Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Reruns

We have reached the part of the year where I've done it all before, and now I get to do it again. Last week I had a lot of repeat performances. 

(Besides the English class I talked about last week, I also revisited the Spanish class, English at the continuation high school, the middle school English class with Nash, and the computer class that I period subbed at least three different times.) 

I had just covered this English class the previous Thursday. (The English teachers were scoring a district writing thing all the students have to do. Ms. V teaches three different grade levels, so she's out three different days for this.) So, I knew what to expect. 

First period. English 11. They were doing a blackout poem

They were using an Amanda Gorman poem as a base. They were to black out many of the words, making a new poem out of the few words they chose. Then they create a picture that serves as the thing that hides the rest of the words they're not using. (Look for examples online. It's an interesting exercise.) 

I passed out the poem they were using, and then, as the teacher instructed, I warned them that they'd only get one copy, so they needed to be careful.

Jaliyah approached. 

(I've had Jaliyah in various classes many times over the years. She's a good kid.)

Jaliyah asked if she could go and make copies, because, "I know I'm going to mess it up," and she wanted to take out some insurance. 

Other students realized this was a good idea, so Jaliyah returned with multiple copies, distributing them around. She kept two for herself. 

And they all worked quietly for the rest of the period. (Seriously, this happens a lot. I don't write about these classes much as, "they worked quietly" doesn't make for an interesting blog post.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Added Expenses

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements πŸ˜‰ 

As with the question from two weeks ago, this week's question is stolen from conversations I've seen on social media.

What if your best friend chose to have a destination wedding, but you absolutely could not afford to go? (The friend is close enough that you've also been asked to be in the wedding. You would have accepted, and might have already, until you found out that it wouldn't be local.)

Monday, March 20, 2023

Growing

I don't having anything interesting to say about the knitting. It's not finished. But it's bigger than it was two weeks ago when I showed it off last time.

Progress is being made. That's about all I have to say about it.

At the rate I'm going, it won't be finished by next week, either. But it'll be finished sooner or later. 

Is it time to change the background picture on the blog? I think this might work.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Rainy Day

Friday I was covering a graphic arts class I had covered a couple times before. 

The students do various projects on the computer. They were finishing creating packaging and ads for a fictional collaboration between a celebrity and a brand. (There were lots of chips bags.) Then they were creating a concert poster. (One student had made something that looked like it belonged in the '60s. That's what she was going for.) 

And, of course, some students don't do much at all. (I chastened one group for playing "murderball" on their wheeled chairs. I had to explain the reference.) 

But the classes were pretty mellow, which was something I couldn't be sure would happen, as it was again pouring down rain all day. The last big rainy day didn't go so well for me.

This day, not so terrible. I got to sit and watch the rain from our door: 

If it had been windy, I would have had to keep that door closed, probably. But it's easier to keep it open, at least during passing periods so the students can get right in without having to open a door while dealing with their umbrellas. (There is no overhang over the doorway.) 

It's been a while since we had this much rain. Half of me enjoys it, the other half not so much.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Show

Thursday. All the English teachers were out, so I got to see a bunch of other subs I hadn't seen in a while.

(Well, not all the English teachers. The district has the students do an essay once a quarter, and the teachers take a day to go and score them together. They score by grades, so only the senior? teachers were out. I'm not sure which level was out this day as the teacher I covered taught 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.)

Second period English 10. The class was co-taught, so another sub I'd seen around arrived to cover for the co-teacher. 

Mr. S had covered for the teacher before, and he warned me to look out for a student, Malik. 

Class had been in session for maybe a minute when Malik made himself known. He wasn't sitting in his assigned seat, and he made a production of moving across the room to where he was supposed to be. (I hadn't even gotten to attendance yet.) Then he had to make a show of retrieving his computer from the computer cart. And then he started singing. Not loudly, but audibly. 

The rest of the class? Dead quiet. 

I moved on to other things. Mr. S kept an eye on Malik. 

Malik attracted my attention again. The students put their phones up for the period, but Malik was playing Tic-Tac-Toe on his smart watch. Sigh. I told him to get to work. He informed me he had completed it.

We all know this was a blatant lie. But I don't argue doneness with students. It never goes well. But Mrs. V had left them something to do if they were finished: read their reading books. A few students were quietly reading in class. 

So, I informed Malik that if he was done, he needed to read. He explained that he can't read. (This is not the first time a student has claimed this. I never believe this lie because I have been in the classes where the kiddos truly cannot read. They try.)

The rest of the class? They enjoyed this show.

Then Malik began humming. When I told him to stop, he acted confused. I told him not to sing. I didn't tell him not to hum. *rolls eyes*

So, again, I busied myself keeping track of the rest of the class. Mr. S told Malik to get his head off his desk a couple times. 

Malik wasn't going to do anything productive. Neither of us wanted Malik to disrupt the work of the rest of the class. So, Mr. S sent Malik out of class.

Malik? He sang as he skipped out of the room. Skipped. Seriously. 

The rest of the class? They laughed. Then they got back to work. 

Malik got what he wanted, I think. And this is the major difference between middle school and high school. In a middle school class, this would have set the rest of them off. In high school, they enjoy the show and then move on. (Older students stop thinking the show is funny.) 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

A Load of BS

Spanish IV. Tuesday. Fourth period.

