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tricks 'n treats
wednesday, december 1, 2004

. ? 100 Things # .

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forgive the halloweenish title, but it fits . . . sorta. there's a lot else in there, but how many times can you name an entry "lots o' stuff"?

anyway, one of the things i like about subbing is that almost every day is different - a different school, a different class, a different subject. keeps variety in the work place and keeps it from being boring. but, one of the things i dislike about subbing is that almost every day is different - each school does things differently, it's another day of proving to the kids that i'm not a push over, and the variation in hours can be killer. it's the last 2 that can make a day utterly exhausting rather than just tiring, depending on how much the kids push. i think it's getting easier. i'm getting used to working (well, a little, anyway). but, best of all, i'm learning which tricks work and what to do when they don't.

yes, domy's got a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to working with the kiddles. the one that seems to work the best so far - give them more work. i don't mean randomly throw more work on them. i mean, "ok, these are the assignments. work on them quietly and this one will become homework. get enough warnings from me and both will be due at the end of class."

3 out of 4 classes opted to work quietly and not risk getting more work to do.

the 4th class was something of a special case. currently the "lunch class" is in class for so long, then goes to lunch, then comes back to finish class. some classes are fortunate and go to lunch first then spend the whole period in class, or have the class then go to lunch. but most times my classes end up with lunch in the middle. now, i'd think it would be easier to spread the lunches over 2 class periods, but i'm not sure of all the issues involved so i could be very wrong. anyway, the "lunch kids" invariably end up being my hardest classes to deal with. they take longer to settle down before lunch, and the process has to start all over after lunch. this class ended up with both assignments due by the end of class before we even went to lunch. so, when we got back, i told them now they need to settle down or get another homework assignment. this worked, but just barely.

there are other things i do as well - take names for detentions (although the delayed follow through makes this a less appealing option for me), send them to another teacher or to the discipline office (depending on what the school has and their procedure), offer to answer questions about cali, and rewards. unlike many teachers, i refuse to reward with sweets - i give fancy pencils, stickers, fancy erasers, and so on. useful things that won't have them hyped on sugar. and i never hesitate to bring in reinforcements. so far with most kids, if i get them twice, day 2 generally runs smoothly and the only tricks i get to pull out of my bag are the rewards.

which is a nice thing.

this week i've been at the same middle school, and 2 of the 3 days have been in the same classroom. it's been nice. no surprise hours, able to plan around the work day easier since we know when it will start and end. the same procedures when it comes to lunch. the same bell schedule so i'm not trying to figure out where the heck i'm supposed to be when. it's been so nice that i keep checking with the office to see if they have anything for me later in the week. so far i've been lucky and will be working there tomorrow as well. friday is still up in the air, and i doubt i'll get anything for monday before monday, but it's been nice to have a regular schedule in comfortable, familiar surroundings.

but the treat hasn't been just mine this week. the school i've been going to is my son's, and he's been absolutely thrilled about it. we go into school together, and monday i had a free period during his lunch and went to see him. he introduced to me to all his fellow classmates and was very excited. i saw him again later in the hall and he had to come give me a hug. he really likes knowing i'm there. the best part? he still behaved for his teachers.

i'm really hoping that the front office there will keep scheduling me as far in advance as possible. it really is a win-win situation: i have work, they have a much needed sub, and my son has his mommy somewhere nearby. treats all around, no tricks needed.

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Since July 9, 2000

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