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Friday, February 01, 2008

Subbing 13 and 14

Okay. Here's the deal:

I subbed last Friday. I'm sure of it. But I'm sitting here a week later, and have absolutely no idea of what grade, what school, or anything else about it.

So for those of you keeping score at home, 13 is the number of times it takes for me to sub before it all starts to run together.

To job my memory, I just went to the district website to look at my previous assignments. Suddenly it all came back:

I subbed for a 6th grade teacher who was going to a funeral in Wichita (about a 2.5 hour drive from Lawrence). There were a few other teachers, as well as some of the office staff also going, as the funeral was for the father of a long-time teacher there at Woodlawn Elementary. The upside for me was that the teacher was there in the morning, putting together her lesson plans for me, and giving me a heads-up on what to expect.

She painted a very positive picture of the class, which held up fine until about the last hour of the day. You see, her picture didn't take into account a few things: #1 The kids had not been outside for recess all week due to meat-locker temperatures, and #2 It was Friday, and #3 a teacher who normally took more than half of the students out of the room for the last hour or so was also absent. And so I ended up with a bit of a circus on my hands.

Of course, part of the problem is that I didn't take the whole Friday thing into account. I've been working weekends for so long that I have kind of forgotten what that Friday-afternoon-anticipation-of-the-weekend feeling is like. I need to get over it, because the only days I can sub are Mondays and Fridays, so I'm going to have to deal with it again. And again. And again.

Eventually, with the help of the other 6th grade teacher from next door, managed to calm the class down, and got them doing "educational" activities. A few of them probably managed to do things that didn't really involve using their brains, but they didn't make noise, so I let it go.

There was another odd thing that came my way last Friday. One girl, Traylor [oh yeah, I definitely made up that name], had gotten in trouble the previous day for, get this, flirting too much with a boy. And last Friday she came into the classroom while the regular teacher was there and got in trouble again. This time for wearing perfume. The teacher made her go wash it off, and kept her in the other 6th grade teacher's room for most of the day. Maybe a good idea, maybe not. I'm not sure. When she did end up in my room, she had some serious attitude. I had to seat her apart from the other students to get any work out of her. She was one of those 12-going-on-21 girls. She had charm as well as attitude, but she is obviously considering some very self-destructive paths. She won't realize it until it's too late and she has joined the ranks of kids having kids.

I hope I'm wrong.

On to #14. I didn't sub this past Monday. Too much. I needed to get a full night's sleep and get some other stuff done, too. So today I just had to take the first call that came last night. Today I got to be the choir director at Kennedy Elementary.

It was fun. My biggest complaint was that they didn't do enough singing. Only one class practiced singing songs, and that was the most fun class. They did some songs from the old School House Rocks series, including "Interjections", "Preamble (to the Constitution)", "Interplanetary Janet" and "Three is a Magic Number". I just played the CD and they sang along. And they sounded pretty good, especially considering that their performance is not for another month or so. I had to send one kid to the office for not singing, not listening to my instructions, and not behaving. I kind of hate to do that, but it sure makes the rest of the class behave well.

The other classes watched videos. Bobby McFerrin's "Try This at Home" was for the 4th and 6th grade classes. They had trouble enjoying it. Too self-conscious, I think. But I loved it. Made me laugh out loud in places, and shiver in others. Bobby McFerrin (different link here) has The Voice. This video is a concert he gave in an intimate little hall. Couldn't have been more than 200 people. He wanders through the audience barefooted, talking and singing with the people, and striding up over the backs of the seats, to get to some of them. He gets people to sing. Even the camera men. And even though he seems to be making most of it up on the spot, it sounds excellent. Even after watching it twice. I may buy it for my parents or Maxine, because I wouldn't mind having it play on our t.v. over and over.

The other video, which I watched with the 5th graders, was Pulse: a Stomp Odyssey. Completely different from the McFerrin concert, but also one I wouldn't mind hearing a few times. If you're not familiar with Stomp (look out, this one wanted to open a pop-up on me), they are a group of percussionists. Don't worry, they're not the guys who played drums in your high school, they're a bunch of people who are fascinated with the sounds made when different objects are struck and the sounds people make with their mouths that aren't quite singing. This particular video captures sounds from around the world, from Native American dances and New York street performers to Africa, South America, and Asia. It is a high-energy, high-volume, get-up-and-dance kind of video. I'm putting it on my wish list. Once I get it, I will subject it to anyone who comes to our house.

That's it for now. Time for bed.

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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.