The teacher's been out for a couple weeks (per doctor's orders), so the classes have kind of settled into "free time mode". (Not ideal, but I've dealt with worse.) They have assignments, but they aren't really doing them.

But fourth period was keeping themselves busy.

One girl was reciting the organs and diseases of the urinary tract. (She had an anatomy test later in the day.) The boys adjacent to her were comparing their astrological sun signs and figuring out what phase the moon was in when they were born. 

On the other side of the room, two boys were signing. They were looking down at their computers and making signs in American Sign Language. 

I know a smattering of signs. I recognized various letters, like X and J. They did the sign for "home" and "later" and "today". It looked like they were constructing sentences. 

Then they laid their left arms over their right. The left hand made horns out of the index and pinky finger. With the right hand, they extended their fingers...

A little over a year ago, I was at the adult transition center and we were waiting for the buses at the end of the day. The teachers were talking. Ms. L was complaining about something, and instead of swearing out loud, she made the sign for bullsh**

It was at this point in the conversation that Ms. L turned to me and explained the sign. Then she showed me a couple others. Special ed teachers learn to sign as some special ed students do better signing than speaking. Some non-verbal students can sign and communicate that way.

So, I knew what sign the boys were making. 

"No swearing in class," I chided. 

The boys had the decency to look chagrined. 

The rest of the class was confused. The room was pretty quiet, and no one was saying anything terribly inappropriate. (I mean, I'd argue that talking about preventing UTIs isn't terribly appropriate for a Spanish class, but it was curricular.) 

So, I explained. "I was telling them I knew what that sign was."

They kept to less controversial signs after that. 

(Why were they learning sign language? I noticed various students trying out disabilities, so the annual disability assembly must be coming up. The school has a large special ed population, and they do this to promote inclusion and understanding.)

I mean, I wish they were doing the actual Spanish assignment, but considering the situation, at least they were making a decent use of their time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Cut Off

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements πŸ˜‰ 

What if you got stuck waiting somewhere (somewhere you can't leave) and your phone died? (I won't specify whether it's just a dead battery or if it's other issues.)

Monday, March 13, 2023

Crocheting at Work

Last week I was just tired. 

It wasn't a bad week. I had been summoned for jury duty, so every night I had to check in to see if I had to report the next day. And every night it said no, not tomorrow, but check for the next day. It said that every day until Thursday night, when it said, "Your jury duty is complete". 

So, I worked as normal. Luckily, with the online app, I could take jobs for the week with the knowledge that if I had had to report to the courthouse, I could cancel the assignment. I booked a full week knowing that I might have to cancel, and then I didn't have to cancel. 

Being so tired meant that I didn't make much of any progress on the pillow cover. I knit maybe six rows. 

But the classes I covered all week were pretty mellow. They were mellow enough that I had time to work on my take along project: the MΓΆbius scarf crocheted from birthday yarn.

That's why there are no new pictures of the pillow, but I do have new pictures of the scarf. 

I was able to add two more rounds last week. Since I'm working from the inside out, that means every round increases the width by double. 

Remember when I was debating which stitch pattern to use with which yarn? I think I made the right choice with the cobweb stitch

You can't really see the stitch pattern (which is good because I can make mistakes without them being noticeable), but it gives the feel that I was looking for. And it grows much more quickly than the previous iteration. 

So, I might just get this thing finished sooner rather than later. Yay.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Oblivious

Wednesday. Sixth period at the continuation high school. Social studies.

They are given five minutes of "SSR" at the beginning of each period, otherwise known as free phone time. I generally let it slide into seven or eight minutes before I call it, though. After that, they are to put the phones away and not use them for the rest of the period.

Do they? Well, not really, but most will at least have the decency to hide them.

Nylah was making no pretense.

So, I approached. I stood there, waiting. I asked her to put her phone away.

She took a phone call.

Facetime. On speaker. She was talking to someone about nothing much at all.

Again, I asked her to put her phone away. She ignored me, although to her friend on the phone she mentioned that she would call her back, and then said she wouldn't. And continued with the conversation.

"What's so funny? What are you laughing at?"

This was directed at Solomon, Malia, and Tyson at the next table over. Which just made them laugh harder. 

Nylah got even more upset. She asked the others again, and then she flounced out of the room.

What were they laughing at? That Nylah was blatantly on her phone, talking loudly, and while I was clearly telling her not to be.

Nylah returned. She was still on her phone. 

Again, I asked her to put her phone away.

Solomon, Malia, and Tyson were trying to pull it together but failing miserably. 

There was nothing more to do. I sent Nylah to the Cell Phone Park.

(The Cell Phone Park is the "punishment" for students not getting off their phones. I haven't had to resort to it before. Students sent out of class for cell phone infractions get the rest of the period to be on their phones, but then parents are called and consequences are added on. Initially it sounds like a reward, but the downsides are such that no other student has pushed me on it. All I have to do is threaten the Park, and they're off their cell phones.) 

