Thursday, March 31, 2022

Someone's Missing

Thursday. Lunchtime. 

The students were eating. I was sitting with Penelope, as she needs to have someone watching her while she eats. (She can pretty much feed herself, but she makes a mess, and she has a hard time gripping her water cup when she wants it. She doesn't require a lot of supervision, but someone does need to be close by.) 

Things were fairly mellow. The instructional assistants were talking amongst themselves. 

"Wait. Where's Doris?" 

Berty is the aide in Ms. J's room. She also is the extra supervision on one of the buses, specifically, the bus that Doris rides to school. So she knew that Doris had been there. 

"Doris went home." And then I explained. 

Since this incident, her wetting incidences have gotten more extreme. On that day, she had wet herself seven times before our first break of the day (in a little over an hour). 

(Before you ask, we're working on the problem with the parent and the school. I don't want to go into all of it here, but there's a lot in the works.) 

It was one less issue we had to deal with on that day. 

I completely understand why Ms. L retired. I've been in the class three weeks and I'm about ready to throw in the towel. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Bad Idea

All Natalie wants is to be on her computer. 

Just in case you thought all I had to deal with were Doris issues and Domingo issues, nope. While trying to settle them, Natalie will amble over to her computer, neglecting whatever task we have set her. 

I spend all of their break time watching Natalie. Because at some point she's going to head for the classroom and for her computer. If she fails at getting into our class, she will go into the other rooms. She will attempt to use other students' devices. 

She gets computer time. At the end of the day, they all do. They just have to do work first. 

When Natalie is on her computer, she frequently logs off of it. She knows the restart trick for when she gets stuck. 

But she does not know how to log back in. 

All of the student computers use the student's district-assigned email address as their username. It's something the general ed students learn early. It's just their first initial, last name, and some portion of their student ID number (whether from their district ID or the state one, I have no idea). That is followed by the usual email stuff, which because school district, is more complicated than gmail [dot] com. (If you have ever emailed a teacher via their school district, you know what I'm talking about.) 

So, I am teaching Natalie her username. 

It only took a day for her to get the first initial, last name part down. (For where we're at, she's a pretty sharp cookie. Not compared to others her age of course, but compared to the students in this class.) 

I hear her reciting the rest of the username sometimes. She tries it a couple times before she asks me for help. 

Her main issues include finding the period key. She frequently hits the comma key instead. (She has some vision issues.) The other main issue is typos, which she can't quite figure out how to identify. (Again, that might be partially due to vision issues.) 

But as we work on this, I wonder. One of the safeguards we have on her daily computer quests is that if she manages to get to a computer, she can't log on. But if she learns her username, suddenly she could log onto any computer on campus. 

Perhaps teaching her her username isn't such a brilliant idea. (She has no issues typing in her password.) 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Party Trap

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 yourself at a party that you couldn't escape? (Think days, not hours.)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Keeping My Hands Busy

The surprise scarf is finished and in the hands of niece. (She sent me a text to let me know it arrived on Saturday.) And so now I am once again between projects. 

Time to pull out Calash... 

I've written about this project before: when I started it, and when I briefly picked it up again in December

In case you were wondering how a cardigan could take me seven and a half years to complete, this is how. I start working on the project for a bit, get distracted by the new and shiny, and then I come back to the project when I finish a bunch of things and need something to work on. 

My twin nephews' birthday is near the end of April. Then middle nephew's birthday is a week later (on Star Wars Day). I have put out a call to see what they want, and if it requires making, guess what project is going to be set aside once again? 

Plus, I have a couple things I want to make for me, once I figure out patterns and such. Beginning something new takes time and thought, not something I can work on when I have "knitting time". (Knitting time is in the evenings when I'm watching TV and need something to do with my hands.) 

So, I'll continue to work on this for a couple days, at least. I hope to get to the end of the increases before that point, but we'll see. (The end of the increases starts the hood portion. If you want to see what the finished product is going to look like, click on the link for the pattern.) 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Movie Day

It had been a long week. And Friday came along to make the week even longer... 

We had two students with diarrhea (which is worse when the students need help in the restroom). One student had several wetting incidents. And my computer seeker continued with her usual

We barely got to the first break when I was done for the day. 

I turned to the instructional assistant Keyla (who I have renamed three different times on this blog because I can't remember what I named anyone on this blog) and asked what we should do. She gave me the answer I wanted: put on a movie.

