Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Gym/Special Ed Teacher (Days 3 & 4)

I've had a mini long-term subbing job this past week.

The past two days my 7th grade gym class has played a variation of capture the flag.  I wouldn't have made them play it today, except they BEGGED that we play it again.  Part of the game's mechanics involved large (3'x5') padded mats on the floor, which served as "safe zones."  Because they were padded, kids liked to dive onto them head first.  This resulted in a LOT of head-to-head collisions.  Luckily there were no serious injuries.

Most of the classes I had were high school resource rooms.  Today was the last day before winter break, and no one was giving home work.  The kids pretty much just played games on the computer while I read.

I spent the day telling countering "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Winter Solstice."
The kids were confused.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Gym/Special Ed Teacher (Day 2)

We played kick ball in 7th grade gym class today.  It wasn't even "regular," boring kick ball, it was 5-base kick ball.  We also used a GIANT rubber ball.  It was all those kids could do to get it airborne.  Two of the girls were really tiny, and I had to suppress a laugh whenever they ran at the ball and caught it, nearly knocking them over in the process.

The following conversation took place in one of the special ed classes (actually, it is more of a resource room, a quiet, calmer place for some kids to come work on stuff for other classes).

Student:  What's 30/40?
Mr. C: Oh, come on.  You can do that one in your head.  It's three-fourths, or .75
Student:  Sure, you can do it.  You know there's a reason we're in this room...
Mr. C: ..... *shakes head*
(Time passes)
Student: Oh! 30 starts with a 3 and 40 starts with a 4!  That IS easy!
Mr. C: Yup.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Gym/Special Ed Teacher

Seventh graders are weird.  I played dodge ball with a class today, and after a girl got out, rather than run off to the side, she decided to spin in helicopter circles across the gym.

One boy told me that he has a metal plate in his head, and that it hurts when he sticks magnets to it.  I told him to stop sticking magnets to his head.  He agreed that it would be a good idea.
He then went on to tell me that the reason the plate is there, is because he got his head caught in one of those bouncy playground toys that sit atop a giant spring.  Later a teacher told me that this isn't true, and that the kid likes to make up stories.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I covered IEP meetings today.  It was similar to another job I wrote about, about a month ago (more or less, I haven't actually looked it up).
I ended up with about two and a half hours of down time in the middle of the day, plus several 15-20 blocks throughout the day.

Most of the teachers didn't even know they had a meeting until I showed up.

I covered for a science teacher who was conducting a cool experiment with middle school students.  They were filling glass bottles with varying amounts of water and comparing the pitch made by tapping them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

An English Teacher

I had some very interesting lesson plans, which the teacher left written on the whiteboard for everyone to see.  Rather than describe them, I just wrote them down.  

Here are the highlights.  

Dear Classes,
These notes are for you.  Do not deviate from the plans.  Also, enjoy working hard while I am not (working hard, that is).
                      With cold, unfeeling and remorseless love,
                                 [Teacher's name]

 Eng. 9B
Students Will:
A) Do everything 9A is doing
B) Try not to be your lame selves

Students Will:
A) Do work, son!
B) Obey, [student name]
C) Try not to behave like complete animals

Guided Academics
Students Will:
A) Behave: Or else!
B) Stay seated, silent, and composed
C) Try to not be the ridiculous middle-school students you are

Friday, December 9, 2011

A High School Science Teacher and a High School History Teacher

I covered some meetings today for a history teacher, then a science teacher.

We got to watch a couple episodes of I,Caveman today.  It was pretty neat.

Also, I forgot to add this yesterday...

A skeleton, locked firmly in the closet.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A High School Social Studies Teacher.

I subbed today for a high school social studies teacher.

My 4th period class was out in one of the portable classrooms behind the school.  I'm glad I made sure to get there early, because the heat hadn't been on all day and it was freezing in there.  His lesson plans also strongly implied that the rest of my classes for the day were out there.  Since the building did not have bells, and its clock wasn't synced to the building clocks it took a couple extra minutes for me to realize "oh, hey... no kids are showing up."  I was a couple minutes late for my next class.  Oops.

Apparently one of the teachers at this school told the kids that I am mixed-martial arts instructor, and that there are a handful of states I'm not allowed to teach in because my hands are considered "deadly weapons."  I picked up on what they were talking about just in time to act very humble and say, "I can't really talk about this."
Sadly, the teacher was gone today so I couldn't ask him about it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Senior English Teacher

I subbed for a senior English teacher today.

The school was having some tech issues this morning, and could not get online to access emails.  The teacher I was subbing for had emailed in her lesson plans, with the idea that the office would print them off to me.  Instead,  the office had to call her and ask her to email them to me, where I could then read them on my phone.  It really wasn't a big deal, but it did mean that I had to be looking at my phone off and on all day.
I'm sure at some point someone important walked by and saw me, then put me on the school's blacklist.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Elementary Music Teacher

I subbed today for an elementary music teacher.

I was in a building for the first time today.  They actually gave me the code to get into the staff restroom.  I've never felt so welcome.  No, seriously.  This is a big deal.

Also, I got to watch The King and I, nearly all the way through.  It was surprisingly good.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A 6th Grade English Teacher

I subbed for a sixth grade English teacher today.

Kids think it's hilarious whenever I can't find the flag when it comes time to Pledge Allegiance.

Student: Is banana good when mixed with asparagus?
Mr. C.: I have no idea, never tried it.  Next question?

You know a school is in serious trouble when, over the course of the same summer, they lose both their in-school detention teacher AND their librarian.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A High School English Teacher

I subbed for a high school English teacher today.

The lesson plans, while much longer than necessary, only had the kids "finish their notebooks, then free-read.  They should be absolutely silent."
I understand that this must have been a very sudden and unexpected absence, but that is still not much for me to work with, especially when one class has 30 students, and another has 40.
Yeah, 40 students in one tiny, ultra-cramped English classroom.  I would truly like to know how he keeps order.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A 7th Grade Math Teacher

I subbed today for a seventh day math teacher.

I'm not sure if the kids were really good today, or if they were so bad that I got numb to it really quickly.  Each class period had at least one kid that I really had to keep pressure on, in order to keep everything under control.

Why is it that a kid will go out of his way to provoke the other kid who has known severe anger issues?

So, my final class period of the day was also my prep period.  In every school I've ever worked at, this means that I get to go home early, unless they need me to cover somewhere else.  So, after I finished up in the classroom (finishing a note, straightening up, etc) I headed down to the office to turn in my key and ask if they needed anything else from me.  She seemed rather indignant that I would even ASK about heading home early.  She even said, "you're contracted until 3, right?  I'm pretty sure that means you need to stay."  While that may read innocent, there was some attitude behind in.  As I've mentioned in past posts, I've worked in a lot of schools over the past few years, and this is the first time I've ever encountered this.
Also, don't misunderstand my intentions here.  I'm not complaining that I had to stick around a few extra minutes.  I mean, I just closed the classroom door and played Angry Birds on my phone.  I just don't get why they have to be rude about it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Middle School Art Teacher

I subbed today for a middle school art teacher.

Today was an interesting day.  It was a combination of the "keep working on project" and "put in a movie" days.  Three of the six classes I had today got to watch a riveting docu-drama on Claude Monet.  The last two classes got to watch Scooby-Doo.
The first class was really excited about this, up until they realized I wasn't talking about the movie with Sarah Michelle Gellar.  After that a few of them had the nerve to actually complain.
After two episodes of Scooby-Doo, an episode of Huckleberry Hound came on.  The kids really found this interesting, since it exposed them to a degree of cartoon violence that they had clearly never encountered (in school, at least).  In the episode, H. Hound took on the role of a lion tamer.  I would describe it, but you can just watch the episode below.  The scene with the pistol really blew their minds.

The end of the Scooby-Doo tape contained an episode of Dexter's Laboratory.  I THINK it might have been the pilot, but I'm not exactly sure.  I did a quick search of YouTube and couldn't find it.  What chilled me right to the bone was that a few kids had actually never heard of the show.

Lastly, I've got a new picture of myself.  This may just be the best one yet.  When you see it, the girl wasn't trying to make fun of me.  She'd actually drawn several pictures of her classmates in the exact same "pose," for lack of a better word.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Geometry/Science Teacher

I subbed today for the same teacher as yesterday.

