weather or something to find a text from the delivery driver.

He couldn't find my place. And I had five minutes to respond. The text had been sent a half hour prior.

(I know, you all have your phones set so you can hear them when you're out, right? I don't. My ringer is set for a good volume to wake me for early morning subbing calls. Soft enough so that it doesn't jar me awake. As I get very few actual calls or texts, I don't think about raising the volume the rest of the time.)

Then I got an email saying the delivery had failed.

Grrr. Was I going to have to wait another week for another day off to finally fix my bed? Was I even going to get the delivery?

But then, I get home to find the package. I guess the delivery driver found my place after all. Whew.

These brackets were smaller than the ones I had already on my bed, but they actually fit. Hooray!

And on Sunday, my bed went back together. Finally.

So, fingers crossed. Because if this bed breaks again...

tl;dr: My bed broke. It took three weeks to fix.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Finishing Up

Sometimes, I really feel how long I've been subbing.

Friday. I was covering the ASB class. They spent the period painting posters for an upcoming rally.

Sarah walked in. She wasn't in fourth period, but she had gotten permission from her fourth period teacher to go to her ASB class.

I recognized the teacher's name. She teaches AP statistics. The AP statistics test has already happened, so that class is done for the year, hence the reason why Sarah could leave class without missing anything.

As the kiddos painted (and they got a lot done that period), they talked. Sarah is graduating, and she's going to attend ASU in the fall. Her twin brother is going somewhere back east. (He's the ASB president for the school and was also in this class.)

I remembered where and when I had first encountered Sarah. It made the blog. It was summer school. Health class for students who hadn't taken health during the school year. She made that silly PowerPoint. (You remember the one. "Sixteen and Pregnant".)

I have encountered her and her brother from time to time since that health class. They're of the academic sort that rarely make the blog as they generally do their work and don't give me any trouble.

The reason they made the blog today is because Sarah was also talking about her birthday. It's tomorrow. She and her brother are turning 18.

Man, I feel so old...

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Too Happy

They were way too happy to see me. And that really makes me nervous.

Friday. Sixth period. US history. This was the class that I had before spring break

One of the students was saying how she had wished for a sub, and not just any sub but me in particular. But, she knew that Mr. B was on campus. And I was elsewhere. 

But, the teacher I was covering had sixth period prep. And, as I may have mentioned before, this year it's been more likely than not that I pick up an extra period (and an extra period's pay) rather than getting the time off. 

I have no idea why, but Mr. B had to leave early. So, guess who was asked to cover it?

When students are that happy to see me, I wonder what it was that I let them get away with. Because why would students like a sub? There's something wrong with this picture.

However, this was the good class. They were generally silent. Of the whole day, they were the best behaved group. So, again, whatever did I let them get away with?

I gave them the assignment. And then I held my breath. Were they going to take a "free" day?

Nope, they worked silently again. For the whole period. (And we were on block schedule for state testing, so the period was two hours long.)

I guess it will remain a mystery, as I didn't see them doing anything they shouldn't've. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Not My Name

Middle schoolers, in general, are terrible liars. (There are some masters of deception, but mostly they just can't manage it.)

Seventh grade math. Second period. I was taking roll via a seating chart. But because seating charts (especially in middle school classes where teachers are constantly moving kiddos) aren't always 100% accurate, I was calling out the names of those I was marking absent.

"Jake is not here..."

"He's here. He's sitting over there," a student let me know.

But when I looked over at Jake, he claimed he was Steven. He was sitting in Steven's seat.

"So, it's okay for me to mark Jake absent," I said.

Usually that's enough to make the student give up the game. Not Jake. Nope, he was willing to be absent to be Steven.

(Turns out that Steven was suspended, so he was marked absent anyway. And no, I didn't mark Jake absent. It seemed silly to do when I knew he was there.)

Needless to say, Jake was a difficult student.

But what was remarkable was how the rest of the class would not play along. Occasionally one of the kiddos would ask Jake something. They'd call out "Jake". He would say, "I'm Steven". And they would roll their eyes, finish whatever it was they wanted to ask, and then go back to what they were doing (which was mostly the assignment).

Because the rest of the class was behaving, Jake was not able to cause enough of a commotion for me to need to kick him out. But he got a starring role in my note to his teacher.

I was three doors down from that class the next day. I ran into Jake's regular teacher. Jake's antics got him suspended from class. And not for the first time. (Jake has been an issue in that class all year.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Parent Tested

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 all adults needed to pass a class/test before they could be allowed to parent children?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Cotton in the Straw

I have one of these...

...and it generally lives on my side table. I drink water from it constantly. It has a lovely little straw that sticks out of the top...

Naturally, from time to time I need to clean my mug. That's easy enough. But cleaning the straw is more of a challenge. How does one clean a straw like this? (Seriously, I'm asking. What do you all do that I'm missing?)

Last week I had an idea.

