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Friday, April 25, 2008

Subs 25 and 26

Sub 25 was ok. In one class I had time to bring up my experiences, as suggested by a teacher during my 24th substituting job. There were only a dozen students, and even if they weren't totally absorbed in my account of being a Peace Corps Volunteer, at least they didn't ignore me and talk to each other the whole time. Well, except for the two girls in front who were too cool to be interested in something that didn't revolve around themselves. And they might have been listening and just pretending to be bored. That's what I tell myself, anyway. The other class took a test, so I just stood over them, freaking out every time someone talked. At least that's how they probably perceived it.

Today I am at Southwest Jr. High. In some ways, this would be an ideal building in which to work: it's a new facility that feels very spacious and open. The classrooms have internet computers and projectors built in. It's starting to have that lived-in look without being worn-down. And it's a ten or 15 minute walk from my house. I didn't walk today, as it was supposed to rain. And it did rain. But now it's sunny.

So today I'm subbing for an inter-related studies teacher. Once again, this is special-ed in the day and age in which everyone is special so we need another name for the students who used to be special. I graduated from high school 20 years ago (I heard they're planning our 20-year reunion. A couple of my class-mates own a bar, so they're reserving it for the LHS Class of 88 for a weekend. Whoopee.), when mainstreaming was something you only did on the fringes. The special ed kids joined the rest of us for P.E., sort of. They were there at the same time as the rest of us, anyway, using the same locker room for the most embarrassing part of the day--changing clothes and taking a shower. And that was it. For the most part, kids with learning disabilities were kept separate. Whether that was done "for their own good" or to avoid distracting everyone else is unclear to me from this perspective. And maybe it was more integrated than I remember. God knows my point of view has changed in a big way in the last 20 years.

Now things are a bit different. More kids are identified with problems, but there is a much stronger push to have them engaged with other kids their age. They are placed in regular classrooms as often as possible. Usually this involves a modified curriculum, and it sometimes involves having an assistant (either a para or a teacher) stay with the student to help them maintain focus.

For the most part, that's the usual job of the teacher I'm subbing for. Today it's a bit different. For the first two hours he usually goes to an English classroom. The regular teacher in there is out on maternity leave, so there is a long-term sub in her room. But today the long-term sub called in sick, so there is a sub for the long-term sub. Double-sub. I went over to the classroom (with the teacher I am subbing for, who is still in the building, which is another story) to check in, and we found that the kids were doing silent reading all hour, both hours. And that is why I can sit down and write on the Roblog before the day has even gotten started.

The regular teacher I'm subbing for is in the building. He's helping out with the sixth graders who are visiting to tour the school for Transition Day. I vaguely remember doing that when I was on the verges of jr. high and high school. I'm sure I considered it a day off, perhaps a peek into my own future. To the teachers who have to escort students around, it's a boring day.

So today I will be working one-on-one with problem students, when I am actually working. I have two plan periods in a row at lunch time, so I will be getting out of here and getting some grub. For now, I kind of need to get ready, make sure I know when the bell will ring and where I should be when it does. So I'm going to post this, and come back with a new post if there's anything to report.

Peace,

Rob

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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.