A group of students began telling me some horror stories about other subs they've had.  These stories ranged from examples of unabashed racism to sexual harassment.
Knowing teenagers, I'm sure there was at least some exaggeration to their stories, though if they were only half true they were still pretty outrageous.
While I know that I have never done anything even remotely similar to what these kids described, it did still make me worry about how a tasteless joke or misheard word could quickly escalate into a career destroying  rumor.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

A High School Science/Geometry Teacher

I subbed today for a high school science/geometry teacher.

I got another lesson plan saying, "students are working on a project.  They know what to do."  What made this one different is that it ended with, "if they finish early, they can just do homework or whatever."  Today was the first day back from Thanksgiving break, and it was second period.  They didn't have any homework.

Geometry student: "So, do you actually know how to do this stuff or are you just kinda here?"
Mr. C: "....[insert explanation on how to find the interior angles of a triangle].  Get it?"
Geometry student: "oh, yeah, thanks."

During the last class period we were watching an episode of a documentary series on the universe.  Somewhere during the middle of it a kid comes up to me and hands me his phone with some puzzle game on the screen.
Kid: "Can you beat this level for me?"
Mr. C: "What?  Are you serious?"
Kid: "...yes?"
Mr. C: "No, and I'm going to just hang on to this until the end of class."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A High School English Teacher

Frankly, class was boring, and nothing interesting happened during the day.  Obviously I like it when students are showing some maturity, and acting like adults, but it makes it tough to get material for this blog.

Instead, enjoy this little before school gem...

Walking into the building today, I over heard a mother yelling at her middle school age son for licking the frost off the outside of their car window.  The kid was complaining that it tasted like dirt.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Middle School English Teacher

I subbed today for a middle school English teacher.

Every class period had to go down to the computer lab at the start of class, in order to take some sort of reading test.  We were scheduled to use the main lab, which contains 30 brand new iMacs.  The kids were excited because for nearly all of them, today was their first chance to use the lab; it was mine too.  The teacher left in his notes that this should only take about 30 minutes, that ended up being a gross underestimate.  The first class period had it especially bad, because on top of the kids not knowing how to run the Mac OS, I had to discover the hard way that I needed a teacher with a master key to turn on the power to the computers to even get them running.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Middle School Band Teacher

I subbed today for a middle school band teacher, but only for half a day.

All three of the classes watched the same video production of a live concert put on by the Marsalis Brothers.  I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it way more than the kids.

I had the volume up pretty high, and some of the bass notes were slightly vibrating the walls in the back of the classroom.  There are a couple storage rooms in the back, one of which holds all the percussion instruments.  I wasn't sure what it was at first, but between classes I discovered that there were a couple snare drums up against a well.  The vibrations from the TV were making snares vibrate, so at times while the kids were watching the concert, it sounded like someone was in the back room playing the drums.  Maybe I shouldn't have told the kids that it was just a ghost getting some rehearsal time in.  They didn't REALLY believe me, but some of them were clearly uncomfortable keeping their backs to the room.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An American History Teacher

I subbed for an American History teacher today.

I got to watch a very interesting video about George Washington.  The dude was 6'3", 180 lbs.  He must have been ripped.

The school's varsity football team is going to state finals on Saturday, so they don't have school tomorrow to celebrate.  I think their priorities are clear.

I picked up today's job yesterday.  The way it works is, teachers can post leave requests online, and any sub who is online at the time can pick it up (or the system calls subs, but it is all automated).  The system is set up so that once you've got a job for any given day, you will not be offered, or even be able to see other jobs.  Imagine my surprise when I got a call this morning from the system, offering me Kindergarten job for today.  It turns out that the automated system lost ALL the data on jobs posted/accepted yesterday.
When I got to school, the secretaries were scrambling to fill jobs.  I only showed up because, at the last minute, the system posted a note explaining the problem, and said that subs should report to any jobs they had previously excepted.
Clearly this automated system is better than having humans manage the subbing data.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A High School Physics Teacher

I subbed today for a high school physics teacher.

My third and fifth periods were both taking a test.  During fourth period the teacher I was subbing for (who was out hunting) called to tell me that a bunch of the kids in third period texted her to complain about the test.  They said one of the questions was too hard, so she had me tell fifth period to skip that one.
When I was in high school, I don't remember being able to get in touch with the teacher on her day off, let alone be able to beg her into to changing test questions.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A High School Social Studies Teacher

I subbed today for a high school social studies teacher.

I sub for this teacher all the time, so the kids know me pretty well, and I'm well past the phase with them where they want to test my limits.  What this means for this blog is that nothing interesting tends to happen on days that I'm in that classroom.

Today, however, I covered a 7th grade class during what would have been my prep hour.  A kid drew a picture of me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Art Teacher

I subbed today for an art teacher at the high school and elementary levels.

I had a student ask if I was famous, obviously I said "yes."

I colored a leaf today.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Elementary Special Education Teacher

I subbed today in an elementary special ed room, specifically a resource room.

It was an easy day, over all, but it wouldn't have been without some amazing parapros.  I never would have thought that a 5 year old could be so violent.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Health/Science Teacher

I subbed today for a health/science teacher.
It was my first day in a new building.  I was surprisingly nervous about working at this particular school for the first time, and not for reasons that one might expect.  Most schools (or at least the ones I usually work in) have some sort of reputation, but I had never heard anything about this school, good or bad.  They also almost never post openings for subbing jobs; the one I picked up for today was the first I'd ever seen.
They day did end up going VERY well, though.  The teacher left very detailed lesson plans, though they were spread out over three different documents, in three different locations, and I had to mentally put them together like a puzzle.

Also, are some schools now being built with Faraday Cages around/inside of them?  I suppose that could be a good idea, it would help keep kids off their cell phones.  I discovered (during my prep, thank you very much) that I had no service on my cell whatsoever; I didn't even have access to the data network.  However, once I stepped outside the building, I had nearly full bars and full 3G network access.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A High School Science Teacher

I subbed today for a high school science teacher.

I've mentioned before that I've got the same last name as a semi-famous rapper (or whatever that genre of music is called these days).  On a related note, today some kids started calling me President.  I told them that was unacceptable, because that implies that they have some sort of say in the decision making process.  I informed them that they could instead call me either, "King," "Your Highness," or "Your Majesty," or even just "sir."
By the end of the day many of them were.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Secondary Band Teacher

I subbed today for a band teacher.

Today was a good ole fashioned movie day.  I got to see an hour of each of the following, The Nutcracker ballet, That Thing You Do, and Remember the Titans.  On top of all that, I got to see the middle 40 minutes of Tarzan, three times and the middle 40 minutes of The Little Rascals.
I guess you could say that today was a very easy day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Floating Special Education Teacher

I covered meetings today for the Special Education teachers.

I was originally scheduled for 8 half hour blocks at a time, and after each block I would move to a different classroom.  Three of the half hour blocks fell during the teachers' prep hours.  This, combined with the two hour lunch break I was scheduled meant that I had three and a half hours off in the middle of the day.  Paid.
I almost feel bad about it, except I DID stop into the office to see if they needed me for anything else during that time; they didn't.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

High School Social Studies Teacher

I subbed today for a high school social studies teacher, one whom I've subbed for many times.

I ended up having to review game, which was sort of a combination of bingo and connect-four.  I discovered that it IS, in fact, a good idea to carry a bag of several multi-sided dice with you wherever you go.  You never know when you'll need to randomly generate numbers, or even letter-number combinations.

Also, when subbing, it is absolutely essential that you have your own little bottle of hand sanitizer with you wherever you go.  Just trust me on this.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A High School Debate/English Teacher

Happy Halloween!
I subbed today for a high school debate/English teacher.

Some days, when a kid starts telling all his friends that he hates me, I feel like I'm doing my job right.
If you're told that screwing around all hour will result in your project being due a day earlier, and you then decide to sit with your buddies and make weird noises, bang your fist on the table, and yell at people, then you really shouldn't be mad at ME for the consequences.   If anything, you should THANK me for being nice enough to give you a heads up.

I've also decided that I must be on the top of this school's call this for subs.  I keep a pretty close eye on the job posting board, but I keep getting calls for jobs at this school before I even see them online.  That must just mean that I'm pretty awesome.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Spanish/English Teacher

The students were doing research on a paper about a "person, place, or thing important to a Spanish speaking nation."  We were in the classroom, and the kids were working on laptops.  While wandering around the room, making sure kids weren't playing games or on Facebook, I saw one girl's topic was Machu Picchu.  I asked her, "Picchu?  Isn't that a Pokemon?"  Long story short, it turned out she was a foreign exchange student from Brazil, and the reference was completely lost.