For the rest of the period, Solomon, Malia, and Tyson could talk of nothing else. Solomon wondered why Nylah didn't realize they were all up in her conversation when she was having it in the middle of class. Malia blamed Tyson for making her laugh. Tyson said he was just trying to keep a low profile.

I was just glad that I wasn't the only one who thought that having a full on conversation in the middle of class was ridiculous. 

With the way the kiddos are on their phones nowadays, I was beginning to wonder.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Not His Seat

On Tuesday for my extra period assignment, I was sent to an English class that I had covered before. But luckily it wasn't for the period with fake Evan.

They had just finished reading Lord of the Flies, and their assignment was to make a slideshow summarizing each of the chapters. 

But before I could settle in to the period, I had to take roll.

Because eighth graders will try the seat swap, I call out the names of students I am marking absent.

"Jasper."

He was on the other side of the room. 

When I questioned him on why he was not in his assigned seat, he explained that the teacher had moved him because he talked too much in the other seat. 

This did not pass the smell test:

  1. He was sitting in the middle of a group of African-American students. He's also Black. 
  2. His assigned seat was in the middle of not Black students. 
  3. He was clearly "hanging out" with the group he was sitting with.
  4. The girl whose name was on that seat was sitting nearby (rather than having traded seats with him). 

I insisted that Jasper move back to the other seat. After some back and forth (and the threat of a referral), Jasper finally relented. And the girl whose seat he had taken got her seat back (much to her relief). 

Did he do his work? No. Did he talk to that group of students on the other side of the room? Of course.

I'll take the victories where I can.

Because Jasper gave me that much trouble about sitting in his assigned seat, I made sure he had a starring role in my note to his teacher. And because I email my notes to the teachers nowadays, the teacher replied.

She absolutely had not moved him. And she was not pleased with his lie. 

I wonder how upset with me Jasper will be the next time he sees me. I hope he learned his lesson and will sit where he's supposed to.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Playing Games

Occasionally, I'll take an assignment out of sheer curiosity. When eSports popped up, I just had to know. What was this class?

It turned out the class was exactly what I was expecting: they play video games.

(It's affiliated with an after-school occupational program that includes things like culinary arts, health career intro, cosmetology, and firefighting.)

The two days I was there, they were having a tournament. They had a bracket they were working off of. It appeared to be a double elimination. And beyond that, I'm clueless.

The teacher had appointed class leaders, and they directed the rest of the class on who was playing whom and on which computers they were assigned. I did my job by taking roll and supervising the room.

Third period. Tuesday. The class leaders put on background music.

I don't mind background music. It helps students work, usually. (Not me. I need silence to work. But when in a class, if they need music, I'm okay with them having music.) And instead of the usual inappropriate rap songs that they usually pick, the boys put on video game music. 

(You can look it up on YouTube. I had another teacher tell me that it's great for background music as it was composed with the idea that someone would be focusing on their game, and it won't distract from it.)

The only problem with video game music (as anyone who's played games for hours can tell you) is that it's repetitive. After a while it gets to be too much.

The boy in charge of the music switched it once during class, and he put on something that came from the Nintendo Wii. And then that got old.

When he got up to change it, a girl in class commented that it was about time. I concurred. 

But we only had about five minutes left in the period. He looked for something to play for a short time. 

"Kiwi" appeared along the sidebar. 37 seconds. He played it...

And I laughed.

It's not intrinsically funny. Not really. 

But...

Well, of course I had to share. The creator definitely deserves the views. And like I said, 37 seconds:

Too cute. (And it totally reminded me of the time I knit a kiwi. Eldest nephew is now 17, so I doubt he still has it.)

I know, I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about the kiddos' misdeeds, but most of the time, the kiddos are all right. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Overtime

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements πŸ˜‰ 

I keep seeing this type of scenario pop up on social media, so I thought, why not?

What if at work a colleague resigned and your boss told you that the colleague wouldn't be replaced and now you're responsible for their work, too? (And you won't be getting a raise or promotion.)

Monday, March 6, 2023

A Pillow's Worth?

Slow and steady. That's how the pillowcase has been going. 

I am now on my second skein of yarn, but only just. This is about a skein's worth of knitting.

So, I thought I'd see how well it fits along the pillow it's covering.

I think that's going to work. Although, there's going to be a bit of yarn chicken going on to see if two skeins is enough to cover the whole pillow. I don't really want to buy a third skein.

I think I'll worry about that after I finish the second skein.

Friday, March 3, 2023

A Bad Friday

Friday. Seventh grade science. Fourth period.

It had already been a day. It was pouring down rain, which meant the kiddos were already cold and wet. And the rain just brings out the crazy. (It doesn't rain for us much, so that means any rainy day is an unusual day.) 

Fourth period was after lunch, so the kiddos had just spent a half hour out in the weather. (It had been pouring rain all lunch. No, there is no real cafeteria for them to eat in.) 

So, I was expecting some crazy.

Two girls needed to get paper towels from the restroom to dry off. A boy fought me on sitting in his assigned seat. They went through a box of tissues. A couple boys stepped outside to wring out their clothes.

It was about halfway through the period when assigned seat boy, Austin, was doing something very strange.

(I am having a moment with Austins. This was not chair thrower Austin nor was it forever restroom pass Austin. This was an entirely different Austin. I've had him in class before, but he didn't merit a blog mention before.) 

