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.


  1. Do you ever get a really good student or are the students in your Calif area a challenge? lol...just wondering.

    1. Good classes don't make for interesting blog posts. On Monday I had 8th grade classes. We read the chapter together. Each student read when it was their turn. Then they had a word scramble to work on. They worked together, helping each other figure the words out.

      That was my day. Easy. The kiddos got an excellent note from me. No problems.

      Yawn. Boring blog post.

  2. In a gang at fourteen? That's awful. Poor kid.

  3. I don’t miss being around teenagers.

  4. Nightmare. I make a good tutor. Really good for specific things, but I am terrible at classroom management.
    Good for you!

    1. I was terrible at classroom management when I started subbing. I'm not great now. But it does get easier.


I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.