So, I turned to Jennifer. She'd been rolling with the day as it unfolded. And she's the most "normal" of the students in class (but she is very much a little girl mentally). I let her choose our movie.

We had seen Turning Red the previous Friday (when it premiered), but Jennifer really liked it. I gave her permission to watch it again. And we did.

Because some days you just really need a movie. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Crush

Domingo has a one-to-one aide, Earl. (A one-to-one aide is only responsible for their student. They shadow them all day.) 

Earl is fairly young, about six foot tall, and he probably hits the gym regularly. He's not a bad looking guy. 

Since Domingo spends most of his time outside, we don't see a lot of Earl, but he will pop in from time to time. And he helps us out as things come up. 

When I left the school at the end of January, they closed one class down (the class I was covering), and they redistributed the students amongst the three remaining classes. Penelope is a "new" (to the class) student as she wasn't there when I last covered this class in October

Penelope is bound to her wheelchair. She has limited mobility. She can speak, but her speech is limited and kind of difficult to understand. Mostly, she tells us yes (or si) and no and agua. And we get a pretty good idea of what she likes and what she doesn't. 

On Wednesday, the speech therapist was on campus. She had some new "cards" for Penelope's iPad. (Penelope can touch the "cards" to tell us something.) These "cards" were compliments, and the speech therapist commented that Penelope could use some of them to talk to Earl. 

Penelope likes Earl. 

I can't blame her. 

It was Thursday. Penelope called me over to help her fix her mask. 

(We are no longer required to wear masks in class. I still do. Penelope can take her mask off, but she can't quite put it back on. She doesn't have the manual dexterity. She takes it off if it gets wet or if she drinks water. And then she asks for help to put the mask back on. I have asked. I have offered to let her leave it off. She chooses to have it put back on.) 

So, I tried to put the mask back on her face, but she had turned her head. She generally will turn so I can put the mask back on, but this time she was distracted by something.

I looked up. Earl was helping to put stuff away in the cabinet next to her. 


I waited. 

Earl moved on. Penelope turned back towards her computer. I put her mask back on.

Sometimes I miss the obvious. At least now I'm clued in, so I'll know why Penelope is distracted. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

AITA: Blog Edition

AITA is an acronym for "Am I the A**hole?", a community on Reddit. The premise is someone posts about something they did, and the community responds as to whether or not the person is the jerk in the situation. (A brief explanation is here. You can find the community here.) 

I don't actually have a profile over on Reddit. I'm only familiar with the subreddit via Twitter, where I try to avoid the various postings as they are guaranteed to make me mad. But something happened last week at work that would be a perfect situation to post. So, I'm going to talk about it here. 

Last week we got a "new" student. Jayden had been with the class in September, but hadn't been to school since due to health issues (read: got Covid and ended up in the hospital). He would be returning with a trach, and that meant that he would need a one-to-one aide that was trained in dealing with such devices. 

On the prior Friday, we had a meeting to "train" us (the school's staff) as to how to deal with having an oxygen tank on campus as well as what we needed to know about Jayden's trach (which is capped, so he can breathe normally--I'd link to a definition, but I can't find a simple one online). 

At the meeting, the question was asked: what do we do when Jayden's one-to-one takes her lunch break? We were told she wouldn't get a lunch break as Jayden and she would only be there for under five hours. 

On Monday, Jayden arrived. And all was as well as could be expected. 

The district nurse then asked me who would be relieving Jayden's one-to-one aide when she takes her lunch break. Lunch break? We were told Jayden would only be at school five hours. Well, of course, he would be there for the full day starting next week. (That would be the week you're reading this as I post about my previous week on the blog.) 

Somehow, the responsibility fell to me.

And I don't want to do it.

The district nurse explained that nothing should go wrong. But just in case, I would need to be trained in replacing the cap for Jayden's trach if it were to fall off while the one-to-one was on her lunch. 

And... The idea of touching Jayden's trach... *shudders* 

It just wigs me out

(The instructional aides in the class refused first.)

I went to the principal. She's looking for a different solution. But it might be that the other teachers at the school would be responsible. Which, with the school already having lost two teachers this school year, is more on their already heaping plates. 

So, now I feel guilty. Should I suck it up and try to do it? Even though the idea wigs me out? 

I don't want to. I'd rather walk away from this gig and let someone else take it over (ideally someone who wouldn't be wigged out at this). That's what I should do, right? I should walk away? 

