Friday, March 31, 2023

Not So Slick

Thursday. Seventh grade science. First period.

I was warned in the lesson plan that the classes were challenging, although I was specifically warned about third period. (A difficult seventh grade science class? You don't say...)

In order to get ahead of potential problems, I started off tough. I urged the students to get into their seats as soon as they got in the classroom, and I warned them that they should get to work and put the cell phones away. 

The room was set up for easy strolling (see above picture), so once I got the introduction out of the way and the assignment distributed, I walked the room.

Jackson was on his phone. I stood behind him, reading the text he was sending. 

the sub needs to gtfo

"That's probably true," I said. He startled. "But it's time to put the phone away and get to work." 

He immediately flipped his phone over, but it was too late. I had seen the text. I probably should have been offended. I wasn't. The middle school sullenness and attitude when it comes to phones lately has been comical. The looks they give...

I didn't go after the phones too much. Mostly the students did their work. I kept after them to remain seated. That seemed to keep any issues from flaring up.

I wonder if Jackson was texting Jaxon. His twin. Who sat on the other side of the room and who also had his phone out. (Yes, both names are pronounced exactly the same. I wonder about their parents.) 

Thursday, March 30, 2023


Tuesday was our rainiest day last week. I happened to be covering that chemistry class that I had covered for about three weeks in August/September.

It was almost the end of first period. It had been pouring rain for much of class time. (I could hear it really coming down through the closed windows.) An assistant principal addressed the school via the public address system. 

"Attention students and teachers who are in the 100, 200, and 300 classes on the even side of the building."

And I breathed a sigh of relief. I was in the 500 building on the odd side. 

He went on to warn them not to leave their classrooms through the classroom door. The school was flooded. 

They would have to exit in a weird way going through the middle of the building. (There are inner doors that lead to a classroom in the middle of the building. Long story. But they could get into the inner classroom and then out the door from that classroom.) The assistant principal explained what they would do, but most of the adults on campus didn't need more than a basic instruction as we know how that works. 

The bell rang and my group left. From my vantage point from the classroom door, I could see the even side of the 100 building. 

The area between the buildings had basically turned into a lake.

If anyone had opened those doors, they would have stepped down into about a foot of water. I mean, that's not terrible, but they all would have been sopping wet. 

(On the other side, the water reached about half of the sidewalk, so while there were puddles, one wouldn't be walking through a foot of water.) 

During the next class, the rain let up, and the principal called in workers to pump out the water. I could hear the pump from the classroom. And by the next passing period, students could again enter and exit those classes as normal. 

I have seen the school flood like that before, but not for a long time, and not to that extreme. When I say we're not built for the rain here, I truly mean that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Such a Karen

Monday. Fifth period accounting. 

They were half doing the assignment, half talking about random stuff. 

The phone rang. It was the attendance office. Demetrius was going home.

This happens a lot. When a student has an appointment or the parent wants to pick them up for any reason, they go to the attendance office. The attendance office calls the class. They tell me who they need. And I send the kiddo.

Many times the student is expecting the call and will already be ready to go. I've had a couple times where the phone rings and the student leaves before I even have a chance to say anything. But usually we at least exchange a glance.

I checked the seating chart for where Demetrius was. I called his name. I told him to get his stuff, he was going home.

Only, he wasn't happy about it.

"Really. On a Monday*... Why? Why do I have to leave? I don't want to leave."

At this point, it's not up to me. He's been summoned. I told him he could take it up with the individual who had shown up to pick him up. 

He left. 

His friends...

"If Demetrius was a girl, he would be a Karen." 

I couldn't help it. I laughed. 

Demetrius didn't return to class. I assume there was a reason he was picked up.

*Monday is our short day, when school starts an hour and a half later and the classes are shortened. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Not Going to Fix It

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 have the solution to someone else's problem, but that person is someone you do not get along with? (I'll specify that the other person is someone you know. They never did anything terrible to you, but you and they have never been friends nor wanted to be.)

Monday, March 27, 2023

A Small Addition

I didn't touch the pillow cover once last week. 

(Well, that's not entirely true. I pulled it out to photograph to create a new background image for the blog. But my computer's being difficult--slow, laggy, every other page is "not responding"--and I didn't have the patience to do all the manipulation to get the image up onto the blog.) 

Instead, I pulled out the seven (and a half) year cardi...