I took some 18-gauge wire I had on hand (for various other projects). I cut it longer than the straw length. And I coiled both ends...

(Apologies. This was the best picture I could get of the ends. And, my wire technique needs practice--a lot of practice.)

Then, I took some cotton yarn (kitchen cotton they call it, the kind that's perfect for washcloths), and I crocheted a row...

...that was a bit longer than the straw. (I did one row of chain, and then alternated single and double crochets until the end where I did about an inch's worth of single crochets.) A strand of yarn at the end easily slid over the coil...

...and I had the perfect little thing to wipe out the inside of the straw...

And here's a much better photo of the coil...

These are the sorts of things I think about when I have an odd moment here or there. I don't generally get them complete this quickly, but I had all the materials on hand, and it didn't take very long at all.

Now, if only I could get one of my other projects to completion...

Friday, May 10, 2019

No Negotiators

According to my counter, this is my 2600th post. I was going to celebrate my 2500th, but didn't notice until after the fact. (That post went live on December 25th.)

Video and TV production class. They produce a school-wide TV program that gets shown every couple months. They were working on segments for the next episode.

There were three groups of four in the class. Before he left, their teacher warned them to get their segments done. Deadline was looming.

Group one claimed the side room to film in. I found group two in an editing room doing nothing. Um...

Group two explained they needed the side room to film in. There was a second spot (shown above) they could use, I pointed out. They explained they had already started filming in the side room, and for continuity they needed to continue there.

This was very reasonable. (There were different props in the room as opposed to the spot pictured above.) I suggested they talk to group one and figure out a way to share it. This was something group two could not do. "No one talks to them," they explained.

Seriously? It's May. They've been in this class all year. And they don't talk to a group in the same class? Sigh. Teenagers...

So, I went to talk to group one.

When I asked them how they were doing, they informed me that they were planning what they were going to do. Planning?

Well, that made sharing the room easy. I booted group one. Group two got to work. And group one...

Group one decided to go back to their original plan, which meant they were filming outside.

(The teacher, upon his return from his meeting, explained that group one had a plan that he'd approved, but they kept trying to change it. Or something. Anyway, their dilly-dallying was well-known to him.)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Wrong Site

Considering how long I've been subbing, I'm surprised I haven't had this issue before.

I had called ahead a couple weeks prior for this assignment. "Mrs. Jones" at "school A". I've covered Cindy Jones' class several times, so I knew what I was in for. (Cindy Jones' room is pictured above.)

It was a pretty good morning, and I managed to get there fairly early. I went to check in.

"You're at [school B] today for [Rebecca Jones]."


I was told "school A".

A couple things were working in my favor. I was running early. And "school B" starts a half hour later than "school A".

I got to "school B" easily and checked in. It was a bit of mentally changing gears. Cindy Jones teaches English. Rebecca Jones teaches intro to health careers.

I blame the sub caller. She's new. As in, she's had the job for about a month. Mistakes happen.

(I did actually get a chance to chide her for this. She called me for a gig for the next day. I mean, I wasn't going to call her just to give her a hard time about the mixing up of the schools.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Swarm

Continuation high school. Science. Seventh period. Most of the students were playing Krunker, although as late in the period as it was, a couple of those students had completed the day's assignment and turned it in already.

The principal came over the loudspeaker.

"Students, when you're dismissed, please leave by the back gate. There is a swarm of bees at the front of the school..."

He then rang the bell early (by about five minutes), dismissing everyone for the day.

A swarm of bees?!?

And how was I going to get to my car?

I went to check out. The office was in crisis mode. They needed someone to deal with the bees. They needed to figure out how to direct students as several after school classes would be arriving shortly. (There are a few career-type classes that are held there via a county program, what used to be called ROP.)

I was told the swarm was fairly contained to the walkway, so I'd be able to walk around it. I was a bit nervous, but I was also curious. What would this swarm of bees look like?

I got outside, and, well, no swarm. They said that before there had been something like a thousand bees in one place, that the area was black with them. All that was left were a dozen or so, flying around the bush that was there.

I was a bit disappointed. I had wanted to get a picture of this swarm. But I was also relieved.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Impossible Intelligence

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 creating a true artificial intelligence is impossible?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Completing the Challenge

You may have noticed I once again did the A to Z Challenge last month. At this point, it's more a habit. And a game. Can I write blog posts as normal, but make it fit the letter of the day?

I won't bore you with how this works. I've written about it before. The only difference this year was that I did not make a back up plan. I didn't need it before, so why bother this year?

(Previous reflections posts: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.)

In case you missed some (or all) of my April posts, here are some highlights:

My "hopping" was kind of hit or miss. I went through the master list starting after where I was (#61) and I got to #221. The goal was to comment on five new blogs a day. Alas, this did not happen every day. It was more like 4-5 days per week, fewer (like two) during spring break. (You'd think I'd've had more time on vacation. Nope.)

