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.