Austin was "smoking" (snorting?) a powder from a small strip of paper (about five millimeters wide). 

I chased him back to his seat, examining the area. What had he been doing? 

Then another girl and then another girl did the same thing. That's when I noticed the girl passing these out: Briar. 

As my warning to stop fell on deaf ears, it was time to call out for help. The assistant principal sent me security. 

"She called security," got whispered throughout the room. (What, exactly, did they expect?) The class calmed.

Sadly, in the chaos, I was unable to pick out all three (five?) girls who had been involved, but I knew Briar and Austin. 

Briar claimed innocence as she attempted to surreptitiously brush the powder from her desk. (Seventh graders aren't subtle. They think they are, but they are not.) 

Things calmed somewhat after students left with security, but they were wound up from the get-go. 

Middle schoolers and rain are a bad combination. Is a small pinch of powder in a bit of paper the thing now? I am so out of touch when it comes to drug culture.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Switcheroo

Thursday, and I had taken a gig at the alternative education center. This time I had the math and science classes. The day was going about how I expected with them sort of doing the work. 

Third period. Business math. We were getting started, but things were going sideways. I was getting ready to go over how to do simple interest with them (and probably do the assignment with them) when the door opened and the principal arrived.

Mrs. V shooed the kiddos out of the room. Then she turned to me.

The alternative education center and the adult transition center both share facilities. They are technically different schools with different hours, but they are right next to each other. Mrs. V oversees both.

Ms. J at the adult transition center was throwing up and needed to go home. They had called for another sub, but at this point in the day, they weren't going to get anyone else. 

They needed to switch me to the other school.

Well, one must be flexible when one is a substitute teacher...

So, not quite halfway through my day, I switched campuses entirely. Kind of.

(This is not the first time I had to go to a different campus midday, but it wasn't really a different campus.) 

And my day went considerably easier than it looked like it was going to go at the beginning of third period. I had Sydney and Logan who I had had last school year in Ms. S's class. I knew the other students just from them being around last school year. 

The rest of the day was pretty mellow.

While I felt a bit bad for abandoning Mr. O's class (the class I agreed to), it wasn't like I had chosen to make this switch. It was thrust upon me.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

A Modern Horror Story

When I checked in for the day, the school's secretary didn't hand me the usual paperwork. Usually I get a temporary log in for the school's attendance system.

I was informed that the internet was out.

Nowadays, the majority of the students' work is online. Teachers give lecture notes using slides. Assignments are uploaded to Google Classroom where the kiddos can complete and turn in without needing to touch a pencil. 

No internet was very bad news. But it would be back on shortly, right? 

At least, that's what I figured first period when I explained the day's assignment to the eighth graders. It was U.S. history, and the teacher had copied a paper packet for them to complete. As it was Black History Month, it was a packet on some African-American firsts. 

Unfortunately, they were supposed to use the internet to look up the answers. 

But, they had phones. They could look things up using their phones. And they could work together, so those who were without phones could work with someone who had a phone.

Because, the day they actually need their cell phones is the day that some of them don't have them. Naturally. 

We did not get internet back that day. I still don't know what knocked it out. 

At least the eighth grade assignment wasn't wholly dependent on the computers. Alas, the seventh grade assignment was.

The seventh grade world history class had notes and questions in their Google Classrooms.

Helpfully, the seventh grade classes were "advanced", meaning they're the ones more likely to do the work. And they tried.

There was one kiddo who shared his phone's hotspot with a couple other students, so they worked online. Some of them had Google Classroom on their phones, so they could access the notes that way. But others didn't have any way to access the day's assignments.

I assured them that no internet meant they wouldn't be penalized for not completing the assignment.

The joys of technology. We get dependent on it only for it to fail us. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A New Home

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements πŸ˜‰ 

What if you got an opportunity to live on the moon?

Monday, February 27, 2023

Warm Knitting

I have often commented that if it were to snow here, it would make national news. So, you've already heard.

It's been cold. For us.

Which means that it's been a good time to work with the bulky yarn on my little pillow cover.

No, I personally haven't seen snow here. We've just had a bit of rain. (Well, more than a bit...) But some areas that are close enough by that they are covered by the same local news broadcasts have gotten snow, so I've seen the pretty pictures. And not so pretty pictures. We are not accustomed to this sort of weather, so things have been a mess. 

I hope to finish this before things warm up, as one of the reasons I did not like working with this yarn was because it was too hot. Well, that was closer to summer time. Now, this yarn is the perfect weight to keep me warm.

We're due more rain today. As the schools aren't really built for the rain, wish me luck. 

(Every classroom opens to the outside, so passing periods are passed in the elements. This means wet kiddos. All day. They track in mud. They are wound up because they are wet and cold. Everything is sopping wet. It's going to be a long day.)

Friday, February 24, 2023

Observed

Honors Anatomy. Thursday. Fifth period.

It had been a pretty low-key day. The kiddos had work in their Google Classrooms. Many of them were actually doing it. 

"Why is Mr. M in my assignment?" 

"Wait. Where?"

"Now he's in mine."