Later, a kid asked if he could get his headphones from his locker, to listen to music while working (which the teacher had told me was allowed).  I convinced him that I didn't know what headphones were.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A 10th Grade English Teacher

I subbed today for a 10th grade English teacher.

Being in different schools every day, I see a lot of different students every week.  Naturally, this also means that I encounter a lot of different names.  I think I've mentioned this before, but apparently it is popular to make up your own variation of common names.  I think I've gotten pretty good at sleuthing out how names are "supposed" to be pronounced; more than once I've had students tell me that "no other sub has ever gotten my name right."  The exception to this, however, comes with foreign exchange students.  I don't usually have too much trouble with kids from Spanish speaking countries, because there is a large Spanish speaking population around many of the schools I work in.  Today, though, I had two girls from an Asian country.  When I got to their names on the roll call list I paused for a second, tried out the names a few times in my head, then simply apologized to them that any attempt I might make would just slaughter their names.
At this point I was going to just continue down the list, when a couple girls they'd been talking to before class blurted out, "yeah!  How DO you say your names, anyway?"  They then turned to each other and said, "Isn't it something like, 'ching-chang-chong?'"  The two exchange students didn't seem to catch on to the blatant racism, and started to just slowly pronounce their names for the other two girls.  I squelched the whole conversation and just continued on with taking roll.

I convinced a group of students that I'd never heard of YouTube.  Instead of being shocked and horrified, as I'd hoped, they just gave each other a look, as if to say, "oh, he's old, of course he's never heard of it" and then went on to describe the site.  I was a little insulted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An English/Spanish Teacher

I subbed today for a high school English/Spanish teacher.

The kids had to pick a topic for a research project.  They had to choose a "person, place, or thing that is important to a Spanish speaking country."  A staggeringly large number of kids picked bullfighting.  Many picked baseball players, singers, and the city of Barcelona.  I had at least one kid in each class who was really unsure of what to do.  My suggestion?  El Chupacabra.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Secondary Music Teacher

I subbed today for a middle/high school music teacher.

My first two class period consisted of administering a state-wide standardized test to a small group of students with accommodations.  It was nice.  I got some solid reading done.

This teacher always has two lesson plans for ever class, those for a "music sub," and those for a "non-music sub."  I fall squarely into the second group.
We watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or at least the first hour of it.  The kids were funny, during the scene where Charlie opens his chocolate bar and discovers his ticket they all burst into applause.  Later, they fell into a dead silence during the scene in which Wonka is slowly walking down the path to the gate.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A High School English Teacher

I subbed today for a high school English Teacher.

This must have been a rather impromptu absence, because my lesson plans consisted of a sticky note on top of the movie, Hocus Pocus which read, “please show this movie to all of my classes.”
I got to watch the first hour and twenty minutes of Hocus Pocus four times.

I may have mentioned in the past that from time to time I tend to encounter some severe condescension from the faculty and staff of some buildings.  I never take it personally, because I’m sure they treat all subs that way.  One of the websites I use to accept subbing jobs has a section called “notes,” where teachers can leave brief notes (surprise, surprise) for a prospective sub.  Today a posting popped up with the following note:  “Be a teacher – not a babysitter.”  Even if the school weren’t further away than I’d like, I still wouldn’t accept a job where the teacher has an attitude with the sub before they even know who that sub is going to be. 

On a related note, I just re-checked the job site before posting this and someone out there took the job.  I sincerely wish them the best of luck.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A History/Home Economics/Aerobics Teacher

I subbed today for a teacher with a very complicated title.

I love when lesson plans just say, "the students are working on a project, they know what they should be doing."
Sometimes I'll get lucky and one or two students in a class will know what the teacher is talking about.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Middle School Math Teacher

I subbed today for a notoriously difficult group of 7th graders.  I managed to keep them silent and on-task for a solid 40 minutes.  How?  I played some Boston, Journey, and The Beatles.
I guess music does soothe the savage beast.


Student: Mr. C, do you know Spanish?
Mr. C:  Nah, just a couple useful phrases, like "no hablo espanol" and "donde esta el baño."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Elementary Gym Teacher

I subbed for an elementary gym teacher today.

My first graders today were given a "free play day."  What this means is that I pulled a bunch of stuff out of the equipment room, and let them go crazy.  It didn't take too long before I got bored, so I picked up a rubber kickball, and started bouncing it around as I walked.  At some point, a kid accidentally threw a ball at me.  I saw it coming, and made a big show out of bouncing it back to him off the ball in my hand.  He was amazed by this, so I let him do it again.  This was a mistake, it took only a couple seconds before half the class was playing, "let's throw things at Mr. C."  

Quote of the day -
2nd Grader:  "You smell like my dad!"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Band Teacher

I subbed today for a MS/HS band teacher.

The high school concert band went outside for marching practice.  I, of course, know nothing at all about it, so she left a note leaving two students in charge of practice.  They did a GREAT job, I was really impressed, and told them so.  The band did a really good job too, once they got focused.  They were so good, in fact, that I'd almost be willing to pay and see a varsity football game, just to watch their half-time show.  But then I think, "I got paid to see it today.  Twice.  That's good enough."

I got to watch the first 50 minutes of UP during all the middle school classes.  That movie really has a sad beginning.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A High School Biology/English Teacher

Sometimes when kids start asking me personal questions, I just make stuff up.

Apparently, at some point, I told these kids that I'm a big fan of show tunes.  It's weird the sort of stuff they DO remember.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A High School English/Biology Teacher

Student: What do you like to do for fun?
Mr. C:   Torment and yell at students.
Student: Oh... how's your day going so far?
Mr. C:  I'm having a blast.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Shop Teacher

I subbed today for a shop teacher.

I held an entire class of 27 middle schoolers in total silence for just under 60 minutes by willpower alone.  It was glorious.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Middle School Gym Teacher.

I subbed for a middle school gym teacher today.

I pretty much just played crazy kickball with the kids all day.

Had a kid trip over a thrown ball and slam his head into the floor.  After a few seconds of the whole gym holding their breath, he still wasn't moving.
I'm really glad there was a parapro in the room, so she could run and call the office while I sat and tried to talk to the kid.
I hope the kid is okay.  When he was finally able to stand, and walk out of the room, he was complaining of not being able to fully see out of one eye...

Friday, September 16, 2011

A 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Student: Mr. C, when you die do they carve out your eyeballs and sew your eyelids shut?
Mr. C:, not usually.
Student: Okay, good.  [Other Student] was freaking me out.  He said that's what they do.
Mr. C:  Well, different cultures have different beliefs and practices when it comes to death, so maybe somewhere in the world they do it that way.
Student: Oh...

Monday, September 12, 2011

A 7th Grade Science Teacher

I subbed today for a seventh grade science teacher.

I had a short conversation with a group of kids about the word "cool."  It turns out, kids don't really use that word anymore like when I was younger.  It seems that the word "awesome" has replaced it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Middle School Math Teacher

I subbed for a middle school math teacher.

He had a great poster on the wall, listing the "Top 10 Ways to Improve Self-Esteem."  Below I have provided you with two of my favorites.

This kid is brave.  If my reflection reached through the mirror towards me, I'd be terrified.
Can you get in trouble for graffiti, if all you're doing is correcting the spelling errors made by the original artist?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A History Teacher

I subbed today for a high school history teacher.

Today was the second day of school.  I had two separate Freshmen, in two separate classes get confused about whether or not I was the regular teacher.

Monday, September 5, 2011


All the local schools start tomorrow.

With any luck, I'll get a subbing gig on day one.  That would be pretty cool.  Last year I was getting jobs pretty solid from day two forward.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Summer School Teacher (6)

I've got one more week of summer school left.  I can't believe how quickly it has flown by.

I got a rather gruesome surprise while collecting papers from the library printer the other day.  Mixed in with some stuff was a photo of a man, laying dead on the ground with a very gory head wound.  Brains splashed onto the ground and everything.  One of the lovely students must have printed it out.  It's good to know that the school's internet filters won't let me get onto, because it is a "video site," but kids can still get that sort of thing.

Also, I've got an interview on Tuesday, for a middle school English/History job.
Maybe I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Summer School Teacher (5)

Yesterday was the first day of the second half of summer school.  I had two students, each taking a different level of American History.  I had another girl add today, giving me a grand total of three students, each taking a different class.

I can't imagine what the other summer school teachers think about my class size.  The English teacher has about 20 kids, and the math teacher has 30 or 31.

