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 😉 

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


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. 


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.) 


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.


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.


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.) 


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.


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.) 


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.")


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.) 


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... 


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.


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.)


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.) 


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 😉 

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


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 😉 

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. 


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


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.


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. 


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. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Visiting the Gas Giant

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 😉 

What if we could take a "cruise" to Jupiter?

Monday, February 6, 2023

A Start

The yarn I pulled out three or four weeks back...

...has been cast on to needles, and a project is underway...

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like much at the moment. It's much wider than the needles are long. 

Ideally, it'll become a body pillow cover. It's going well, but my knitting/crocheting hasn't been working out as well as it usually does, so I take nothing for granted. I'll update one way or the other.

Got any good projects going this week?

Friday, February 3, 2023


Friday. The continuation high school. Technically, the class was woodshop, but due to safety concerns, we were in the teacher's other classroom where he teaches graphic arts. 

I don't know why the topic of prom came up other than they do start talking about it as early as October. 

Cole: "Are they going to have a DJ?"

Wanda: "Yes. Me. I'm going to DJ prom."

Cole: "Oh, well, then I'm not going..."

And the rest of the class erupted in laughter. 

Deep sigh. 

Cole: "There'll be like eleven, twelve people there..."

Yeah, I don't think so. 

Prom is popular. If it wasn't, they would have stopped having it by now. There'll be a crowd. And the way Wanda talked, it sounds like she's a professional DJ. I'm sure she knows what she's doing.

Kids are cruel. And I imagine Cole will be eating his words.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Spanish Week

I tend to avoid covering Spanish classes. I took French. But sometimes I don't have much of a choice.

January tends to be a slow month, subbing wise. Last week, I had prescheduled assignments for Monday and Friday. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday's assignments only popped up in the evening the night before. These assignments came so late that I was figuring I might not work those days. (Although, there was still the possibility that I'd get something in the middle of the night.) 

This is why I took the Spanish classes. Two different classes. Two different schools. Two days in a row.

(I have covered both teachers in the past. Tuesday's. Wednesday's.) 

Sometimes, I go through themes. I may hit a bunch of tenth grade classes. I might get a cluster of days at the continuation high school. I might go on an English bender. 

Because both teachers called out last minute, they hadn't prepared the usual detailed lesson plans. All they left in the scheduling app was a brief, "The work is in Google Classroom," message.

That's generally sufficient. The students know how to log in as they normally have assignments there. While I don't know what they're doing specifically, if the class is trustworthy enough, they'll get the work done without my hovering over them. 

And, for the most part, things went well. One class needed textbooks, which they got up and got off the bookshelves. One class had to take a Scantron "test", and they told me where those forms were located. 

But then there was fourth period on the first Spanish day. I told them their assignment was in Google Classroom...

"We don't have a Google Classroom..." 


We are in the third week of the second semester. The teachers created a new class in Google Classroom for the spring semester, closing down the fall semester Google Classroom. 

I would have doubted the kiddos were telling the truth, but this was a Spanish 5 class, which is also AP and filled with seniors. They had no reason to lie. 

I mean, I can see how the teacher might have not gotten around to creating a new Google Classroom for them. 

I asked if the teacher had any other way of communicating with them. I wondered if she had created a Google Classroom knowing she'd be out. (They checked. They didn't have a new one pop up.) 

So, what to do with a class with no lesson plans? 

This was the sort of class populated with academically-minded kiddos. So, I told them they had the period to complete any work they needed to complete for any other classes. This does not work in a middle school class or a core class filled with the general school population. They take it as "free time" and play. But AP classes actually make use of the time.

I saw one student pull out a calculator. A couple of them were clearly working on some project, probably social studies. A couple of them pulled out books to read. 

A couple of them played games on their phones, but the majority actually used the time to do other work. 

Not ideal, but there was no way I was going to figure out something else for them to do on such short notice in a subject I know very little about.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Two Scenes from Math Class

Monday. Ninth grade math. (It's kind of a combo of algebra and geometry.) I had covered the class the prior Thursday and Friday, so I kind of knew what I was in for. 

Actually, I kind of knew what I was in for before I took the assignment, and that was confirmed when I saw the class rosters. I recognized many names from success seminar in October

I just can't narrow it down, so I've got two stories for you.

It was getting towards the end of the first class of the day. I had offered to help them with the assignment. (They were graphing exponential functions.) No takers. 

Then, one boy: "Will you give me the answers if I pay you one dollar?"

I expressed how insulted I was at that price. So, they raised it, first to five dollars, and then to ten. I explained that they would be buying my expertise, and I took all the math in college. (Well, not all the math. I wasn't a math major. But I took the basic calculus sequence, and I ruined the curve in a senior level math class.) 

I wasn't about to give them answers. "I will help you do it, though." 

"How much do you want for that?" 

Me: "That is what the school is paying me to be here to do. I will help you for free." 

Alas, we had less than ten minutes of class, so I only got to help one boy with one problem. If only they had asked sooner...

In the next period, I had two girls who I remembered well from success seminar. Not in a good way.

They took seats in the corner, and while there was a lot of giggling, at least it was fairly quiet giggling. (The room was nearly silent, which surprised me.) 

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied them pulling something out of a backpack. I got up to investigate.

Marta dropped the item immediately. It made a big clunk. 

I only caught a glimpse, but it appeared to be a flat iron. You know, for hair? (It could have been a curling iron, but it was a bit bulkier than that.) 

Marta was standing, so she quickly plugged the thing into the wall. (I should mention that the room was carpeted.)

I told her to unplug the thing. She hesitated, but did. I told her to put it away. She said she would, but made no move to do so.

So, I hovered. I wasn't right next to her, but I was in the front of the room in front of her and Kristen. 

Eventually, Marta sat back down in her seat. I took that as my cue to go back to my station. I kept an eye on them. I never saw them put away the flat iron, but they didn't start doing each other's hair, so that was a win.

(I have seen girls do their own or each other's hair in class before, but never before with an appliance. I mean, I don't allow it, but sometimes they do not listen and do what they want to do anyway.)

I thought if I wrote both stories out I'd figure out which one I'd post. I still can't decide, so I'll leave them both for you. I was really glad to see the end of that day.