January 27, 2014

"We are in a Zoo!"

That is the comment I heard from a couple of  7th graders when I spent the day as their science sub.  The regular teacher had added a snake to her classroom animal collection and the kids had just seen it.  
The newest member, the snake, was out and about in his cage slithering around.  He got a bit shyer ( or perhaps was just tired) when I went over later to take his picture. 
The turtle looked like he was stuck in the log!  I think he may have just been chilly--although he did have a heat lamp nearby.  
The iguana basked under a heat lamp all day on his branch moving nary a muscle as far as I could tell. Must be the life!   

What classroom animals have you seen? 

January 25, 2014

Marshmallow Models

I spent time in a middle school science class this week and they were studying chemistry.  The teacher had set up the class the day with some background knowledge and an experiment.  She burned a magnesium strip to create magnesium oxide.  

On my watch, the students were to do some reading in their text then build a model of the chemical equation with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.  It was to be a discovery session as they figured out how to represent the equation with the marshmallows.  At first the kids struggled some, but they soon figured out what they could do and the day was a success.  After creating the model they sketched their model in their science notebooks. 

At that point, some of the marshmallows were eaten! 

A Sweet Surprise

I met my cousin for an early dinner at the local bread company Friday afternoon.  The young manager behind the counter greeted us enthusiastically as we approached. I gave him a second glance and realized that I knew him!  That was why we got the enthusiastic greeting.  He is one of my former students.  He came around and gave me a hug and we had some small talk before I ordered my dinner.

It makes me proud to see my students doing well.

Before I left to go home, I stopped back at the counter to pick up a couple of muffins for the weekend and gave my order to the girl behind the counter.  The manager, my former student, happened to walk back to that area and he told the gal-- "She was my 5th grade teacher!"  

Mercy!  I feel old.  But I also feel proud.

Have you had a chance run-in with a former student or former teacher?    

January 21, 2014

Shoe Orphanage

These poor shoes have been left, forgotten, misplaced, or lost during the course of a PE term.  The shoes that nobody wants?

I'm not exactly sure how the shoes find themselves in this spot or how long they have been here. However, when I subbed as a girls physical education coach I did notice how many little things the girls leave behind as they prepare to get ready for their next class.

Have you ever left anything behind in a class? 

January 10, 2014

Snow Day No Way!

When I taught full time in the classroom, as most teachers will agree, snow days are like treats- little vacation days- like an oasis in the desert.  We cherish them. We get silly and act like Oprah's audience during her "Favorite Things" show. 

But now as a substitute teacher, I say "Snow day, no way! "   For me, a snow day now means a day of no work which translates to a day without pay.   So when we have snow days, I lose money.  Money that I cannot make up.

So while I still like the idea of cuddling up on the sofa with a cup of cocoa and a book, watching the snow and cold from inside; I do not-- cannot-- afford them.

We've had two snow days thus far this year. My neighbors to the east have had a whole week of them.
Have you had snow days? 

January 9, 2014

Lesson of the Day

After several days of frigid weather where I have not left home, today I had a sub job scheduled for a half day.  This was a repeat job where I was requested.  It is at a good school and it is a fun class and I was looking forward to subbing  as it would be my first sub job of the new year.

The only anxiety I felt was the forecast of light snow and freezing drizzle--making for slippery roads.  I got up a little early and planned to add minutes to the short commute in case of bad roads.

I gathered my things, went to the garage and got in my car to leave at 7:20 am. I had to be there by 7:50 am and it was maybe 10 minutes away on a good day.

BUT my car would not start.   The battery was dead.  I had left no light on.  The doors were not left open.  It is a newer car.  But the battery had failed me.  What was I to do???  I had to be at the school in less than 30 minutes and I can't get the car to start.

If I were working as a teacher --I would call up a friend or co-worker and ask for a ride.  But there is no co-worker here.  I have no one's number to call for a ride.  My neighbors are nowhere to be seen.  I could call other friends, but they either have to get to their jobs and helping me jump my car would make them late or they live far enough away from me that it would take 15-20 minutes for them to even get to my home.

I called the school and told the principal about my car failure. I apologized for the trouble this would cause.  I then called the sub office and asked them to find a replacement sub for me and gave them the reason so they wouldn't think I was just blowing the job off.

Eventually when I was able to get someone to help, it took 3 jumps to get my car to get going!  I think the combination of the below zero temperatures and the fact that I had not driven it in about a week caused the battery to freeze up or to lose its charge.  I made sure that it got charged up today so I won't find myself in this position again.

Later I emailed both the teacher and the principal to apologize for any inconvenience ( I am sure my replacement sub had to get there after the starting time).  I heard back from both of them. I want to be sure that my relationship with them continues to build in a positive way.

Today's Lesson Learned:  Always start your car every day regardless of your plans to go out or not.

Do you have a Plan B to get to work?