That had been happening all day. On assignments in Google Classroom, the teacher can go into any student's doc and see what the student has done, whether it's turned in or not. It's a trick I was taught during distance learning. Then, teachers were using it to make sure the remote students were actually on task.

Me: "He's probably bored in his meeting. He's just checking in on you. Say 'hi'."

So, one student typed an emoji in his doc. But Mr. M had moved on. The student was disappointed.

It was funny how the students were so excited that Mr. M was virtually in their class. And for me, it told me that they were actually doing what they were supposed to be doing. (I mean, I had walked the room and checked to make sure their computers were on what they were supposed to be on.) 

If the students hadn't been working on the assignment, they never would have seen Mr. M observing. You can only see who's "editing" the documents when you are actively in the documents. 

A bit later, the student who hadn't gotten a response from Mr. M got a response. Mr. M went back and typed something. He was happy.

I think most of them got their work done so they didn't have any homework over the four-day weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Some Follow Ups 13

We are almost a month into the second semester, and I'm finding that I'm repeating myself. That's what happens when you sub at the same handful of schools on the regular. 

Lately, some things have come up that relate to incidents I have posted about in the past, but they're really not interesting enough to make their own blog posts. And then I remembered Thursday 13. I think I've collected enough of these to make a full 13. 

ONE

Last week I ended up in classes that I was pretty familiar with. On Monday, I was back in the classroom I spent November 2021-January 2022 in. Ms. S retired, that's why I took it over for a time. For this school year, they hired a new teacher to take the class.

Although, it wasn't the same class. Two of those students culminated. The remaining students are in other classes. 

But I did have two familiar faces. Jennifer and Jonas

As for the rest of the class, one of them had been a student in another class last year, one of them I remember from the feeder high school, and the other three were new to me. 

Since last year they have shuffled the aides. Vera is the one-to-one for a new student. One of the aides was new to the school this year. And the other three were aides in the other classes, but as everyone at the school works together a lot, I was familiar with them. 

It was a pretty nice day. (I don't really have any good stories to hang a full blog post on.) 

TWO

On Singles Awareness Day, I got to revisit the chemistry class I covered for three weeks at the beginning of the school year. Things were much like how they were in August. What I never mentioned in August was how many familiar faces were in the class. 

Jeremy is a tenth grader now. He's grown up a little. Alas, he spent so much of his time in class playing games on his computer. Sigh.

THREE

In the same period with Jeremy was Helen. She seemed so sweet in ninth grade. Well, initially. After having her in that vacant English class, I had her in the geography class I covered immediately after, and she was less sweet. This year? She sits in the back of the room and doesn't appear to do any work. Deep sigh.

FOUR

And also in that same period is Doris' sister. I've never mentioned her before because she has not done anything blog-worthy. She's quiet. She does her work. I wouldn't have even realized she was related to Doris if not for her fairly distinctive last name. (Yes, they are sisters. I looked it up.) 

FIVE

Speaking of siblings, back in January I covered one of the classes that feed the adult transition center. One of the students had a familiar last name. It was Pizza's brother. When at the adult transition center last week, I got to see Pizza and say hello. I told him I had met his brother. He wasn't sure what to make of that.

SIX

Remember Harmony and her threat? I do. So, two Mondays ago, I was pleasantly surprised when the aide in the special ed class I was covering was Ms. E. I let her know what Harmony had said. Ms. E was not shocked. She also said that Harmony is no longer in that program where they saw each other, so they likely won't run into each other again. (But I did want to mention it to her, just in case.) 

SEVEN

Two days later, I was back at the continuation high school in that social studies class. I was dreading another run in with Harmony. (I had had the class a couple weeks prior, so it wasn't the first time I'd seen her since the threat.) 

At the lunch break, I overheard the PE teacher discussing something with the principal. And a couple other teachers chimed in. Apparently, Harmony had shoved a girl during PE, and she had been suspended. So, I was not going to see her in sixth period. Yay! (When I said as much, the principal: "Even the subs know who she is.")

EIGHT

The social studies teacher I was covering, Mr. K, is someone I have covered many times in the past. The previous day, I had actually been in the classroom he had when I first covered his class

Mr. K transferred to the continuation high school from another school in the district. Actually six of the nine teachers currently there transferred from other schools in the district. (Yeah, I've been at this job too long.) 

NINE

Remember Austin the chair thrower? I mean, I wasn't positively sure it was Austin throwing the chairs, but he sure acted like it had been him

I didn't mention that I was back at the alternative education center in last week's posts because I had other things to post about. It was third period. I had two students. They were nominally on task as I could monitor as I sat next to them while they worked.

One of the boys brought up Austin. He had been in the class where the chair throwing occurred. The other boy hadn't. Boy 1 told boy 2 all about it. Boy 1 had seen Austin throw the chairs, so now I know. For certain. (Of course boy 1 never said anything before because they would never "snitch" on each other.) 

Anyway, the reason they can now talk all about it is because Austin is gone. He either ran away or he's in juvie. (Or he ran away and then ended up in juvie.) Rumors have been flying, but nothing's confirmed. 

It's a sad story, really. Austin needs help. But... 