Does refusing to do this make me the a**hole? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Java Free

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 there was no coffee? 

Yes, I'm being deliberately vague. Take the question as general or as specific as you choose. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Surprise Scarf

Saturday night. I decided to pull out my tape measure and see where I was with the scarf. The pattern called for a finished scarf of 62.5 inches.

My current piece measured at about 62 inches. As I wanted to finish the pattern repeat before binding off, and I had six rows left to accomplish that, I decided it was time to finish the thing.

I put something on the TV, and I finished those last rows. And I bound off.

It's done.


Of course, that means that I don't know what I'm going to work on next. But I have a couple ideas.

And in case you missed them, here's where I talked about this scarf as I progressed through it: 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Not Me

Friday. The classroom was relatively calm with all the students doing something at their desks. Natalie needed my attention as she had logged herself out of her computer and needed me to log her back in. (She can type in her password, but she can't type in her username which is her student email address.) 

I looked up to see the principal standing at the door. 

Uh oh. What did I do now?

I approached. 

The principal was facing out towards our back patio. She said that she wanted all my students to remain in the room as another student was having an episode. The student? Not one of mine. 


Doris has violent meltdowns. So does Domingo. And we'd had our fair share of incidents during the week. 

It was nice to be the calm classroom with no issues whatsoever at that moment in time. We do have our moments.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

S'mored Out

One of the things this class does is to cook. Well, not so much the class, but more the instructional aides. 

The point of the adult transition center is to make these students more independent. So, we try to incorporate skills that they will need. Some students can help more than others. 

Last week, the aides decided to make s'mores. 

Someone had found square marshmallows. Vera found a recipe online that she wanted to try. (Vera does the lion's share of the cooking. She's a one-to-one aide, so her responsibility is just to her student, but she helps out more than that as well.) And then there were s'mores. 

This batch ended up with almonds as well as the usual chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker. 

Vera made one batch. She changed things up the next day and made another. By the third day (it was all made up at that point; she just needed to heat everything up), we were all s'mored out. 

I mean, they were good. (Yes, I got to sample some.) Yulisa (a student) ended up covered in chocolate (and Keyla didn't catch it until Yulisa was being handed off to her sister at pick up; oops). But at a certain point, we've all had enough. 

Anyone have any good (and fairly simple) recipes we should try?

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Streaker

It was my first full week as the official long-term sub for the moderate to severe special ed class (this link is not to my district, but it explains the terminology) for young adults. Things had been going as one would expect, with various issues cropping up. 

It was mow the lawn day, so we closed the back door to muffle the noise. Domingo joined us in the classroom, but Doris did not. 

Then the back door opened briefly. And two of the classroom instructional assistants gasped. 

From my angle, I did not see what they saw, but they informed me of the issue. 

Doris was without clothing from the waist down. 


Both aides immediately went after Doris. 

Lately, Doris has been wetting herself, and she's resisted wearing diapers. (Several of our students wear diapers. But they're all old enough to resist if they do not like them.) Usually one of the aides will go with her to the restroom, but with the door closed, they did not catch her heading that way. 

Her family supplies her with a couple changes of clothes for just this eventuality. Alas, Doris had gone through her changes of clothes for the day. The aides found a loaner pair of sweats, and got everything handled. 

And then the principal came running in. One of the other teachers called the office to alert them to the issue. But by then things had been dealt with. 

The mowers had moved to the other side of the classroom, so we were able to open the back door. We had no more Doris incidents that day. 

These are not the things a sub generally has to deal with. But the gig is variable, so apparently it's not out of the question. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A Holding Cell

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 Earth is a "holding cell" while we're awaiting a judgement? 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Plugging Along

Nope, I haven't finished the scarf yet. But I'm still working on it.

This is what I see when I look down at my lap while I'm working. It's pretty long now.

Friday, March 11, 2022


Remember Doris

It was Friday. At lunch, Doris asked for more. She was given a second lunch. (They order extra lunches generally, so we had a second lunch to give her.) 

After lunch (about an hour later), we were all sitting in the classroom when Doris came in. 

Doris technically has a desk in the classroom, but she doesn't use it. She sits outside all day. One day it was rainy and cold. We brought her inside. She remained for a couple minutes, and then went back outside. 

Doris was asking for "more" again. But, alas, we didn't have any more food to give her. 

