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.

An Elementary Music Teacher

This actually happend several weeks ago, but I had it typed up and on my Facebook page.  I figured it should probably go here too. 

I subbed in an elementary music class today. Over all it was pretty easy. The kids sang along with pre-recorded songs and/or we watched a movie.
One class, however, was just horrible. They fall, easily, into my top 10 worst classes. When their teacher came to pick them up, I told him about this. A little bit later, the principal came by and asked about my day. I told her about them too.
About a half hour before the end of the day, while watching Barbie's Nutcracker with a group of 3rd graders, a 4th grade girl timidly comes into the room and hands me a stack of apology letters. This is the 3rd or 4th stack I've ever gotten, but I still don't really know how to react to them. As I read through them, one really stood out. It is kinda disrespectful, in that the boy who wrote it clearly wasn't taking the situation seriously... but it is just too funny.
I have re-written it here exactly as he wrote it.

Dear Mr. [Misspelling of my last name],
Sorry dude we were acting like monkeys didnt mean to ruin your bread and butter if you know what I mean dude.  Weeee were very unMatchure and broke the Vase of rules Whith the bat of not listing  Dude sorry.

p.s  your da man!

[Student name]

Below this was a picture of what might be an evil pear with angry-looking sharp teeth

Mr. C. Pretends To Be

I am Mr. C. and I have been substitute teaching now for several years.  I recently came across some very funny blogs maintained by other, full-time teachers.  I thought to myself, "hey, I see all kinds of crazy and funny stuff every day, I should do that too."  So here it is. 
On this blog I hope to post some of the more interesting highlights that come with substitute teaching.