TEN

I got to see Lou. I had a last period prep, so I got to go home early. As I walked off campus, Lou was sitting there. He said hello. (Or I wouldn't have seen him.) 

The way the block schedule works at that school, not everyone has a last period, so Lou was out of school validly. 

The next day I heard Lou call to me while I was heading towards the bathroom. I didn't get a chance to say hi, though. It was between periods, and he really needed to get back to class.

ELEVEN

Remember Austin who liked to take twenty minute restroom breaks? Apparently, the school has instituted a floaters list since I last had him in class. He was in the eighth period chemistry class. As expected, he requested a restroom pass. 

Floaters aren't trusted to leave class, so he had to be escorted. I called the office for his escort. (When I said I had to do this as I had been warned about this in the lesson plans, he acted like he had no idea what I was talking about.) Austin hovered about the door. It had only been a couple minutes, but he complained he "really had to go". Sure. Just as I called the office back (as he insisted I do), security arrived. (The lady in the office commented that he was a bit of a drama queen. Yup. Can confirm.)

TWELVE

I arrived at the high school for a day of AP geography and AP economics (read: an easy day). The secretary asked if I would cover an extra period (as per normal). Then she told me what class, and I remembered the last time I had covered that class.

And yet, this is the first time you're hearing about this. As luck would have it, not every terrible class is always terrible. They were actually pretty mellow on this day. Of course, they were allowed to have computers (they weren't the previous time). So, they played games and didn't attempt to entertain themselves in inappropriate ways. (And, of course, it's a new semester, so the health students are now in geography.) 

THIRTEEN

Standing outside the classroom during passing period, a student walked by, saw me, and said, "You wrote a bad note about me. My teacher called my mom, and she wasn't happy." 

Was I supposed to be sorry? I'm all for telling the mom all about it

Later, I realized it was fake Evan. Which begs the question: was he in trouble for being fake Evan or for playing around in choir? I assume it's the latter as he said nothing to me when he was in choir. But, I didn't write a note then. I just talked to his teacher.

Hence, my confusion. But he was long gone. *shrugs*

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

A Change of Venue

Wednesday. Fifth period. 

For my extra period assignment for the day, I was assigned to the learning center. This is a pretty easy gig. Any students needing a quiet room for a test are sent there. Many days I spend the period alone.

I got into the classroom and settled in. 

The door opened. Three teachers and a student entered. "We're doing an IEP meeting..."

Uh. Okay. Where do I go...?

This sort of thing happens from time to time. The learning center is an empty room, and they appropriate it for meetings on occasion. 

Of course, I knew of a classroom that was empty that period. And I even had a key for it.

It felt like cheating. I could sit in the classroom I'd been in all day, but this time on an actual prep period? And getting paid extra for it? 

Yeah, that's too good to be true.

As I headed back to the other room, a student headed in. He had been sent out of his biology class to finish a test from a previous day. Well, that's the class I was covering, so I told him to follow me.

Just when he and I got settled, the phone rang. A co-teacher needed to bring her students in because it was test day. (In co-taught classes, the special ed teacher may pull their students out to test with them all in a different room.) Well, that's the class I was covering... 

And it no longer felt like cheating. But that's cool, as I was getting paid to cover that extra period.

Funnily enough, three students in the class had been in the Spanish class that day. One girl had just been in fourth period. 

It's still an easier period than some extra periods I've covered

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Books to Order

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements πŸ˜‰ 

While perusing Twitter, I stumbled across this: 

Uh oh... 

What if we could just request AI to write us a book we want to read (as opposed to looking through the books available and picking one)? 

I'm not hoping for this sort of future. Many of us are writers, and this is a nightmare. But sometimes you just want a specific kind of story, and AI could write it? I've got lots of conflicting thoughts on this.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Plodding Along

I haven't made a whole lot of progress on the pillowcase...

...although it's coming along. 

But, the other day I was checking my Etsy shop (which is just patterns right now), and I saw an image for a pattern. I clicked, and now I'm obsessed. 

Because of copyright concerns, I won't post a pic, but if you click on this link, you'll see it. Go to the second "image" and it's a video of various iterations of the design. (If you don't want to click the link, it's crocheted ear cuffs that look like leaves or butterflies or lacy things.)

I have absolutely no use for these things, and I doubt I'd ever actually wear them, but still I want. That's a reasonable price for a pattern, and it doesn't look like it would be too difficult to do. 

I'll hem and haw for a while. It'll likely be a couple months before I jump in and do it. (Although, if someone wants them, I would totally make them for you. The pattern writer says people can sell the finished product so long as we credit her as the designer. Just let me know...) 

At least I have something to keep my hands busy while I work up the energy to start something new.

That's the pillow this piece is going to go on. I hope I got the math right and it's wide enough. (In person it looks about right.) 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Locked Down

Some days are just weird.

I had taken the gig fully aware that it was a roving situation. When I inquired further, I was told that several teachers were being filmed for a video promoting the career and technical classes. The teachers would need time out of class for their interviews, but not a whole period, and especially not a whole day.

I do love a good roving assignment.

When I arrived on Friday, I learned that the interviews weren't starting until noon. (School starts at 8:30.) I was given a class to cover for one period, but I would have the second block off.

