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May not be all it's cracked up to be,,,,,
Old 01-17-2008, 09:01 AM   #1
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May not be all it's cracked up to be,,,,,

Well, I had my first day of living my post-retirement dream yesterday, and it may not be all it's cracked up to be.

One of my planned "time killers" was to substitute teach in local school districts. And I got my first assignment yesterday, 7th grade Language Arts. That's a fancy way of saying 7th grade English if you ask me.

First three classes weren't too bad. One or two management problems, but a 7th grader is no match for a finely honed practitioner of verbal judo such as myself. We got through the lessons completely, and with a decent level of participation.

But that last class of the day, HOLY COW!!! What genius decided to take all of the worst kids of the grade and put them all together in one group? It'll take a few more sessions to help me make up my mind, but on first appearances I must give more respect to full time teachers. Of course it doesn't help when one of the kids in the class tells you straight out, "You can't do anything to me. I'll put you in jail."

My summer schedule is already filling with races, and I'm sure I'll be teaching motorcycle safety when I'm not ref-ing races, so it's not like I need to be a teacher. It was just a fantasy I held for many years. I suppose as a full timer, finding that one special kid a year could make it worthwhile. But as a sub who sees the kids once or twice a year, what's the incentive? I don't think money should ever be an incentive for being a teacher. I always thought being a teacher was about opening minds, which is impossible to do one day a year when you are seen as nothing more than "fresh meat".
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:08 AM   #2
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Doncha just hate it when reality intrudes on your good intentions and high ideals?

Lesson to all: If an ex-Marine retired prison guard can't stomach substitute teaching, what are the odds that you will survive enjoy it?
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:29 AM   #3
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.....Of course it doesn't help when one of the kids in the class tells you straight out, "You can't do anything to me. I'll put you in jail."
Our local school district runs a pretty tight ship. If a kid would say that to a teacher here, it would be considered a threat, and the kid would be given a 3-5 day suspension by the principal. If it happened again, it would go to the superintendent and the school board for a vote to expel the kid for the rest of either the semester or the rest of the year. They have very few repeat offenders!!

They also have an alternative school for expelled kids, or those with multiple suspensions. The parents decide if they want their troublesome kid to go there or not. Most do opt for it. If they go, they sit in ONE classroom ALL day, and do normal studies and homework. There's NO recess, NO gym class, NO fun! If the kid causes any problems, the police are contacted and the kid is charged accordingly....usually 'disorderly conduct'. They are then taken to either police lock-up or juvie.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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This week, DH is finishing the district's training to be a sub in our school system while he looks for something else.

The sub pay is a joke - $10/hour.

The training is a joke - Mostly war stories on how unqualified people meet all of the training criteria and become certified to sub.

The bureaucracy is crazy. The district is desperate for subs, but it takes forever to get "certified". DH has been working on this since early Nov. Many required acts are only available during certain times and things have to be done in a set order. The process includes completing online and paper applications, getting transcripts, finger printing and background search (which we pay for), this class, and he then needs to get the school to follow up on recs because if he waits for the district to do it, it will be another 6 weeks.

Most subs want to work in high school - they tell the kids it is a study hall and babysit read their paper or novel.

All agree that middle school is the worst. (My kids are in middle school and they would agree too).

DH will work in the elementary school where our kids went, so he already knows everyone and the school won't put up with out of control little kids. But managing 24 8-year olds is daunting under any circumstances. We will see how long he can do this.

The kids are more than willing to give him pointers on how to be a "good" sub versus to be one of the "bad" ones. If you are a "bad" sub - even the good kids will give you a hard time.

Leatherneck, please keep at it. Based on what I have heard heard this week, some of the subs are so scary, that those with common sense and integrity are a breadth of fresh air.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:52 AM   #5
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............... It'll take a few more sessions to help me make up my mind, but on first appearances I must give more respect to full time teachers. ..............
Teacher support seems to vary a lot between school districts. In the school where my DW teaches, kids with behavioral problems are considered to have a learning disability. I'm not talking about ADD, I'm talking about just begin spoiled and having never learned to be quiet and show respect. Naturally the teacher is expected to come up with an improvement "plan" to resolve the issue.

I've got a plan.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:20 AM   #6
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In my day, we just put "Dick Herz" down on the roster, so that when the substitute asks "Who's Dick Herz?" all the guys can raise their hands.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
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In my day, we just put "Dick Herz" down on the roster, so that when the substitute asks "Who's Dick Herz?" all the guys can raise their hands.


