Friday

Well, that Thursday entry was less than exciting I think.  Hopefully this will be an improvement- 8th grade.  In near-city district.  At the end of the year.  When another job popped up in a different district I was tempted to dump this one for it, but in the end I didn’t have any issues thanks to required worksheets to be filled out while watching a movie.  It was a social studies class, but she also taught one literacy class- I think all teachers teach one class outside their specialty to save on paying for another teacher since the numbers allowed for this.  Obviously, if this would cause the class sizes to be 35+ they would probably pay for an additional teacher.

So I arrived in the morning to handwritten plans, a videotape, a few stacks of papers, and two machines I could play the tape in- one a TV on a cart, the other a projector with a combo DVD player/VCR.  Being the tech person I am, I chose the projector, but first I had to hook everything up.  I plugged the projector and DVD player in and connected them with the supplied A/V cable.  Well, finished connecting- for some reason some connections were already there while others were not- interesting.  I had time to test it out, so I did.  Eww, was that it for volume?  I turned the projector volume to max but then it just sounded bad.  Hmm.  Wait, there is an additional speaker on the bottom of the cart, but how to plug the video into the projector and the audio into the speaker?  The cable was such that it couldn’t be split.  What was this?  A second audio cable!  Only- no.  It had a mini-end to plug the computer (also on the cart) into the speaker, but neither the speaker nor the player had a place to plug in the mini end, but all was not lost- the projector had an audio output and it was a mini- problem solved.  The player went to the projector, the projector to the speaker.  Done.  The only issue I had all day with this setup was the speaker A/C plug kept coming loose, but fortunately not during the video.

So in the end four classes saw the video ( a very unexciting one about Congress), the one literacy class had a quiz and a reading assignment from their books, and the tutorial (study hall) was… very small.  Only a handful of students apparently had tutorial with this teacher.  I caught up on some book-reading during this time.  Then I was done with an off period.  Or not.  The office called me and had me watch over a group of kids in the gym where they had some free-time (it was an LD class, but I saw a few friends from the BD/ED class there as well with another teacher).

So that was my week in review, in five posts.  How was yours? 🙂

Back to ( )ELL…

The regular reader knows just what letter to place in the title parentheses to complete the picture of my day today.  Some time ago I wrote about an experience at a school that left me passing over certain assignments for the next year.  A couple of months ago took the challenge and subbed for that teacher again since most of those former ELL students were gone and was relieved that things had changed for the better, so when another ELL assignment popped up at that school I took it without a second thought.  It was for a teacher I don’t remember, but it shouldn’t have been a problem.  Well, we have second thoughts for a reason so taking the job without one was akin to famous last words like, “Nothing will go wrong; trust me.”

So, at the beginning of the day I arrived and it was mentioned that it was a two-day assignment.  What?  Two days?  I had to check my schedule again because I was sure it was only one day.  The teacher, who was there but would be testing students, finished going over the plans with me and I went right to a computer.  Yep- just one day.  At that point I was actually hopeful there was a mistake and it was supposed to be two.  By the end of the day I was glad it was not a mistake at all.  For some reason the two-day absence was put in as two separate assignments- my guess being that the software they use cannot support multiple-day assignments as I have never seen a multi-day assignment posted.  I had two such assignments a few months ago in this district, but it was put in manually as a different job number for each day which just serves to validate this theory.  So apparently what happened was I got one day, another sub got the other day.  I do hope she is up to it.   Ironically, she was there today subbing for another ELL class, the one I had no trouble with earlier this year.

When going over the plans I was somewhat pleased to find that I would be covering three math classes.  I expected the toughest would be 8th grade, so once that was over (it was the second class- 7th grade was the first) and things were still going, if not smooth, only slightly rough I thought it would be a pretty good day.  The rough spot for 8th grade was really no more than the quick quiz at the beginning being anything but quick for a few students, making less time for going over homework and letting them get started on their assignment.  So, after a two-period break I was ready for sixth grade math.  Remember those famous last words?  Ready- Uh-huh.  This was the loudest and most complaining class I’ve had in the last couple of years with some boys who loved knocking over the books of each other while I wasn’t looking.  Sigh.  They even complained when I didn’t check in their homework.  I mean, who complains about that??  Just take the extra day to have it done as a gift and keep quiet about it!  Then the plans called for them to take a test which they had in their packets.  Did you catch what was wrong with that sentence?  In their packets.  So what happens when some students couldn’t find their packets and the teacher didn’t leave behind extras?  Well, I found out.  I had three kids run to the office, which I only did because it was just down the hall, so someone in the office might take pity and make some copies for me.  Then I found some students only had one of the pages.  They had ripped the other page out, which had a prior assignment on the back.  Back to the office?  Not a chance- the secretaries suffered enough with the two runs (they only copied the first page last time) so I just marked down their names and let it go.  I also forgot to thank them after school too when I checked out- oops.  And throughout this there were some students who just would not stop talking.  I needed this class before the two-period break, not after.

So after this class was a multi-grade language arts class.  Needless to say, some of the 6th-graders from math were back for two more periods (block period).  While not as bad as the prior math class, it had its own challenges.  8th grade left after the first half to see counselors from their respective high schools they would go to next year, and that relieved some pressure but not all- remember 6th grade was still there and so was a very obnoxious 7th-grade girl who loved talking back and doing as little work as possible.  After this class and a tutorial class (study hall) the day was finally over.  Now I’m writing it up for you to enjoy too…

From 8th to 8

Going back to elementary was quite a difference from the last several days, in more than one way.  First, going from age 12-14 to age 8.  There is a world of difference between teens and second-graders.  Second, going from the specials to the academics.  The last week has been dominated with Industrial Tech and PE, with a short break in ELS (also quite different from second grade even though some of the material is similar…).  Finally, working with a single group of kids all day instead of over a hundred.

I didn’t actually do much teaching today.  They really have a routine down with language arts centers so all I had to do there was introduce what they would be doing and then help here and there when some didn’t understand something or other.  Math was just an end-of-year assessment (didn’t need to be reminded of this- the lean season known as “summer” is nigh upon me).  They had a handwriting worksheet I only needed to introduce, again, and computer lab in the afternoon where someone else pretty much ran the show while I helped.  I did get to start a book for read aloud, a Mexican Cinderella.  They are on a unit apparently about Mexico, including learning some Spanish.  Across the room were their attempts at making the Mexican flag which I had to duck under every time I crossed the room.  The teacher I subbed for must be much shorter.

Well, it was fun and I did at least get to work with a class I have worked with once before so there were less surprises- I’ll tell you subbing in an elementary classroom requires a lot more work than in a middle school classroom.  Breaking routine can be difficult with younger students, whereas older ones just take in stride and adapt.  Therefore, studying the routine from the plans takes up some time.  Well, enough of this blathering on.  On to bed and then a different second-grade class tomorrow.