So, second block, sitting in the teacher's lounge, I was waiting. And then an announcement...

We were going into lockdown. 

(Later I learned that there was a robbery nearby. The suspect fled. In an abundance of caution, the sheriff's department locked down us and the nearby elementary school. The suspect never entered either campus.) 

Students go a bit nuts when they hear lockdown. Suddenly half the class has to use the restroom. And they know we can't send them out of class, so they misbehave more than normal. (I know this from experience.) 

Luckily, I had no students. I had a nearby bathroom. And I had comfortable couches to sit on. 

Yeah, I don't mind this sort of lockdown.

The lockdown lasted almost an hour. Of course, that meant that the interviews would start late as we weren't allowed out until after noon. (It was just after noon, though. Maybe five minutes.) And the teachers I relieved were a bit frazzled as they had had full rooms of students during said lockdown.

I lucked out.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Activity

It was Wednesday at the continuation high school. Advisory. 

Advisory is a short period between periods one and two that occurs only on Wednesdays. Back in the day (I've been doing this a long time), it was the time when the students would get printouts of their graduation status. With computers and access online to their records, they don't need this information once a week (they still get those printouts about once a month), so advisory has evolved.

On this day, the ASB was conducting an activity. While I was reading the usual announcements (this is the time when they deal with administrative stuff the students need to do), the counselor came over the intercom to let us know to release the students to the quad. 

I've been at the school for games of musical chairs. I've seen some interesting games. But this was the first time the students were lined up for something and I didn't hear any sort of explanation as to what they were doing. 

They all seemed to understand the game already. 

I gleaned the rules from watching. After, I asked a student what they had been playing.

It's a game called Sharks vs. Minnows. Apparently, it's a well-known elementary school playground game. 

This is actually a good tip for dealing with teenagers: they do like doing stuff from their "childhood". (The trick is to do it with full awareness that they are Too Old for This.) 

Unlike the earlier games I had seen, this time they had plenty of volunteers. We only had one injury when a boy slipped and fell. (He complained that he was wearing Crocs which don't really work well for a running game.) 

As for the game: in the middle of the basketball court, four students lined up. They were the sharks. At the edge of the court ten-ish students lined up. They were the minnows.

At the start of the game, the minnows were to run across the court and make it to the other side. If the sharks tagged them, they were out (and became sharks, although some just stepped out of the game). They went back and forth across the court until all the minnows got tagged out. (I would have assumed that someone should win, but they had that last kiddo run across one last time. With four plus sharks, the kiddo was doomed.) 

Cute game, but completely new to me. Have any of you heard of this game before?

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Pulled

Fifth period. I was covering the special ed teacher (Ms. A) of a co-taught seventh grade math class. 

The bell rang. The general ed teacher, Ms. M, gave instructions. The students logged into Quizizz where they had questions to answer. 

Nash rolled in. Ms. A's first period was seventh grade English which also had Nash as a student. The first period general ed English teacher warned me about Nash, and I spent much of first period hovering over him, trying to get him to do some work. (I failed.) 

So, I knew where I was going to be. I had to tell Nash three times to get a computer for the assignment. Then I waited while he took his time logging into the Quizizz. (He was late to class. The other students were already on task.) 

Then the class' phone rang. I was on the other side of the room, so Ms. M picked up the phone. 

It was for me. The secretary was pulling me from the class and sending me to cover a different class entirely. 

Classes that are co-taught have the two teachers so that the special ed students can get the help they need while they are in a general ed class. I'm there for extra support. I'm actually covering for a teacher. But when there's a class with no teacher...

I grabbed my stuff and headed out. I found the class standing outside, waiting. Security arrived at about the same time, and he unlocked the door and let us in.

It was an intensive ELD (English language development) class. They had bookwork which they got right to. This was all pretty impressive considering that they were a middle school group that had been stuck outside for several minutes waiting for someone to arrive. 

I wondered what had happened. Had the teacher suddenly taken ill? 

We got through class. It went well. 

Then it was time for me to check out for the day, and I learned why they had to scramble for coverage.

What the schools are doing now is giving the teachers a spreadsheet of the periods they need coverage for. The teachers sign up to cover those extra periods. (They get paid extra for it.) 

The class actually had had another teacher sign up to cover, but that teacher had to cancel at the last minute. 

I am no stranger to last minute changes. It is kind of part of the job.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Love Is Love

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements πŸ˜‰ 

What if your marriage was suddenly illegal? (For example, what if some governmental entity decided incompatible blood types couldn't intermarry? Or, what if both parties had to have been baptized into the same religion since childhood? Or, what if you could only be married to someone who was born in the same geographical region as you?)

Monday, February 13, 2023

Keeping It Simple

Progress has been made (since last week): 

I haven't really worked on it that much, but because the yarn is bulky, it works up quicker. 

I'm using a simple stitch pattern called the Escalator Pattern. As the yarn is bulky, fuzzy, and variegated, using a complicated stitch pattern is just more trouble than it's worth. 

Stitch definition is really hard to see in the pictures. In this case, less is more when it comes to a stitch pattern. 

I'll keep plugging away at this. Hopefully I've got enough yarn to complete the whole pillow. I rather think I do at this moment.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Sniping at Each Other

Digital art. Sixth period. 