But Doris insisted. She wanted to look. So, Keyla let her look.

Doris went into the fridge. There were cartons of milk and juice (which we would have given her if she wanted, but she generally drinks water). And then Doris found something, and she insisted that she be given it. 

Baking soda. 

Keyla explained that baking soda wasn't food. Doris didn't believe her. So, Keyla opened the box and let Doris sample it. 

And that's when Doris had a meltdown. 

Doris screamed and pounded her feet. I think one of the instructional aides (likely Keyla) got hit. They managed to move her outside where she continued to scream and stomp on anything she could. 

The aides got everyone away from her. We all backed off. 

And then Doris lay down on the pavement and went to sleep. 

Those temper tantrums can be exhausting. 

(Her family sends food from home. The school provides lunches. But Doris has an appetite, and sometimes she wants more food than they have to give her. We do what we can.)

Thursday, March 10, 2022

I'm Back

It had been a month since I had last been at the adult transition center. I was called to cover the class I had first covered back in October

The class had gained two students since I was there last. (When they closed Ms. S's class, they shuffled the students around to the remaining three classes.) But because of how small the school is, I already knew of the students, so it wasn't a big transition. 

When the instructional assistant Keyla arrived, she immediately got to work cleaning and rearranging. 

See, Ms. L, the class' teacher, was retiring. And Keyla had some things she wanted to change in the classroom. As well, they were clearing out Ms. L's stuff so she could take it home. 

Deep sigh. 

I initially got the call for Monday. On Monday they added Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday they added Friday. (Ms. L returned on Thursday. She picked up her stuff and officially checked out with the school.) 

And on Friday morning, I was officially offered the long term. Because of this year, the number of days I can do a long term has been increased to sixty. The last day of school will be day sixty-one. 

I'm not saying that I'll definitely be in this class for the remainder of this school year. Several things could happen. But as of this moment, this is the plan. 

I'm not sure if I'm happy about this or disappointed. We'll see how it all plays out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Repeating the Lesson

There are some things that happen in a day that make it into my note, and then I don't think of them again. 

A couple weeks ago, I covered a middle school beginning band class. They were doing sectionals.

The class didn't make the blog. They were loud, but that's to be expected of kiddos playing musical instruments. There was no story there. 

At clean up time, several of them did not clean out their horns. I did years in school bands (oboe), so I know the importance of instrument maintenance. 

When one blows into a wind instrument, spit happens. Brass instruments have "spit valves". In woodwinds, liquids can accumulate, so we learn early to wipe them out after each use. It doesn't take long, and it prevents bigger problems down the road. 

I asked why they weren't cleaning out their horns. They said they don't. 

I made a note of this in the note to their teacher. And I promptly forgot about it. 

Thursday. Seventh grade science. Fourth period. 

"You snitched on us." 

I was innocently walking the room when Quinn made this pronouncement. I needed more information. He said I had told his teacher that the class didn't clean out their instruments. Then I remembered. 

Apparently, their teacher had talked to them about this. As she probably needed to (hence why I left it in the note). It didn't sound like they got into any trouble, so I'm not sure why the upset. 

I mean, I did explain how not cleaning out one's horn after practice was a bad habit to get into. But I know students tend not to pay attention to things subs say. They didn't seem to believe me. Perhaps hearing it repeated by their teacher may have helped to drive the lesson home.

Probably not, though. I mean, Quinn was upset enough to call me out on it the next time he saw me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

A Waiting Room

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 Earth is a "waiting room" for us while we await our turn?

Monday, March 7, 2022

Uses for Green Yarn

I had hoped to have the scarf finished by this week...

Alas, nope. I mean, I'm making progress. I'm getting closer. But I'm not quite there. 

If you recall, I mentioned that this was a "free" project, that is, I was using yarn I already had in my stash. Going through my way back files, I found the projects that I had used this yarn in before. And I thought I'd share. 

There is one big project I used this yarn for. It was actually a sweater. For me.

the cardigan too

I still have this sweater. I get to wear it about once a year. (The weather has to be right, and I have to remember I have it.) 

While searching for the blog post for that sweater, I discovered that I had used this yarn on a sweater once before this one. I had forgotten about it because I didn't make it for me.

steggie back

But more recently, I used this same yarn to make another dinosaur-themed project for a nephew, but this one was for a different nephew... 

