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.