One of the kids is taking American History A, which I taught last session.  This is my first opportunity to ever really re-use previously created lessons on a "year-long" scale.  I do have to make a couple tiny modifications to them, but for the most part I only have to worry about putting together material for the other two kids.  It's nice.

Lastly, the quote of the day...
American History Student, talking about Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic tendencies - "Obviously that charity wasn't important, since Wikipedia doesn't have a real page for it."

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Photographer

As I mentioned in my last post, nearly a month ago, I've taken a job as a photographer.
I've been training now for just about a week.  The studio for which I'm working is located inside of a major, national, big-box store, so I see a lot of people who aren't interested in photography.  This includes a lot of students I've subbed for.
It has been kinda funny, actually.  Many students will come up to me and say "hi," and want to know "what I'm doing there."
It's nice to be recognized, but sometimes it can be hard to skirt around the fact that I have no idea what the students' names are, or even what school they go to.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Summer School Teacher (4)

Today was the last day of the first secession of summer school.  All we had on the agenda today was to catch-up on missing homework and take the final exam.  Since I only had four kids in the room and had three hours to work with, I let them decide for themselves when they wanted to take the exam.  We were done by about the second hour of class.  Many of the kids from the other classes were also done early, so another teacher set them all up with a movie in his classroom.  It gave me plenty of time to put together a report on final grades, get the classroom cleaned up, and leave right after the kids.

Now I've got a month off from school.

I recently accepted a job in a local photo studio.  I'm sure that will make the summer interesting.

Will there be a "Mr. C. Pretends to be a Photographer" update in the future?  Only time will tell.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Summer School Teacher (3)

I can't believe that the second week is already over with.  Next week is the last day of this session.  I'll start back again the first week of August.

I had a girl actually use the line, "my dog ate my homework."  I told her that there was no way I would ever accept that excuse, but either way she'll just have to turn it in late.

Some seniors had just finished up some testing which allowed them to graduate on time (or at least a month late), so they put on a mini graduation ceremony.  Since I'm one of only 3 teachers in the building right now, I had to participate in part of the ceremony... which pretty much just meant standing in recognition at a particular time.
I also got some free pizza out of it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Summer School Teacher (2)

I've now finished my first week teaching summer school.  Two students have already dropped out of my class.
I've now got three US History 1 students, one Economics student, one World History 1 student, and one World History 2 student.
I'm finding that teaching four classes at the same time, all day long is rather trying.  Also, packing 12 weeks worth of material into 12 days seems to be more content at one time than these guys are used to.

This is going to be a very educational summer... hopefully for more than just me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Summer School Teacher

As I said on Friday, I just accepted a job teaching summer school.
The position lasts a total of six weeks.  Three weeks now, through the end of June and another three weeks in August.  8am - Noon.

Today was rather hectic.  It got easier about halfway through when I got some textbooks and a scope and sequence for most of the classes.
I've already got the rest of the week sketched out, so it should go much smoother from now on.

Seeing as I'm looking to find a part-time job to fill in the second-half of the day, I don't think I'll have time to do daily updates.

Friday, June 10, 2011

An Elementary Gym Teacher.

I subbed today for an elementary gym teacher.

It was only a half day, but it was a lot of fun.

I had four classes, each played a variation of freeze-tag and a variation of dodgeball.  The last couple classes I decided to join in on the dodgeball... THAT was a lot of fun, especially since, instead of getting "out" I would just switch teams.

Also, as of about 10 minutes ago, I am officially going to be teaching summer school at a local high school.  It's only four hours a day, four days a week, for six weeks... but I'm still looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Middle School Language Arts Teacher.

I subbed today for a middle school language arts teacher.  Once again, it was only a partial day.

During one of the class periods the kids just had to go outside and play.  It was real rough.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another Third Grade Teacher

I subbed for another 3rd grade teacher today.  I was actually in the room right next door to where I was yesterday.  This resulted in a lot of hugs and shouting of "HI MR. C.!" throughout the day.  Apparently, I'm the only "nice" sub they have ever had.

Right at the very start of class today, a little girl came up to me...
Girl: Hey, I have something to tell you, but it's very sad - my dad died.
Mr. C.:  ...oh, wow, I'm very sorry. Um... when did this happen?
Girl: When I was six.  I'm 9 now.
Mr. C.: Oh......... Why are you telling me this?
Girl: Just so that everyone knows.
Mr. C.: ...Alright...well, I'll keep it in mind.
Girl: Kay!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Third Grade Teacher

I subbed for a 3rd grade teacher today.

We had a Foster Grandparent in the class today.  He was fantastic.  Usually Foster Grandparents just sit in the back of class and glare at me, like I'm doing everything wrong, but not this guy.  Today would not have gone nearly as well if Grandpa J. hadn't been there.

The students had to write their last letter, today, to their "Soldier Friends."  The note left to me said that I had to approve any letters before they could be considered "done."  One boy handed me a letter with the following line, "I hope none of your friends have gone to Heaven."  I knew what he meant... but that may not have been the most tactful way to put it.  I had him just rephrase the line.

Little Girl: Mr. C.!  Guess what, I came up with a new name for you!
Mr. C.: ...oh?
Little Girl: You're so funny that I'm going to call you Mr. Giggles!
Mr. C.: No... no, you're not.  You can stick to Mr. C. just like everyone else.

During recess, which I had to supervise, a little girl came up to me and show me a caterpillar that she had on a stick.  She told me his name was George, and then gave me his whole life story.  Later, as everyone was lining up to go in, I saw her bawling her eyes out at the back of the line.  When I was finally able to calm her down a bit, she told me that another girl had proclaimed George as "gross," and stepped on him.  She then went back to crying uncontrollably, all the while proclaiming her love for George.  I sent her to Grandpa J.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Two Different High School Social Studies Teachers

Oops.  I forgot to post on Friday.
Between today and Friday I subbed for two different high school history teachers, in two different schools.

On Friday I had to cover an hour for a resource room teacher.  There were only two kids, and they were really good about getting their stuff done.  It was during this class period that I had my first chance to really use a SmartBoard.  It was pretty great, especially when I discovered that I could draw a dartboard and some darts, then "throw" the darts from one side of the screen to the other.

I only got in a few hours today.  Most schools are done by the end of the week, with a couple finishing up Tuesday of next week.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A High School Art Teacher

I subbed today for a high school art teacher.

The kids were working on a cool project.  They'd been given old books, and the assignment was to "alter" them to reflect their own lives.  The kids end up painting, drawing, cutting, burning, gluing, etc. the books.  The results are pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An 8th Grade History Teacher

I subbed today for an eighth grade history teacher.

I "had" to give lecture-ish notes on the Reconstruction.  I loved it.  Classes are so much easier when I know what I'm talking about and I don't have to try and figure out stuff on the spot.  It would have been even smoother if I'd known that was the topic ahead of time, so I could have prepped.  Lucky for me I recently saw the America: The Story of Us episode on the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Once again, though, when I tell the kids, "hey, you're in luck.  This is what my degree is in" all I get in return are groans.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Fifth Grade Teacher

I subbed today for a 5th grade teacher.

It was absolutely miserable.  I've been with these guys before, and I knew going in that it was a tough bunch, but today was horrible.  I believe that the heat had a lot to do with it.  It was easily 85 degrees in the classroom today, with the only window opening up to another building's wall 15 feet away.  In the end, I ended up reading to them for 45 minutes, just to keep them quiet.  The book?  A copy of  The World's Most Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger. It was either that or the first Harry Potter book.  I let the pick.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A High School Social Studies Teacher

I subbed today for a high school social studies teacher.  It was only a half day, though when I accepted the job it was listed as a full day.  I love it when they change things without telling me.

My classes today were all in the computer labs, working on papers.  All classes were also very well behaved, for a change.  This left me with a fair amount of free time, and not much to do.  My solution?  Doodle.

You're now wondering why I didn't go into art, instead of teaching.

Also, when I got to school today the class room smelled VERY strongly of cat pee.  It was so bad, in fact, that the custodian was called it.  He said a stray has been going around the building, marking around the air-intakes by the classrooms.  He then put some chemical in the room's heater.  The rest of the day smelled of cat urine and bitter lemons.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another Band Teacher

I subbed today for another band teacher, at a different school.
I haven't been subbing at this particular school much these days, especially since I picked up a whole other county a few months back.  However, whenever I am there, I am often mistaken for a different sub.  I don't know WHO he is, but he must be much cooler than me.  For example...
Student: Hey!  You're the guy who let us play softball in here last time!  Can we do it again?
Mr. C.:  Hah...ah, no.  You've got me mistaken for someone else.  That is so not going to happen.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Band Teacher

I subbed today for a secondary band teacher.
It was pretty great, two of my classes were gone on field trips, which meant two extra hours to read.  I wonder if the Fates aren't trying to make up for the horrible classes I'd been having recently.