I have used this yarn on other projects as well. There were several smaller projects as well as projects where I just needed this color for part of it. That's what happens with stash yarn. It gets used in so many ways. 

I hope to have a finished scarf to show off next week, but I'm not quite sure that will happen. We'll have to see how this week goes. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Not a False Alarm

Friday. I had just parked my car. I hadn't gotten out yet (okay, I was eating the breakfast I had picked up from a drive thru) when I heard the fire alarm blaring. 

I rolled my eyes and kept eating. 

But the alarm continued to blare. That was weird.

This is the school that has the fire alarm that goes off at various times for no reason whatsoever. But that usually happens during the school day, and not for nearly that long. 

As I watched, students arrived for the day. The gates were open, but the students were hovering, not going in.

Did we actually have a fire? 

Eventually, the alarm was silenced. I finished my breakfast and headed in. Students were kind of hovering around, more in clumps than they usually are at the start of a day. 

I asked. Apparently, someone had turned on the heater in their classroom, and it started smoking. 

I checked in. I got keys for the classroom. I headed to the classroom for the day. 

I also heard sirens. I saw a cop car pull up. I didn't see a fire truck, but I assume one arrived. Because later, an announcement was made what we were "all clear". 

And then we went about our day. The "all clear" came through before the first bell had even rung.

That should have been the end of it, but no. The fire alarm went off two more times throughout the day. Because of course.

But this is the school where that happens. The students didn't like the blaring alarms. (I was in special ed, so they were doubly not happy.) But they were false alarms like normal, and we were given the "all clear" quickly. 

I figure the actual alert tripped something making the false alarms happen. While they happen on the regular, we don't usually get two in one day.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Family Emergency

Thursday, high school math. I was fully settled in for the day. The co-teachers had the classes handled, and I was just trying to stay awake. 

The bell rang to dismiss third period. The classroom phone rang. 

The secretary needed me to go and cover another class. The English teacher had something come up and had to leave. Would I be able to? As she talked to me, someone said something in the background, and the secretary informed them that she had it covered. 

This is not the first time I had to switch gears in the middle of a day. And the classroom wasn't far from where I was, so I headed on over.

I got there at about the beginning of fourth period. Security was there, one of the assistant principals was hovering (although she was closer to the staff restroom where I assume the teacher went) and the classroom was filled with students. 

I know the drill. First, I needed to figure out what they were working on. They told me they had an assignment in Google Classroom. Great. 

Then, I needed to figure out attendance. They were seated in tables, so I went table to table to see who was missing. 

The class informed me that the teacher had left the room in tears, but no one knew why. 

While in the middle of attendance, Ms. B returned. I informed her I would remain in the class for the day, and she gave me a rundown of what the classes were working on. But before she left, she had to explain to her daughter what was happening so she wouldn't worry. Ms. B's daughter? A student in that very class. 

(I don't really want to go into details here, so suffice it to say that Ms. B's son had an upset at his school, and she needed to go and pick him up.)

Luckily, the class was honors English, albeit ninth grade. So, I didn't really have issues with them once things got settled. And they got settled rather quickly. 

At least I was in a position where I could take over. These things do occasionally happen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Fully Covered

I am sure by now you've heard of the substitute teacher shortage as well as the other challenges in the schools at the moment. But things might be looking up. 

Thursday. I got called to cover Mr. R's math class. Again. 

Mr. R has been out since January. Covid. But, Mr. R has co-teachers, and they've been teaching his class. (I'm using the plural as one teaches with him periods 2 and 4, and the other teaches with him periods 3, 5, and 6.) 

Because of this, and because of the sub shortage, they have not been covering his absence. In fact, there were two different days when I was pulled to cover a different teacher on campus when I was called in to cover Mr. R. (Day one was that middle school science class. Day 2 was the show choir.)

So, when I got that name again, I figured I'd be covering something completely different. 

I got to school, and I was given the keys for Mr. R's class. I was told the school was fully covered. In fact, the secretary had released the teachers she had lined up to period sub for the day. (Period sub is when a teacher covers another teacher's class on their prep period.) 

Seriously? That's amazing in these times. 

Of course, it meant I didn't have a whole lot to do as the co-teachers had the classes handled. But I brought stuff to do. 

I was fully settled in at about the half point of the day when the phone rang... 

(Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the story.) 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022


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 the group to which you desperately want to belong refuses to admit you?