This winter has been particularly cold for us, so I've had the opportunity to pull out many of my sweaters and various knits that I don't get much of a chance to wear. I've had a chance to wear the seven (and a half) year cardi several times now. 

With all this wear, I came to a conclusion. It needed buttons.

When I finished it, I didn't add buttons mostly because I hadn't decided on buttons. Did I want them? What kind? Did I want to try another closure? (I made a lot of decisions on the fly.) 

And mostly, I just wanted to be done with the thing.

But with multiple wears, I realized that I needed something to pin it shut. Occasionally. So, last week I decided to figure it out.

I found buttons in my stash.

("Vintage". I have so many buttons acquired by family in the '60s, '70s, and before and after.) 

I dug out the yarn I had used. I took an evening to eyeball where I thought the buttons should go and attached them. 

Then the next day I tried on the sweater and realized that where I had placed the buttons just would not do.

So, I ripped them out and tried again.

I tried it on. Measured. Made sure the buttons and button loops were at the exact same place in the pattern on either side. Double checked. Attached the buttons. Tried the thing on, just to be triply sure. And then I wound in the ends.

Only three buttons (the fourth on the package was used ages ago), but that's sufficient for what I wanted.

We're supposed to have a couple chilly (and rainy) days next week, so I should get a chance to try it out. 

That's one of the great things about wearing a cardigan I knit myself. I can modify anything I want as I determine I need to.

Hopefully I'll get back to the pillow case this week.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Peer Pressure

Friday, St. Patrick's Day. It was a minimum day for the end of the quarter. 

(In 2020, the last day of the third quarter was the last day we had school. We shut down and stayed home that following Monday. So, the last day of the third quarter now makes me pause.) 

I was on my way out. I had to stop in the attendance office to submit my attendance for the day.

(This is not a usual occurrence. We usually are given a temp login for the online attendance. But, the secretary in charge of subs quit on us--long story--so another secretary, who's now doing her job as well as her own and a third secretary's who's been out for months, can't login to assign us logins. It's a tech issue. They're working on it.) 

The attendance clerk was busy. A student was using her phone, talking to his mother. 

I guess the minimum day had taken him by surprise. He was requesting a ride home. (Read: he was haranguing his mother about the change in schedule which he should have been aware of as it was on the school calendar, and I'm sure his teachers had mentioned it a few times.)

His mother's reply: his grandmother was already there, waiting for him.

He looked out the window. He saw her car. 

So, he was wrapping up the conversation. He was about to leave. 

He had two friends with him. The two friends were not pleased with the way the boy was getting ready to just leave. 

"Now, tell your mom 'bye' and that you love her." 

The boys were not going to have their friend disrespect his mother. 

It took him a moment, but then he did as they asked. 

The attendance clerk and I shared a glance. We both laughed. 

The boys left. I turned in my attendance to the clerk. And I headed out.

Some boys know how to treat their mothers. They expect that others do the same. 

Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Protecting my Cardi

Wednesday I was back at the continuation high school, this time for the English class. 

They were working on a poetry unit. (They were also doing a blackout poem, like the class I posted about yesterday. It's funny how certain things recur over different classes and even at different schools.) Most of them were working on a haiku

They were to paint a picture and then write out the haiku on it. Many of them were still working on the paintings. So, paints were out. And paint got everywhere...

It's been chilly here in SoCal. I've been getting some wear out of my sweaters. 

At first I was hesitant to wear my seven (and a half) year cardi. I've been paranoid. What if I snag it or something happens and I damage it? 

But, every time I've worn it, I get a little less worried. I don't generally damage my clothes. And it's nice to get some wear out of the cardi I worked on for so long.

I didn't know I'd be dodging paint, so I wore the cardi. 

I didn't think about it too much until I went to straighten up the paints, and I got white paint on my hand.

My hand. Just my hand. I kept well away from the paint after that. 

I shuddered in horror when a student found she had gotten paint splatter on her jacket. (She went to the restroom and tried to clean it off.) 

Somehow I lucked out. My cardi is intact. And paint-free.

Sixth period. This was the orientation group. The school gets a new batch of students about every month. The new students have a time where they all take the same classes to get used to the new school. 

There were a few familiar faces. 

One of them was Marta

I... uh... can't say I was surprised to see her there. Nope. Not surprised at all. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


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


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


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.


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. 


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


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


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.