Also, how is it that a student can loudly shout out, while watching a movie, " raise you hand if you're still a virgin!" and still be able to pretend to not understand why they're getting in trouble?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Resource Room Teacher

I subbed today for a resource room teacher.

It bugs me when people, other teachers especially, define students (or anyone) by their disabilities.  For example...
Mr. C.: Johnny?  I don't know who that is...
Teacher: Oh, he's... you know... the wheelchair...
Mr. C.: ...I see...

Monday, May 23, 2011

An Elementary Music Teacher

I subbed today for an elementary music teacher.

The following conversation took place after a third grade girl saw the book I'm currently reading, Dearly Devoted Dexter, sitting on a table.

Girl: Oh, is that like the TV show?
Mr. C.: Yeah... I don't think you're old enough to know about that show.  It'll give you nightmares.
Girl: It's okay, I watch it all the time.  I also watch NCIS.  This one episode, this dead guy had his eyes hanging out and everything and even that didn't give me nightmares.
Mr. C.:  Uh huh... alright then...

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Tenth Grade English Teacher

I subbed today for a 10th grade English teacher.

My largest task in several of the classes was to collect a very large research paper.  The notes left to me said that the students fail unless it is turned in.  They also said that it was due at the very start of class - no going to type it/print it off, or anything.  My life would have been very simple if I'd taken the "if they get it to me sometime today, it's all cool" stance.  Instead, in an effort to promote personal responsibility, I harshly enforced the teacher's rules.  This lead to a lot of angry students, and Mr. C. having to put up with some pretty lame excuses. In the end, I just wrote down any one's name that gave it to me late, along with their excuse.  It made for a VERY lengthy sub note at the end of the day, but I feel pretty good about it.

The school I was in today (and have been in a lot the past few weeks) is obsessed with the color of my beard.  Several times a day, every day I'm asked "do you dye your hair?" or "why is your beard so much redder than your hair?"  It's starting to get old.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Sixth Grade Teacher

I subbed today for a 6th grade teacher.  I had all the major subjects: math, science, social studies, language arts.

The teacher had an exercise machine placed directly behind the main podium.  My first thought when I saw it was, "whoa, I'm not touching that thing."  The kids said that the teacher uses it all the time when they're working.  A few hours later, as the kids were working quietly, and I was getting kinda bored, the thought turned to, "well... maybe I'll just stand on it and see what happens."  What happened was, my feet flew out in front of me and I was nearly thrown backwards into the computers behind it.  Lucky for me I caught myself.  Needless to say, the "working quietly" was quickly replaced by "laughing hysterically at my expense."
I know this will make a great story for their regular teacher tomorrow...

The Deathtrap

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An 8th Grade Computer Teacher

It hit me today that I spend 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with an ever changing hoard of quick to anger, paranoid, hormonal, and slightly crazy human beings.  I come into their lives, usually unannounced, and as hard as I try to prevent it, end up disrupting their comfortable routines; this of course puts them on edge, and more likely to resent me right from the start.
Yet, despite all this, I keep going back for more.  Am I crazy?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fifth Grade Teacher

I subbed today for  5th grade teacher.

It was a fun day.  I spent about a half hour read poetry to the kids.  I loved it.  They loved it.  It was even part of the lesson.  A good time was had by all.

Teachers: I completely understand that emergencies happen, and there are days when you can't put out materials for a sub ahead of time.  However, on those days when you have to email in your lesson plans, please don't write them to suggest that the day's materials are out on your desk.  Or, if that particular wording is static in your plans, at least make an additional (very specific) note as to where to find things.  I don't mind digging through filing cabinets, or even making copies, but guessing at the worksheet you want, based only on what the board says the kids did yesterday is not helpful for anyone.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A High School Biology Teacher

I subbed today for a high school biology teacher.

I think all of the dead animals around the room were making me sneeze.

Mr. C. to Student:  "I think you've learned a life lesson today.  Never stick your finger in a dark hole, unless you're absolutely sure you'll be able to pull it back out."

Friday, May 13, 2011

A High School History/Econonomics Teacher

I subbed today for a high school history/economics teacher.

I had a rather... unique... student in one of my classes today.  It is the same student that I mentioned in a post last week.  This student spent the entire class period drawing me.  It was a bit unnerving, but frankly I put up with it so that I could post the picture here.  The assignment for that class was just to watch a movie, which was clearly fluff anyway, so I don't feel too bad.
She didn't have time to finish it before class ended.  She also insisted that I sign the upper left corner.

I also overheard a girl, who is a foreign exchange student from Germany, complaining to other students that they had lied to her.  It turns out, they had told her that the word "inbred" meant "foreign."  I guess she proclaimed, to a different sub, that she was an "inbred exchange student," much to the uproarious laughter of that class.  I can definitely see why she'd be unhappy. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A 6th Grade Teacher

I subbed today for a sixth grade teacher.  This school has 6th grade in the elementary.

This was probably one of the wost classes I've subbed for in a long time. 

It turns out that I had NOT read all of the Diary of a Whimpy Kid books.  I started Dog Days today.  With any luck I'll be able to finish it before the end of the year.

When a 6th graders asks you, "why do the veins in my wrist look blue?" don't bother explaining to her that it has more to do with which light wavelengths your skin can not absorb than it does with how much oxygen the blood is carrying.  Expect that their science teacher will have explained the latter theory to them.  Also expect them to think that you're wrong, soley on the basis that you're not a "real teacher."
Try not to worry about what other incorrect information they're learning.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

7th Grade Language Arts/History Teacher

I subbed today for a seventh grade language arts/history teacher.

She had a full classroom set of the novelization of Star Trek: Nemesis

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another Freshman English Teacher

I subbed for yet another freshman English teacher today.

This guy had some odd wall art.

Yep.  That's William Shakespeare kicking a soccer ball.

Friday, May 6, 2011

An English/Drama Teacher

I subbed today for an English/drama teacher.  Most of my day was spent on freshman English, so I'm starting to get a bit burned out on it; at least it is a different school from earlier this week. In fact, this was my first time subbing in this particular high school.

Over all, today was memorable day, and also a day for several firsts. 
I thought I'd taught pretty much everything out there.  I've taught algebra.  I've taught poetry and Shakespeare. I've overseen cooking classes.  I've refereed most gym games you can think of.  I've given constructive criticism in art class and (badly) conducted middle school orchestras, not to mention the social studies spectrum, in which I'm actually certified.  But today was my first day in a drama class. 
Today was also the first time I've kicked a student out for calling back, "your mom!" when I asked the class for the last name of an absent student.

I had a bizarre encounter with a student today.  Just before school and between classes I was supposed to stand out in front of the classroom door, to help keep an eye on the hallway.  Before school started I had the following conversation with a girl who's locker just happened to be right next to where I was standing.

Girl, her eyes wide: Ooh... who are you?
Mr. C.:  Mr. C, who are you?  -------> This is my standard reply to the "who are you" question.
Girl: [Name]... you look like an interesting person.
Mr. C.: Uhh... thanks?  I try.
Girl:  Yeeaahhh.... your mustache is just fantastic...
Mr. C.: ...Alright then, thanks...

At which point I turned and walked back into the classroom.  There were a few more odd exchanges throughout the day, as I monitored the halls between classes. Including...

Girl: I've never seen you here before.  You should make sure to sub again, I don't have [name of teacher I'm subbing for].
Mr. C.: ...Well, the year's nearly over, so who knows if I'll ever get back here.

And I overheard the following as she was walking past the door...

Girl to friend: That's [name of teacher I'm subbing for]'s sub... doesn't he look like an interesting person?

I have no idea what the hell I did to look like an "interesting person."

Lastly, this conversation took place during one my classes.  This is NOT the same girl from above.
Girl: Mr. C., you know what actor you kinda remind me of?
Mr. C.: Zach Galifianakis?
Girl: Oh my God!  How'd you know?
Mr. C.: I hear it nearly every day. 
Girl: Wow!  That's so awesome!
Mr. C.:  Yeah.  Real awesome.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Freshman English Teacher... Again

I subbed today for a freshman English teacher, the same one I subbed for on Tuesday.

