Monday, April 30, 2012

2nd, 4/30

Today, I snapped. I got so annoyed with the kids sharpening pencils (its a constant incident in this class) that I told them I would sharpen all their pencils for tomorrow. That was one of the most un-smart things I've done. The class' electric pencil sharpener doesn't work, so I had to use the old-school, cranking kind. This sharpener is probably as old as the school, and the handle doesn't have a good cushion anymore. It also doesn't sharpen unless one cranks it very hard and fast.

I can't use my right thumb and index finger - the blisters hurt too much.

-Ms. J

Friday, April 27, 2012

2nd, 4/27

This was such a God thing. I cannot take any credit for this.
I subbed for a 2nd grade teacher, whose class I am in regularly. I also sub for the other 2nd grade teacher often, so I know all the second graders every well. Which came in handy.

We had a field trip. A walking field trip. That's right, we walked a half mile or so to a nearby park to plant trees. I knew about it beforehand, and thought "No big deal, the other second grade teacher will be there and will know what's going on."

I got to the school to find out the other second grade teacher was out sick. So both second grades had a sub. And the other sub had never been in that classroom.

Thankfully, it was a 2/3 grade field trip, so the third grade teachers were there, but they don't know the kids very well, so I was very thankful I knew all the kids, and (more importantly) the kids all knew me, and were used to me being in charge of them.

I was also very thankful for the parent volunteers who were there. They helped out so much.

The kids were sooo good! They made me so proud of them. And there were no major injuries (a miracle in itself!).

Still amazed,
-Ms. J

5th, 4/20 and 4/25

Same fifth grade class I've had several times. Love the class, and they love me.

On 4/20, they walked in the class and cheered when they saw me. I sometimes wonder if I'm just a big softie, and that's why they love me so much... Or maybe it's the candy... Hmmm...
It was my brothers birthday, and he was out of town. So I told the kids about it, got him on speakerphone, and they sang happy birthday (cha cha cha) to him. It was very fun, and I was glad they enjoyed it so much.

On 4/25, two boys crawled up the stairs on the way back to class... Yes crawled! I could not believe it - especially since they had just spent half their recess in because of their antics that morning!

It's amazing how one or two kids can make your otherwise amazing class seem like an unruly group.

I still love them, though.

-Ms. J

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To cross or not to cross...

That is the question facing hundreds of subs right now. Gresham-Barlow and Parkrose School Districts are going on strike starting next week. Well, that is to say, the teachers are. And so the districts are asking all the subs on their list "Will you cross the picket line?"

It could be a dilemma for some subs. After all, the pay is $250 a day (about $90 more than typical sub days - how often do teachers get time-and-a-half?!?!) That part is tempting.

But then, when you start thinking about how rotten strikers could treat subs crossing, it isn't enough money. Strikers, yes, even teachers, have been known to cause plenty of trouble for those willing to cross the line. And they won't forget who crossed.

Then, the union starts calling all the subs, and putting pressure on them to not cross that line. Peer pressure at its finest. All they ask is if you plan on crossing the line. But one has a feeling they have a list of sub names and are putting smiley faces next to those who say they won't, and big, red Xs next to those who say they will.

Those subs who dare to cross should probably save every penny of that money, since they won't be subbing anytime soon after this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Title 1 Reading, 4/12-4/13

I subbed for a title 1 reading teacher Thursday and Friday. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed working with those super sweet kids, and the great IAs. I usually don't get a chance to sit down with small groups and work with individuals like I did, so it was a welcome change from the slightly chaotic 30+ student classrooms I usually sub in.

Friday was interesting, since it seemed to be national sassy day. I had a small group of kindergarteners. I instructed a girl to do something, to which she replied, "I know! My brain knows EVERYTHING!" another girl says "oh yeah?? Then what's 30+30?" (obviously an impossibly hard math question to a kinder). The first girl promptly responded "101!"

My last group of the day was sixth graders. On Thursday, several of them had not filled out their reading logs, and I told them if they brought them in on Friday, I would bring something special for them. I brought in candy on Friday, and they all brought in completed reading logs.
At the end of the group time, one of the boys asked "Ms. J, will you be here on Monday?" I said, "No. Will you miss me?"
He said, "I'll miss your candy!"

I love sixth graders.

3rd, 4/11

I got called in at the last minute for a 3rd grade. Apparently, they had a sub who got sick at the last minute. I had sympathy for the whole situation - I had to call in sick as a sub one time.
I got to the school at about 9am. They were a great group of kids. We had a good day.
Sometimes, the things that happen to subs are not necessarily funny, but just so random that it is hilarious.
I was teaching social studies, and we were studying maps. All of a sudden, one of the boys burst out singing the "Dora the Explorer" theme song. It was so random and hilarious! The worst part of it was that I had the song stuck in my head the rest of the day.

-Ms. J

Monday, April 9, 2012

Aesop and subfinder rant

I am not a violent or negative person. However, sometimes aesop and subfinder (the two major sub placement systems in this region of the world) drive me absolutely insane!
For those of you who have not subbed or used these systems, there are many similarities. One, they are both automated systems, and randomly call subs who are available for jobs. Subs can search for jobs via the internet and phone. When using the phone, there are certain numbers to press to accept or decline a job, repeat a job posting, or skip it and come back to it later.
Subfinder allows teachers to request subs using the sub request number. When they input the number, subfinder will call the sub and the sub can accept or decline the job. Aesop does not allow teachers to request subs - instead, if a teacher wants a specific sub, they should call the sub personally, and then assign them to the job.
Aesop also does not allow for subs to cancel a job. If a sub double books themselves (as sometimes happens), or they accept a job and then get the flu, they have to call the district office to cancel the job. Subfinder allows subs to cancel a job up to an hour before the job starts. So if you wake up with the flu at 5am, you don't have to wait til the district office opens at 7:30 to call and tell them you can't do the job that starts at 7:30am.
I don't like either system, because of the confusion of it all. Some school districts use Aesop, but most use subfinder. I don't like Aesop because of the whole "won't let me cancel a job I accidentally accepted" thing, but there are benefits of Aesop. Aesop allows you to bundle your different school district accounts. That means that if you sub for school district A and school district B, and they both use Aesop, a job that you have on May 20 in district A will show up as a no work day for district B. meaning you can't double book yourself, and district B won't call you for a last minute job on May 20.
Subfinder doesn't do that. I sub for 4 different school districts which use subfinder. For each district, I have a different pin number and a different sub request number. I also have to manually go into each separate subfinder account to make myself unavailable for May 20 if I am already booked for that day. Which is a really annoying thing to do.

This morning, I got a call from subfinder for a teacher who had requested me. Somehow I accidentally declined it. It was a half day, which would have worked out wonderfully for me since I had to go to the doctor this afternoon. Alas, once you decline the job, it goes to the next sub, and it was gone forever.
Then, I got a call from Aesop. It was a half day in the afternoon for today, which didn't work with my doctor plans. Somehow I hit the wrong button and accepted it. Remember how Aesop doesn't allow for cancellations? Thankfully I was able to call and cancel it.

When I get a full time job, I definitely won't miss this part of subbing. Oy what a headache those systems are!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A special treat just for me...

I found this under one of the desks today after school today. I think someone figured I would want this after school for a tasty snack.

Yep. It's applesauce. Splattered all over the floor and the textbooks underneath the desk.