Here are a few new to me blogs that I found via the challenge:

Plus, of course, I kept up with my usual blogs. There were some interesting themes: 

If I didn't note your blog, post a link in the comments. Lots of really great themes. It's hard to remember what all of them were.

And now April is officially over. Whew. See you next year...

Friday, May 3, 2019

Under Bidding

Math support and enrichment. It's an extra period of math for students who are struggling with math. They were studying transformations.

They had a couple worksheets to complete. It was just a little simple graphing...

Well, maybe it was not so simple for them (considering what class it was). But they had plenty of time, and I could help.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that kiddos try to take the easy way out more often than not.

"I'll give you three dollars to do the assignment for me."

My first though was that I'd gotten a raise. It used to be that they offered a dollar for that sort of thing.

But I replied with my second thought: "Considering my expertise, my services are worth at least twenty dollars."

Naturally, he balked. Which was exactly the reaction I was going for. Sort of.

Then someone mentioned gas money (as in $20 is gas money), and the conversation shifted to what kind of car I drive. (They asked. My answer was non-specific.) And the price of gasoline.

Topic shifted, I went back to doing my job and they went back to avoiding the work.

Because, seriously? I was probably undercharging.

If they want to hire the work out, they really should consider the skill set of the person they're hiring. I got an A in freshman math. And sophomore math. And I even managed to get through calculus. If they want to cheap out, they need to hire someone with far fewer math skills than me.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Conversation

It was one of the severe special ed classes. Lunch time.

While the kiddos were at lunch, their instructional aides were out supervising. But the aides get a lunch, too, so there's a bit of a juggle. They have to find time for their lunch (usually during class time) while making sure the class is manned.

As the teacher, my lunch is when the kiddos go to lunch.

However, there was Jason. Jason was non verbal and confined to a wheelchair. He was fed through a tube by his one-on-one aide a couple times that day. He could not be left alone.

Jason's one-on-one took her lunch before the actual lunch so she could be back while the other aides were out supervising lunch. But, because of time constraints, there was a small gap of about five minutes (normally, but this was a block schedule day, so the gap was more like ten) where Jason didn't have supervision. On a normal day, the teacher took over for that time.

If it was normally the teacher's job, then on this day it was mine.

I was warned to watch out for seizures and told who to go to if something went terribly wrong. As the one-on-one would be back shortly, we didn't think I'd have to worry about that. And then it was just Jason and me.

It was technically my lunch, so I pulled out my phone. But Jason was there. He wasn't furniture.

What does one say to a non verbal kiddo, though? I'm not great at small talk, and my general conversations wouldn't be of interest to the boy. I'm more of the listen-while-someone-else-talks kind of girl.

So, I did what I usually do when I have a bit of time during the school day. I looked through my Instagram. As I did so, I tried to find some things that maybe Jason would find interesting. I didn't think he'd find the knitting and crochet projects (the majority of my feed) all that fascinating, so I apologized for not having much to show him.

It wasn't the most scintillating talk. I made some random comments about the day and such. Because, I couldn't not talk to him. That just felt wrong, somehow.

The one-on-one was surprised to find me and Jason alone. Apparently subs don't watch Jason. I don't see why not. But, I guess I just assume I'm going to be doing that sort of thing when I cover these classes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Today's post is NSFW. Apologies. I try to keep things PG around here, but I really want to tell you about this... 

"That's not what that means."

It was a rather weird Monday where I ended up covering four different classes. Fourth period it was a US history class. They were supposed to be perusing a chapter on the Cold War.

(It was next door to the class I covered the week before spring break.)

But if they were on task, this wouldn't be a very interesting post.

One girl explained to another the definition of the term "cockblocker". Or, at least, she thought it was the definition.

It was a rather literal interpretation, involving smacking/slapping a certain part of the male anatomy.

That's where I chimed in. I jump into student conversations when misinformation is being perpetuated.

"That's what it says on Urban Dictionary. I took a screenshot. Want to see?" she replied.

I did not. "Well, then Urban Dictionary is wrong." 

I trust Urban Dictionary, so I was surprised. I thought the term was fairly well-known.

Normally I would just shut this whole thing down, and I did, but I first provided the actual definition. Because they are 16 or 17 years old, and they really shouldn't get any older thinking what she said was true. (If this had been a middle school class, this whole thing would have gone very, very differently.)

Discussion finished, I pulled out my calendar to update. (I keep track of what classes I cover.)

"Are you writing this down?"

The girl then put on a brave face. She informed me that Mr. T wouldn't be surprised, and he wouldn't even need her name as he would know it originated from her.

(I hadn't planned on mentioning it, but since she asked, I realized Mr. T might enjoy the humor of the situation, so I did then make a point of including it in the note. Later.)

After school, I checked Urban Dictionary. I could not find the definition she cited. I did find several iterations of the correct definition. Check it out.