I got to watch the ending of the 1997 Romeo and Juliet five times today.  It is a neat adaptation.

During one class I was explaining how to fill out an outline for an essay they were going to start writing.  As I began pointing out details on the sheet one student, without saying a word, stood up, leaned against a wall, and just stared at me with his fingers in his ears.  Some of the kids in the class had reason to hate me (I'm one of those a-hole subs that tend to enforce classroom rules), but he wasn't one of them.  It didn't make any sense.

I'm also starting to REALLY hate the iPod Touch.  Teachers, please realize that every district, and every building in each district, tend to be slightly different when it comes to rules about technology.  However, despite the different rules, all kids either have an iPod or a cell phone that they can play games on and listen to music.  Please make up a static note mentioning your rules about such things.  ALL students WILL insist that they're allowed to use such things in class when there is a sub in the room, regardless of if it is true or not.
More often than not it isn't a battle worth fighting, but it gets to be pretty obnoxious.

Lastly, and this is still directed at any teachers reading this, when you don't follow through with consequences for noted behavior problems, all subs everywhere die a little inside.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Middle School History/Geography Teacher

I subbed today for a middle school history/geography teacher.

The history classes were watching Uncle Tom's Cabin.  It was during one of these classes that I overheard the following conversation.
Student 1: Who is that actor?  I think I've seen him in other stuff.
Student 2: That's Samuel L. Jackson.
Student 1: Who?
Student 3: You're an idiot, no it isn't.  Samuel L. Jackson is white.
Mr. C.: *Fights against the urge to slam his own head through the desk*

The geography classes were all making detailed maps of the camp from which they had recently returned.  They told me that they had spent several nights there.  I had three blocks of geography, and during the first two nearly all the kids had a lot to do, and spent the hour doing it.  The last block, however, had many finished students.  One of those students was driving me crazy; bouncing all over the room, disrupting others who were working, etc.  Eventually I allowed him to get a book from his locker on the condition that he'd sit still and read it.  He brought back a Pokemon guide book, which kept him busy for all of five minutes.  At this point I had an idea.  After asking him to look up two or three specific Pokemon stats, I got bored with the game and just told him, "make me a list of all the Pokemon that don't appear in SoulSilver."  Knowing this would be a rather long list, I figured it would take him a while.  It took him a full 30 minutes, but shortly before the end of class he handed me the list.  I was rather impressed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Freshman English Teacher

I subbed today for a freshman English teacher.

I understand that teachers need to assume their sub won't know jack about the subject matter, but some days I really hate passive lesson plans which say, "pass out worksheet and put on video."
On a related note, I got to watch 40 minutes the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet five times today.  Huzzah.

Quote of the day:  "So... a Kindle is sorta like an iPad, only just for books?"

Also, wearing your pants around your knees so that I can see the bottom of your boxers makes you look like an idiot.  Just saying.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A 6th Grade Teacher

I subbed today for a sixth grade teacher.  This particular school has sixth grade part of elementary school.
My day started off pretty good.  A little girl gave me a flower.

Of course it was clearly meant for her teacher, and she just didn't know what else to do with it.

I finally got to finish Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth.  As you may recall, I started it a few weeks ago but was never able to finish.  I finally got lucky and found another classroom with a copy.

I found a few old sub notes in the teacher's Sub Folder.  I read through a couple, only to find them full of whining and horrible spelling/grammar.  It made me slightly ashamed to count myself amongst them.

I did win the "Best Sub Ever" award, though.  So that's something.

Also, the same girl who gave me a flower also drew a picture of me.
She nailed the general look of menace, but I think she got my hair wrong.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A History/Economics Teacher

I subbed today for a high school history/economics teacher, the same one I subbed for on Monday.
Actually, I have subbed for her many, many times, including a five week long-term job last year.  I enjoy subbing in her room.  I know a lot of the kids by name at this point, plus she often leaves me with "real" lesson plans.  This is both good and bad.  The good side is that I get to actually use my degree, instead of just babysit.  The bad side is that I get much less reading done.
Today I got to teach an introduction to World War I, mostly involving an explanation of the network of alliances that lead to the war.  I also got to tell part of the story of the Vietnam War, then show the first twenty minutes of Dear America.  If you haven't seen that film, I really suggest it.

A student wrote on the board today, "Mr C. Rules."  Usually I ask kids not to write random stuff on the whiteboards, or at least erase whatever they sneak on there, but I had to agree with him and leave it up there.  I am pretty awesome.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Economics/Psychology Teacher

Today I subbed for a high school economics/psychology teacher.
She was pretty excited that I'm certified to teach economics, which meant that I knew enough to give some depth to the notes I was supposed to present to the classes.  The students were not at all excited about this. 
I often get questions from students like, "if you're not certified in math, how can they let you teach us?"  However, kids also groan when they find out I AM certified to teach a subject (history, economics, civics, English, etc), because that means that they have to do "real work."  I just can't win.

I had a student walk up to me today after he finished his test.  The entire time he approached he had a hand on his crotch, scratching madly.  When he got to me the following conversation (more or less) took place,
Student: "Can I go do a crab check?" 
Mr. C.:  "Excuse me?"
Student: "Can I go get a drink?"
Mr. C.:  "Oh, uh, yeah."

After school, I was picking up some trash on the floor and I found an interesting note.  It is short, but it tells a touching story fully of friendship, hope, and rejection.  I've reproduced it below, word for word, just as it is written.  The line in bold was written in heavy ink (rather than pencil like the rest of it).  It is not my emphasis, neither are the dashes.  I have put an extra line in between where I'm pretty sure it is different people writing.

-Srry, but I don't like her like that, Ill just go hang with
Friends or go to the movies, but you have a good time, okay?

-you don't have to Really like someone like that in order
for you to go dancing.  go with her as a friend
shed really like that if someone were to ask
her to go with them.  she don't like you that way either
but she'd like to go with you as a friend.

-I'll think about it, but either way you just have a good time KK?
okay you too.

KK. Maybe next time... Hopefully.  LoL kidding

LL, so what's up?

       Nothing much you?

Nothin, just writting a note and passing it back and forth to a hot chick,
maybe I should find out her name, LoL

Ha Ha Hee hee

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Business and Technology Teacher

I subbed today for a middle/high school business and technology teacher.  What this means is, for the most part, kids learn typing skills how to use the more advanced features of Microsoft Office along with creating things like memos and business-y things.
I love it when kids think they're more tech savvy than me.  They get really angry when I say things like, "when I said 'close out of that game' I didn't mean 'hide it behind your Word document.'" 

I have subbed in 21 different school districts over the past three years.  I counted; the number was much bigger than I expected.  Only the school I was in today allows students to use Facebook.  I understand that some teachers use it for projects, but it is one hell of a distraction and kids get really snotty when you tell them to get off of it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Band/Digital Media Teacher

I subbed today for a band/digital media teacher.  I was split between two buildings, middle and high school.

My first class of the day was simply, "Guitar."  The first part of the lesson involved putting on a CD, and the kids had to play along to the music.  It took about 10 extra minutes to get started, because the teacher had removed the usual speakers to the sound system and I had to sort through a mess of wires to route the CD player to other speakers.
One of the songs on the CD was Johnny B. Goode.  Just before I started the song I said, "alright guys, pretend you're Michael J. Fox and the year is 1955."  Not only did no one laugh, no one seemed to even get the reference.

Also, schools, if you decided that your students can not handle having doors (or even full walls) on the bathroom stalls, please don't make it so you need a key to get into the staff restrooms.  This makes things pretty awkward for "temporary staff."

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Economics/History Teacher

Subbed today for an economics/history teacher.

I got to watch Oprah today; the same episode three times.  At least it was all about debt.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A High School Science Teacher

I subbed today for a high school science teacher.

Easy day.  I got to watch two (different!) episodes of CSI and an episode of Mythbusters, plus the first 40 minutes of Outbreak.

I also found a large stash of life size bones.  A few were made of plastic, but most were some kind of heavy resin.

Here's my proof.  Arr...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An 8th Grade Science Teacher

I subbed today for an eighth grade science teacher.
He had been gone since Friday of last week, making me sub number four.  I guess the guy has horrible hives covering nearly all of his body, and his doctor can't figure out why.  I know this because he included updates (for the kids) on his condition in the lesson plans.  He also included pictures for the kids to see on the website that they use to look at homework.
Science teachers are weird.