Imma Pigg was in our class
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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In my day, we just put "Dick Herz" down on the roster, so that when the substitute asks "Who's Dick Herz?" all the guys can raise their hands.
And don't forget Mike Hunt and Heywood Jablowme. They found their way onto rosters too.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:53 AM   #9
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Well, I had my first day of living my post-retirement dream yesterday, and it may not be all it's cracked up to be.

One of my planned "time killers" was to substitute teach in local school districts. And I got my first assignment yesterday, 7th grade Language Arts. That's a fancy way of saying 7th grade English if you ask me.

First three classes weren't too bad. One or two management problems, but a 7th grader is no match for a finely honed practitioner of verbal judo such as myself. We got through the lessons completely, and with a decent level of participation.

But that last class of the day, HOLY COW!!! What genius decided to take all of the worst kids of the grade and put them all together in one group? It'll take a few more sessions to help me make up my mind, but on first appearances I must give more respect to full time teachers. Of course it doesn't help when one of the kids in the class tells you straight out, "You can't do anything to me. I'll put you in jail."

My summer schedule is already filling with races, and I'm sure I'll be teaching motorcycle safety when I'm not ref-ing races, so it's not like I need to be a teacher. It was just a fantasy I held for many years. I suppose as a full timer, finding that one special kid a year could make it worthwhile. But as a sub who sees the kids once or twice a year, what's the incentive? I don't think money should ever be an incentive for being a teacher. I always thought being a teacher was about opening minds, which is impossible to do one day a year when you are seen as nothing more than "fresh meat".

Yes you will find that in most school districts. The best classes are well the easiest to sub for. The ones like the last period is well a blast if you take it for what it is. If you spend time at the same school sub teaching you will become a face that the kids will like. It will become easier.

Where I was sub teaching in NC I have my pick of over 20 schools to work in daily 25+ jobs a day offered. The best ones are computer science at a high school, or any honors high school class. The kids do there own work. Middle School ALWAYS is the hardest as the kids are so darn awkward and trying to act older than they are.

I ended up taking 3 different 20% positions this school year at elementary schools teaching Physical education to K through 4th grade students. That is a blast and the pay is so much better.

Yes teaching for 30 years I love when a new sub would get the kid who tests how far he or she can go with the new sub. Get the kids phone number make a call home while you are in the class. It quiets the wise guy down! Respect? Nah we teachers who have been at it for years have seen the change. There is little respect from kids these days. The parents never taught them how to respect anything.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:42 AM   #10
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In my day, we just put "Dick Herz" down on the roster, so that when the substitute asks "Who's Dick Herz?" all the guys can raise their hands.
Then if you want to get the guys to point at everyone else you can go with "Who's Dick Little?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------

On the serious side of this post, I hope you will hang in there leatherneck. It's an unfortunate fact of life that those who clearly deserve respect, still have to prove it one soul at a time.
OTOH, if I found myself in a system (meaning school administration, parent base, the community) that had not exhibited the backbone and will to do what's proven to be the track to success, then it would be time to part ways. Sorry, but life is too short.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:59 PM   #11
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:22 PM   #12
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"You can't do anything to me. I'll put you in jail."
"Thats okay because with your attitude you'll probably end up my cellmate.

Then I'll be able to do all kinds of things to you".
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:54 PM   #13
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Well, I had my first day of living my post-retirement dream yesterday, and it may not be all it's cracked up to be....
...But that last class of the day, HOLY COW!!! What genius decided to take all of the worst kids of the grade and put them all together in one group? It'll take a few more sessions to help me make up my mind, but on first appearances I must give more respect to full time teachers. Of course it doesn't help when one of the kids in the class tells you straight out, "You can't do anything to me. I'll put you in jail."
Let me relate how I have satisfied my "itch to teach" in a low-stress way. By way of background, I'm a retired naval officer and I always thought that teaching would be a great 2nd career after 20 years. As it turned out, I stayed in almost 30 years and by then I was older and unwillling to go through the hassle of certification. (Plus, with my degree in economics, I would have presumably become a Social Studies teacher and would have needed to take a bunch of content courses in history, geography, etc. More than I was willing to do, considering the relatively low pay.)