It had been a weird art day. The classes were mostly silent. (Art classes are generally very talkative.) So, sixth period gave me a bit of culture shock when they weren't. 

Of course, the class was filled with mostly freshmen...

Two boys were sniping at each other from across the room. One insulted the other boy's hair. The other questioned the first boy's sports prowess. And on it went. 

Then:

Boy 1: "Stay in your corner, big man." (By his tone of voice, he meant "big" as "fat".)

Boy 2: "Stay at McDonalds, big man." 

This exchange got everyone's attention. It was repeated twice by others as some had missed the nuances. (Picture me shaking my head.) Someone chimed in to say that boy 2 was being racist. 

Boy 2: "Not gonna lie, that was kinda racist."

Another boy entirely: "You both are the same race!"

Ah, the joys of freshmen...

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Consequences

On Friday, I covered a choir teacher who had been out for a couple weeks, and so the other music teachers were picking up some of the slack on things that she would normally cover. (Her classes were being covered by her student teacher from last semester, but he couldn't cover the class on this day.) 

So, for second period, I was to switch classes with the teacher next door. Ms. C was going to evaluate the girls' choir while I watched her group. 

Ms. C got her class started. I took roll and had the girls begin their vocal warm ups. Then we switched classes.

Ms. C's students were to work on some music theory stuff (identifying the notes on a keyboard, something about identifying notes, and Pasta or Composer?). If they behaved, half way through the class they would get to watch a movie. (Ms. C warned me that they did better with rewards.) 

When I arrived, the students were working. I scanned the room. I recognized about half her students, but not in a good way. 

The only student not on task was Alyssa. She was doing her makeup. Normally, I would probably say something, but Alyssa kind of scares me. She's not yet 14, but I'm pretty sure she's in a gang. I find it's easier to just let her be. 

I took a look at the clock, did some calculations, and figured that 10:15 was when I'd start the movie. I watched them work.

And they worked well, for a few minutes. 

Then the class slowly slipped off task.

A couple students attempted to sit near their friends. (Teachers assign seats for a reason. It's best to keep them in assigned seats.) I shooed them back. They resisted. 

Then fake Evan made his way to Alyssa, and things devolved from there.

It's like Whac-a-Mole. Get one student dealt with only to have a new problem crop up somewhere else. 

But then it was 10:15. And I had a choice. They hadn't been good, really. But perhaps a movie would settle them. It was worth a shot.

Ms. C had left The Emperor's New Groove cued up. I went to start it...

"Ms. C said we could choose the movie."

"Put on Friday." 

"I know how to change the movie. It's really easy..." 

Yeah, I know how to change the movie, too. But Ms. C had left a movie ready, so that was the movie they were going to watch. 

I started the movie...

Someone closed the door and turned out the lights...

And five different misbehaviors instantly erupted. (Students chasing students. A group congregated in a corner. Some battle happened.) 

I turned off the movie. I turned on the lights.

"Hey..."

Nope. They lost the movie. 

They protested. Ms. C promised, they whined. 

"It's Black History Month. Teachers have been doing nice things for Black students because of it. So, you should put a movie back on." 

Nope. They lost the movie. 

I explained this twice. After that, I stopped replying. They weren't listening, and I wasn't changing my mind.

"Are you going to leave a good note?" 

I didn't even dignify that with a response. I sat and stared at them.

A note? Pshaw. Their teacher was next door. I told her all of this during the following passing period.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Making Me Look Good

Seventh grade English. Third period. 

The assignment: read an article about gladiators as a class. (Then they had questions to answer.) 

Reading... Well, it can be a challenge. I had one boy who at first read as if he couldn't read (but clearly it was an act as his pauses were way too regular) and then he read with an accent (that varied). 

Then I get to deal with the students who are all, "Where are we?" when they get called on. (The paragraphs were clearly numbered, and yet I'd have to repeat what paragraph we were on multiple times.) 

All the while, other students would be talking, so I'd have to shush them and wait for them to bring their attention back to the task at hand. 

(I so prefer when teachers have them read things on their own. I understand why reading together is better, as some of them clearly need the practice. Then many of them won't do the reading and will delve directly into the questions. But it's always a battle as we don't have the trust and relationship that they have with their regular teacher.) 

So, we were in the midst of it when two adults walked into the room. 

This happens. Counselors will appear to pull out a student. Same with security. Administration will pop in to do a dress code check. Another teacher might be looking for the teacher I'm covering. 

I recognized one as a teacher I've covered a few times (who is not teaching this year but doing some administrative stuff). The other I had not seen before.

But, the entire class got quiet. And attentive. 

Score!

We finished off a paragraph, and the two left. 

"Who were they?" the students asked. 

I gave them Ms. M's name, but I admitted I did not know the man. 

Class went back to how it was before the visit.

As I left for the day, the man came up to say hi and introduce himself.

He's the principal.

(The school has a new principal this year. He had been hired from outside the district, so I hadn't encountered him before this. I generally know the administrators. Really, I do.)

At least the class behaved at the moment I needed them to. 

Classes don't always make me look good when the principal comes around, but sometimes I luck out.