Oh, and his room had cameras in it.  I guess it is probably because the classroom (and side equipment room) is full of some very expensive stuff.  It isn't like I was going to do anything wrong... but it was still uncomfortable.

Lastly, I overheard the following insightful conversation,

Student 1: "I peed for seven minutes straight the other day!"
Student 2: "Wow!  That's a really long time."
Student 1: "I know!  I'd held it for like eight hours!"
Mr. C.:  "..."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A 10th Grade English Teacher

I subbed today for a high school English teacher.  I only had 10th graders.
She left them a very large list of assignments, all of which was due at the end of the hour.  Their list included reading and analyzing two poems, and then answering a bunch of questions about each.  They also had to write their own "narrative poem with five stanzas, four lines each." 
One of the poems they read was, La Belle Dame sans Merci by John KeatsA group of (what could only be called) jocks sat loudly arguing with each other about what the poem was saying.  Ultimately, they started complaining to me about how "hard it was."  To help them with this, I read the poem aloud to them a couple stanzas at a time, pausing here and there to ask them "okay, what's going on?"  When we got to the end of it one student blurted out the following words of keen literary analysis, "Dude!  Brotha got played!"

During one class period a student challenged me with, "if writing that poem is so easy, why don't YOU do it?"  So, I took up the task.... only to get bored with it after 3 stanzas.  I guess the kid won.

Here's what I came up with...

My calendar fills at a changing pace.
My job takes me from place to place.
From week to week I don't know where I'll be;
I rely on sickness to pay my fee.

Tragedy for others is how I make my way,
But at least there's new excitement every day.
Some days I teach math, some days I teach English.
A passion for learning, I try not to extinguish.

Too often students try to be a pain,
And they find it funny to lie about their name.
But I know a trick, some may call it a power...
A simple note to their teacher can make them cower.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A 5th Grade Teacher

I subbed in a fifth grade classroom today.

The kids were getting raffle tickets today, which they are supposed to go out and sell for a school fundraiser.  The top four prizes?  Beef.  A quarter of a cow, to be exact.

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Art Teacher

I subbed today for a middle/high school art teacher.
I've subbed for art more times than I can count.  Sometimes, at the elementary level the teacher will want the kids to start a new, small project.  However, at the secondary level the lesson plans nearly always say something along the lines of, "students should continue working on projects - they know what to do." 
Today I was given typical secondary art lesson plans... with one exception.  During 2nd period I got to go down to the library and read the 1st graders.  I loved it.
One of the books I read was Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, by (sort of) Dr. Seuss.  It is a lot of fun to read aloud.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A High School History/English Teacher

I subbed today for a high school American History/English teacher.  I guess since those are (more or less) my certification areas I wasn't actually pretending today. 

While I've never actually had to teach grammar, in any capacity, it turns out that I do know how find the singular (and plural) possessive form of words.  Go figure. 

Being able to tell a class, "all four worksheets, plus an optional fifth worksheet can be due by the end of the hour, at MY discretion" is a wonderful thing.
A less wonderful thing is when a student asks, "what does discretion mean?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A 6th Grade English/Language Arts Teacher

Today I walked into an assignment that should have been hell.  The school I worked in today just got back from spring break on Monday.  The teacher I covered for has been gone all week, and they've had a different sub every day.  It isn't common knowledge, but there comes a point, after enough different subs in a row, that the students turn feral.  Any conditioning or routines put into place degrade very quickly; often within two or three days.  Before the students arrived, in fact, I had other staff warning me that I was in for a rough time.
Actually, when I first got to the room there was a teacher in there getting some stuff around.  The first words out of her mouth were, "Oh, good.  You're tall.  Do you have a loud voice?"
I think part of what saved my day was that there were high school students giving anti-drug presentations during every class period.  Any time remaining I only had to facilitate silent reading.
The day actually ended up being pretty easy.  Even ended up getting compliments from both staff and.....students.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A High School Spanish Teacher

I subbed for a high school spanish teacher today.
I got to watch the last half of Madagascar four times today.  In Spanish.

Also, reeking of marijuana is not going to help me believe the load of crap you're trying to feed me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A 2nd Grade Teacher

I subbed today for a second grade teacher.

I had a great time.  It isn't every day that you get to draw giraffes (see below) and read about dinosaurs.

I even overheard a little boy whispering to the girl across from him, "I think he's the best sub we've had all year."

They laughed at me for drawing it in green.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A High School Biology Teacher

I subbed for a high school biology teacher today.

Does it make any sense for a teacher to call in sick, only to be replaced by a sub that is also really sick?
Probably not.
Lucky for me, today was probably the most boring and mediocre day I've had in a long time.

Second graders tomorrow.  Maybe they'll be more interesting.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A 4th Grade Teacher.

I subbed for a fourth grade teacher today.

I re-learned how to do long division today.  I think I'll stick to using a calculator. 

I was finally able to get my hands on a copy of Diary of a Whimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth today.  I've read the rest of the books, always having been able to pound them out in a day during any down time.  I only got through the first 150 or so pages today.  Who knows when I'll have another chance to finish it...

Every morning on my way to school I listen to NPR news on the local public radio station.  This afternoon, after school, I got back into my Jeep and the station was playing classical music.  I sat for a few minutes checking texts on my phone and listening to the music.  When I finally looked up, there was a tiny little girl marching across the parking lot (stomping rain puddles) in perfect rhythm to the march playing on the radio.  It may have been the most amazing/adorable thing ever.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Band Director

I subbed today for a middle and high school band teacher.

The woman had a student teacher.  I've subbed in rooms with student teachers before, but this time she was really good and on the ball.  She ran all the classes, and I just sat to the side and collected the paycheck for being the "certified teacher in the room."  I feel bad for her.  I didn't need to be there, and she should have been able to get paid for subbing for her own Master Teacher.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Middle School English/Science Teacher

Today I subbed for a middle school English/Science teacher.
Today was also the first day back from spring break.  Saying that the kids were wired would be an understatement.

While the relationship isn't one-to-one, there is a strong corelation between a teacher's level of classroom control and how those kids will act for a sub.  This becomes even more obvious after you've subbed in a school a few times and have worked with the same students many times, just with different teachers.  A group that might be angels in, say, History, might be total terrors in, for example, Science.

Also, when the lesson plan reads, "Have students reply to the prompt: 'What did you do over spring break?' and then have them share to the class," perhaps it is a good idea to preview what the kids are about to say, before you let them say it...

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Band/PE Teacher

I subbed for band/PE teacher today.  Am I the only one who thinks that is an odd combination?

The directions for my first two classes (high school band and choir) just said, "Free/study day.  They can work on other homework or talk amongst themselves.  They can also play on the Wii."  That's right, this guy had a Wii in his classroom. Sadly, though, he only had WiiSports and WiiMusic.  I tried out the latter on my prep.... and it was REALLY boring.

We also had "free play" during gym class.  I got to toss around a frisbee with a few middle schoolers.  Good times.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A High School Health/PE Teacher

I subbed today for a high school health/PE teacher.

We played soccer in gym class and watched a very graphic video about teen drinking in the health class.

Highlights from gym class include,
  • A student kicking the ball into the lights on the ceiling and shattering one.  The game was delayed because of broken glass.
  • Mr. C. getting a ball head-butted directly into his eye.
  • A scene directly out of some uplifting movie, where the girl with Down's syndrome emerged from the melee, dribbling the ball across the floor as total silence fell across the gym.  No one approached her as she carefully made her way across the playing field, before dramatically kicking the ball towards the goal....... missing wildly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A 5th Grade Teacher

I subbed for a 5th grade teacher today.

Student: Mr. C. Guess what!
Mr. C.: Hm?
Student: We start learning about something really gross after spring break!
Mr. C.: Oh...?
Student: Yeah!  We'll learn about reproductive health!
Mr. C.: Oh... uh... okay.  To Class So, anyway... let's flip to page 404 in our book...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Elementary Art Teacher

I subbed for an elementary art teacher today.  Yet another first day in new buildings (her day is split between two elementarys).

I don't really have much to say, other than if you're an art teacher and you REALLY want a specific type of paper used in a project, I suggest either pulling it out ahead of time or giving VERY clear instructions on where to find it.

Also, I got a group of 2nd grade boys to quit arguing and being obnoxious by telling them to "see who can draw the best T-Rex."  They loved it.