I applied to the Navy for certifcation as a NJROTC instructor and was certified. That meant that all I had to do was find a vacancy in a public school that had the program and get them to hire me. Better pay than USN reirement + public school salary because you're guaranteed to make at least as much as you do on active duty. (Navy subsidizes the school system.) But I could never find an opening in the geographic area in which I was living at the time. So I worked for Beltway Bandits for 6 years before retiring for good.

At that time I began tutoring adult literacy 2 days a week). It was through an organization that focuses on getting volunteers to work with poor people, so I was in a learning center in inner-city Baltimore close to a notorious drug peddling corner. But I found I loved it and had a pretty good talent for it. (I worked under a younger guy who taught me a lot.) My leadership experience from the Navy helped me a lot as well and I worked up a great rapport with most of the people I tutored. The thing about tutoring adults (which could be folks as young as 16 if they've dropped out of school) is that you're working one-on-one so you don't have to "manage" a classroom. Especially with the younger ones, they're not trying to impress their peers with how funny they can be in class. Also, if they display bad attitudes you can always give them, as I did sometimes, "the speech": "I'm not getting paid for this, I'm doing it because I want to help you succeed but, if you don't want to put in the effort, there's plenty of other folks in this center who have asked to have me as a tutor."

I've since moved to Vermont and do tutoring here as well, albeit with a different demographic. But it's pretty much the same: people who slipped through the cracks in the educational system who are trying to get GED's. Very satisfying work - lots better than having a whole classroom. And since I don't need the money in retirement, pay is not an issue.
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:33 PM   #14
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Hang in there one day shouldn't make or break a retired jarhead. I've thought about doing the sub route down here in Chattanooga but after watching the news and hearing stories about having full time police officers aka resource officers in the Hamilton County schools becuase of any number of problems better sense prevailed.

But hang in there Leatherneck, you got my respect for at least trying to make a difference.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:09 PM   #15
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Hang in there one day shouldn't make or break a retired jarhead. I've thought about doing the sub route down here in Chattanooga but after watching the news and hearing stories about having full time police officers aka resource officers in the Hamilton County schools becuase of any number of problems better sense prevailed.

But hang in there Leatherneck, you got my respect for at least trying to make a difference.
There should be police officers in most schools in most communities. Where are the most people during the school day in some communities?? In the schools. Thats what the police are hired to do protect the community. Better to have a police officer in the school than writing tickets for 35 in a 25 mph zone.

The police should not be like the fire dept. They should be proactive.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:43 PM   #16
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Leatherneck, all props to you.. maybe you should rent "Dangerous Minds" (if Michelle Pfieffer can keep thuggish kids in line.. oh...yeah.. it's a movie!.. Sorry..).

From a distant perspective (no kids, and no longer in the US) I know it has SOMEthing to do with "kids these days" and "lack of respect".. but I wonder what are the carrots as opposed to the sticks. Sure, the penalty is detention or special schooling.. but how is learning promoted as a positive end and something WORTH these kids' fighting not only the instinctual but the social forces that drag them down and away from learning and mastery??

a couple of political things that I don't want to make political but just use as examples:

Joe Klein, highly-paid reporter and commentator, on FISA:
Quote:
I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right ..
FISA: More Than You Want to Know - Swampland - TIME

Ted Koppel:

Quote:
Quote:
KING: Okay. Were you impressed with this “fuzzy [math],” top 1 percent, 1.3 trillion, 1.9 trillion bit?

KOPPEL: You know, honestly, it turns my brains to mush. I can’t pretend for a minute that I’m really able to follow the argument of the debates. Parts of it, yes. Parts of it, I haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.
And Ted Koppel is arguably one of the most serious journalists on television.
Hullabaloo


If this kind of intellectual --'negligence' is too weak a word-- willful ABANDONMENT is the norm even among highly-remunerated white establishment figures.. who ELSE is going to BOTHER.. being precise, being smart, being accurate??

Forget any political aspect; the message is that 'none of that' (comprehension) "pays"...

Being a "playa" is more highly regarded than being a 'straight arrow'.. and not just in the general conception of underprivileged or minority communities: We have met the enemy and he is us. Even mainstream white America hates "wonks" and elects functional retards who cannot use the English language. (I would be equally disparaging of a similarly-incapacitated Democrat.)

Ignorance is no longer seen as shameful, but a proud badge of arrogance and power. The more ignorance combined with the more power the better-- a magical and intoxicating combination, a moron's vindication.

