Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Weird Things Kids Do

I'm going to let you in on a fun fact about myself. My feet tan extremely fast. By mid June I will be sporting a flip flop tan line that is unlike any other. But the weird thing is the rest of me doesn't tan that fast (especially my face).

Anywho, here is the actual story (and yes the above statement is important to the story)

I have these cheap white flats that I bought at Wal-Mart years ago. I love them for 3 reasons 1) they are comfortable, 2) they go with just about anything and 3) they make my feet look about 3 times darker.

I usually wear these flats with pants though because I don't like the way they look with shorts or even a skirt or dress. So I'm wearing pants with these flats and I'm assuming I also decided to pull on a shirt that day as well.

I'm subbing in a grade 1 class this day and we are doing calendar time. I'm sitting in a chair and the rest of the class is on the carpet in front of me. Nothing is out of the ordinary, we are having a great start to the day.

Then all of a sudden one child asks me what I have on my foot.

"umm... nothing is on my foot, unless you are referring to my shoe little child" I obviously attempt to respond but before I can get the words out the child is grabbing at my skin on my foot and pulling it (assuming I'm wearing those tanned coloured tights or nylons).

But since it really is just how dark my feet are nothing separates.

And what was almost a normal start to the day turned out to be the oddest one yet.

Sidenote: My cousins who are much older than a grade 1 student have also been perplexed by the skin on my feet also assuming that I was wearing some kind of nylons under my pants.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


This is not a tip for substitute teaching in the classroom. This is a tip for when you first arrive at the school. Sometimes you will get a parking stall number, other times you will see that there is abundance of visitor parking and both of these are very tempting. You get to park your car nice and close to the school in the safety of the parking lot where surely no harm can come to your car.

But I park in neither of those spots*.

You see the thing about the school parking lot is that at the end of the day it gets more congested than a nose during cold and flu season. I've actually sat in my car a good 20 minutes at the end of the day because I couldn't back out of my space to exit the parking lot because of all the extra cars picking up their lovely children at the end of the day.

If you refuse to park your precious, precious car on the street (or maybe you can't because there is parking restrictions of the street) then I suggest doing the pull through method or backing into your spot. This way you do not have to reverse out of your spot at the end of the day and can be a little more aggressive about getting the nose of your car out into the flow of things instead of making a 37 point turn to get yourself backed out and into the flow.

* ok, I do occasionally park in those spots. If it is -30°C (or -50°C) then I'll park in the parking lot so that I'm able to plug in my car and don't have to run outside at lunch time and sit in my car for 10 minutes in the ice cold to run it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

31 Signs You've Been a Teacher Too Long

You can find the article that I'll be referencing here.  You should probably read it and decide for yourself if you have been teaching too long.

I am going to go ahead and say that I have not been TEACHING too long.  Subbing on the other hand... quite possibly.

Why do I say I have not been teaching too long?  Well...
- First off all my jokes are hilarious and not at all cheesy (#1)
-  I don't have my summers off!.. I'm a part time nanny! (#3)... this isn't to say that I believe teachers have their summers off (although they technically do... unless they have other employment) because many of them plan over the summer and eventually start setting up their classroom again.
-  I NEVER get hilarious tattle notes (#12) and if I did you know I'd be posting them on here!
-  Can I just say that now I want a teaching position that much more just to do a yearbook photo like #16
-  Finding a substitute doesn't have to be hard (#21). I'll come!... that's assuming you are a teaching in one of the divisions (or private schools) that I sub in.  I mean... the commute to Miami would be killer.
-  And I just have to say Aww... to number 31.

Having said all of that of course there are ones that are true.  But I've done some thinking and since I am under 10 that means I have definitely not been teaching long enough... here is my list of things that are true...