Lastly, a 3rd grade girl drew this for me.  It's a pretty good likeness.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A High School Math Teacher

I subbed for a high school math teacher today.  It was my first day in a new district.

For two of the class periods there was a student teacher in the room.  While sitting in the back, watching her go about her lesson, I couldn't help but think about two things.
1) It must really suck to have a sub in the room when you're, finally, not under the watchful eye of your Master Teacher.
2) Was I that awkward when I was student teaching?

I also over-heard some great one-liners today.

Girl: Did you guys know that cat-scratch fever is real?  Look at my arms!  My kitty did this to me this morning!  They really itch.

Pregnant 9th grade girl, after being asked how she was doing quitting smoking:  My doctor said I can still smoke, as long as I do it slowly.  Otherwise it'll stress the baby.

Same pregnant girl to friend:  My back is, like, covered in pimples!  Wanna see?

Friday, March 25, 2011

A 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher

I subbed for a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher.  It was my first day in a new building, and I'm not sure that I ever want to go back.

Just a warning, this one is a bit more "ranty" than most.

To start off my day, the note and lesson plans left to me were incredibly condescending.  This is something I get once in a while, especially if teachers have had a string of bad subs.  Once I even had a teacher cover her drawers and cupboards with sticky notes telling me not to get into them.
My next tip that it might be a rough day was while listening to a couple para-pros talking before school started.  They were going on about how the 7th grade schedules had recently been redone because of a large number of discipline problems. 
My first three hours weren't too bad.  The kids were a bit rough, but nothing I hadn't seen before and I kept them in line and we got through the lessons with no problems.  My last hour of the day was much different.  First, we were on a weird schedule because of an assembly in the high school.  Second, my lesson for the hour was to just "show the movie and keep the kids silent."  The movie was The Great Outdoors, with John Candy.  This film wouldn't have been my first choice to show a group of 7th graders with a known tendency towards immaturity. 
The kids were nuts.  I had been told to "send them to the office if they give [me] any disrespect."  The first kid I sent down was sent back within five minutes, having been told to "be good."  At this point, I knew I was on my own. 
Later on in the hour, we had a tornado drill... and not all the kids came back.  So, I took role again and made a note of who decided to skip.  When everyone got back to the classrooms, we were still on some sort of lock-down, so kids weren't to leave classes.  One of the kids came back with his hat on. I asked him to take it off and he refused.  Since I couldn't send him to the office (not that it would have mattered) I told him I would leave a note for the teacher about it.  His reply, "so what, he won't do anything.  He always lets me wear my hat and never does anything when subs leave notes anyway."
I don't believe that the teacher lets him wear his hat, but the second part was a bit disturbing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A High School Science Teacher

There are two types of secondary science rooms.
The first type has shelves of plastic and glass bottles, all with faded masking tape labels containing long-forgotten liquids.  There are sinks and "work stations" all around the room, their water faucets slightly rusted and stained.
The second type has also got the sinks and "work stations," except they haven't been used in years and are now covered with piles of paper packets.  Inside the glass doored cupboards you will find glass jars containing long-dead creatures, preserved in a pale liquid.  Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll find that at some point in the past 30 years a seal on a jar has broken, and most of the liquid has evaporated out.  This second room also has shedding taxidermied animals displayed on the tops of every bookshelf and along every wall.

Today, I got to sub in the latter.

I happen to share the same last name as a famous rapper.  Students like to point this out to me, each one believing that they are the first.  What follows bellow are sample conversations I've had over the years, showing how my reaction to this has changed.

The first time I heard this, circa 2007:
Student, upon learning my name: Whoa!  Are you related to [rapper]?
Mr. C: Why no, young man, I have not heard of this person, I shall have to look into the matter!
Student: Cool!

The second time through the 100th time:
Student, upon learning my name: Whoa!  Are you related to [rapper]?
Mr. C:  No.  Get back to work.

The 100th time and on:
Student, upon learning my name: Whoa!  Are you related to [rapper]?
Mr. C: Yep.  We're second cousins.
Student:  Really?  Then why aren't you [different ethnic group]?
Mr. C:  *shrug* We're related by marriage.
Student: Wow... can you get me his autograph?
Mr. C: Sure, if you get your work done.  I'll try to remember next time I see him
Student: Sweet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A High School Biology/AgriScience Teacher

I subbed for a high school science teacher.
I had to give a test to one class period.  The kids were furious.  They claimed to have been told the test would be tomorrow.  During the 15 minutes I gave them to study beforehand, I heard many of them vowing to each other that they would "fail it on purpose, just to get back at her."  The logic there is astounding.

On a side note, I have just finished getting signed up with a second third-party subbing agency.  Many of the schools are as close or closer than some that I have already been working at (I've been driving as much as 50 miles one way to get work).  These schools also pay more.  Assuming I got the website set up correctly, I should be working in a brand new school tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A High School Math Teacher

Subbed for high school math.  I had three blocks of Algebra 1 and one block of study hall.

The plus side is that I relearned the difference between the substitution and elimination methods of solving a system of equations.  I think it is fitting that I like the substitution method better.

The down side is that my notes for study hall said, "They should be working on homework or reading a book - they should be silent the entire hour."  Guess how many students actually walked in with anything in their hands.  .

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A High School Spanish Teacher

Student:  Sir, do you know any spanish?
Mr. C.: No hablo espanol.
Slight laughter from class.
Student: I'll take that as a yes.  Can you come help me?
More laughter from class.
Mr. C.: Uhh... sure, I guess.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Middle School Science/Language Arts Teacher

Apparently, when the bells are turned off and there's a sub in the room, students believe class dismissal time is decided by mob rule.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A 4th Grade Teacher

I subbed in a fourth grade classroom today.
During math, the kids were working on multiplying whole numbers by fractions.  Apparently this is no longer taught the same way I learned it, and the kids made sure I realized this. 

Later, during Social Studies, we were reading about the three branches of government, and then different types of governments.  Having started the lesson by telling them that Social Studies was "my area," I encouraged them to ask me any questions they might have on the material, because odds are I could answer them.  The questions started out about dictatorships, and ended up being very specific questions about Hitler and WWII. 

Also, at some point during the day, a girl asked me if you can patent a religion.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A 3rd Grade Teacher

I subbed in a third grade class today.  Over all, I'd say it was pretty average, except for the fact that these kids were really smart.  I mean, it was shocking at first.  They were also almost too well behaved.  The students started and ran their "morning meeting" (a feature common to most lower elementary classrooms) without any input from me.  All I had to say was, "alright, let's move over to the calandar," and the student of the day took over.  The kids then proceeded to do things like give squared and cubed numbers (along with square roots) in order to find different "number sentences" for the number of the day (14).
Later, during language arts time, we had a review worksheet on comma rules.  They had a better understanding of comma usuage than many adults that I know.

I feel that I should also add -- they thought it was hilarious that I didn't know how to do the "three box method" of subtraction.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

An 8th Grade Math Teacher

*NOTE* All names have been changed.  I would prefer to withhold names all together, but for this one having a name makes the story flow better.

Earlier this week I was subbing for an 8th grade math teacher.  She was in meetings in the building, so I got a chance to talk with her a bit before school started.  One of the points she stressed to me was that I should make sure to be very accurate with marking students tardy if they come in after class starts.  Another was that students should be in their assigned seats at all times.

During one of the class periods, I was in the front of the room taking attendance as class started.  About a full minute after the bell, a student walks through the door.  Looking up from my clipboard I say, "hello, can I get your name please?"  He pauses, looks me up and down, gets a big grin on his face and says, "it's Jose, dude!"  He then throws his shoulders back and struts to the back of the room to his seat.  As he does this I find the only Jose on the list and mark him tardy while saying, "alright, thank you Jose Dude." 
At this point I continued to go through the seating chart, calling off names as I did so.  When I got to the tardy student I said, "I already know that Jose Dude is here," and was about to read off the name infront of him when the student stands up and yells, "you better not call me that again or you're gonna regret it!"
I stopped, looked up at him and said, "did you just theaten me?"  Now he tried to back peddle and tell me he was joking and that he didn't really mean it.  I told him that wasn't something I was going to put up with, so I sent him to the RTC (Responsible Thinking Classroom, or some variation on the same theme).

At the end of the day, the teacher came back in and told me that she'd heard I had trouble with Jose.  I told her what happend, and she told me he was suspended for three days.  I feld bad about this, until she went on to say that the same student had recently come back from an even longer suspension, which he got for punching a teacher and giving her a black eye.