Keep at it, Leatherneck, with the English (or "language arts"). Make your kids see that their world can be painfully circumscribed by the limits of language and the language tools they bring to it. More language skills => better comprehension and command of any thing they should ever want to comprehend or command.

I only understood poorly Chomsky's technical and academic linguistics, but one thing stuck with me: if you do not have the word for something, that concept is effectively closed to you. I applaud your effort to help them open those closed doors, even if it is not always as successful as you would hope.

Italians are lovely people, but the opposite of bookish these days, generally speaking. I offered my services as a native-English-speaker assistant in the public schools here, just as a volunteer, even.. but ran into the principal's 'credentialing' roadblock. (F*** 'em.) Among Italian family and friends, I often run into the confounding situation of basically 'inventing' --in order to express myself-- a "pseudo"-Italian word I know in English since it happens to have a Latin root.. only to have them tell me the word "does not exist". IF we go to the Italian dictionary.. we find it DOES exist, IN modern Italian, nine times out of ten.... they just can't be bothered to know it.

"What's the name of this bird?", I ask. "It's.. a bird", they answer. SOMEone must have a name for it, just not them.. and my sad-while-admittedly-condescending take is that they are all somehow, however slightly, poorer for that ignorance. I acknowledge the defect of not knowing how to helpfully propose language and vocabulary expansion such that it might be useful, either to the Italians or in the context of your classes, but, ...keep the faith, Leatherneck.. you're fighting the good fight.

jtmitch.. how do you like Vermont? I've toyed with re-retiring there.. Your targeting tutoring sounds great, and thanks to you, too, for your service to those who have fallen by the wayside or through the cracks..


--
only marginally related, here is a funny (and in no way atypical) recounting of a "language-compromised" Italian (Europeans have a better command of English than Americans do generally of any/all foreign languages. but this just goes to show what poor comprehension can entail):

Quote:
I'm in a bookstore looking at the English books. A middle-aged Italian man is reading the titles out loud. It's obvious he is feeling chatty and wants to strike up a conversation.

"Have you read this one? Wonder what it is about?" he asks, pointing to a book entitled something like Prison Break. He pronounces it Preeeeesown Brek.

"I haven't read it but I'd imagine it's about people who escape from prison. Not really sure. Maybe you could read the back cover..." I say. I pronounce the title correctly in an exaggerated manner, making it apparent that I'm a native English speaker.

"My daughter is a professional interpreter. She'd know." He whips out his cell phone and proceeds to call her right then and there for my benefit. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to walk away but seeing as though I'm still looking at the English books, I continue my browsing.

"Hi, honey. It's dad. I'm in the bookstore. I am looking at a book called Preeesown Brek. What could that mean? Oh....uh huh.....uh huh....uh huh. I see. Thanks, honey. I'll be home in a while," goes the conversation.

"She is a professional interpreter. She knows what it means," he says proudly turning back to me. "She said it means that they are in prison but they take a pausa. Like a snack break or a lunch break. Maybe it could refer to the guards."
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:05 PM   #17
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how do you like Vermont? I've toyed with re-retiring there..

I like it a lot - laid back and great for outdoorsy stuff year 'round. Disadvantages are fairly high taxes and a very leftish political atmosphere. (I tend to be pretty middle of the road; never really figured out if I'm a conservative democrat or a liberal republican. So, I'm an independent.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:57 AM   #18
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I have gotten a couple of e-mails from the teacher I subbed for. Apparently I was not the failure I thought I was. My post-class notes correctly identified every kid and the actions I took were considered appropriate.

More importantly the kids were favorably impressed and gave me good reviews, except the trouble makers. I was considered too strict and harsh by them. I've been told that Brittney will be requesting me to take her class if she needs anymore subs. Nice feeling.
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Old 01-19-2008, 12:11 PM   #19
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yay!
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:47 PM   #20
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I have gotten a couple of e-mails from the teacher I subbed for. Apparently I was not the failure I thought I was. My post-class notes correctly identified every kid and the actions I took were considered appropriate.

More importantly the kids were favorably impressed and gave me good reviews, except the trouble makers. I was considered too strict and harsh by them. I've been told that Brittney will be requesting me to take her class if she needs anymore subs. Nice feeling.

See they like the guy with guts to put the little ba$tards in their shoes!!

Nice work!
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