#5 I love, love, LOVE movie days (ok, maybe love is too strong of a word but I definitely like them almost as much as I like my boyfriend... and I like him a lot)
#7 Who wouldn't laugh at Mr. Butt... do you not see how his name is spelt and how I'm assuming it's pronounced?  That is SO unfortunate!
#10 is the one I hate to admit.  I do lose my cool.  Sometimes, once I lose my cool I don't even find my cool until the next day.  Ugh, I hate it when I lose my cool.  I'm REALLY going to try to stay positive this year.  PS. I also love (like) New Girl.
#11 seriously, just spell the freaking word out!  It takes you not even a second to add a y and an o to the word you.  How lazy are we getting?
#14  They can pick on you so much more when you are the substitute teacher :(
#24  That will ALWAYS make me laugh (and you better believe it will make an appearance on the blog once I come across it).
#29 Ahh... the bell to go home.  Sweet relief.  Just be sure not to take off too early!

So.... which are true of you?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Alternative Learning School

So there are these schools that are for students that can't handle a 'normal' high school where they go to school from 8:30 - 3:30, sit in classes, and listen to teachers. There are probably various reasons why a student can't manage that situation in my case it was mostly because they were in and out of jail. Yes, jail. They get to work at their own pace (within reason) which can really benefit certain students sometimes.

But let's back up and set the stage for this lovely day.

I have a fabulous friend who occasionally hooks me up with subbing jobs at her school. She is a fantastic friend and I love going to her school to sub.

One day she messages me telling me that one of the teachers at the school has this husband who teaches at this school in the ghetto and he is going to request me because his wife suggested it.

Uh.. wait. What?

This friend of mine goes on to say that I should accept it because even if it is a terrible day we can laugh about it later and plus she would like to know what that school is all about.

Well, eventually the requested job shows up and I accept it (because I'll be able to laugh about it later). I'm not happy about the school it tells me to go to (my friend wasn't sure what the exact school was) mostly because I had heard horror stories from other substitute teachers about how the kids will do nothing and swear at you.

"Great" I thought "it sounds like another day to spend crying in my car"

Sidenote: I've only had to go to my car to cry once in all my subbing years.

Luckily, I was only required to sign in at the school and then I would be going to another location. Odd but at least it wasn't THAT school. Plus as a bonus I didn't have to bring a lunch because lunch would be provided.

Eventually, I find the school (after driving around the block 5 times and asking a homeless man if he had any idea where it was) and get my car parked in the proper parking lot.

I'm informed that it's an alternative school and the students will come at any point during the day. I'm shown my desk and told that I'll basically be helping any students who need help but not to panic because there are 3 of us total and the numbers aren't that big.

I was told in my subfinder instructions from the actual teacher that it would be an easy day and not to panic over it. He wasn't lying.

Basically I sat at my desk with my feet up reading for the majority of the morning.

Lunch rolls around and I'm invited to the kitchen area to have a pizza pop with the students. Awesome.

After lunch I helped one student with a math practice test and then got sent home early because there were really no students around anyways.

It was a great day at the Alternative Learning School

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mad Libs

I must confess I do not bring a bag of tricks with me when I go subbing. My first couple of years at this I was more into it I guess and I did bring stuff but now it is rare. However, on occasion, I will still bring some Mad Libs. 

Mad Libs are great. The kids learn and they get to make up a hilarious story. Plus now you don't even have to go out and buy a Mad Libs book because you can find them online (find websites) or even download an app if you have an iPhone or iPod or iPad. 

You get 21 stories free and then can purchase other books for $1.99.  

I always used a book though. Since I wanted to be able to reuse the Mad Libs in it multiple times I always wrote their answers down on another piece of paper (or on the board) and then just looked at that to fill in the blanks. 

How we played was I would let one student pick the story (the student can also be in charge of writing the words down and asking for the specific types of words that we need) and then I would go around the room asking each student to contribute a word. There generally weren't rules to the words they could use (the sillier the better) but obviously, swears or inappropriate words were not allowed. I also told them they weren't allowed to use the same word more than once (unless it was specified that it was ok)

Friday, August 16, 2013


Just in case you aren't currently advertising what you do on your shirt Nordstrom has come up with a solution to this quite large problem.

Of course you have to be a substitute teacher if it your job you are informing people of.
Or you can buy one in support of substitute teachers everywhere!... not that we (the substitute teachers everywhere) are getting any money from the sales.

Starting to think I should be wearing something like this but maybe instead mine will read 
"Yes, I am still a substitute teacher
No, I have not gotten a teaching position"
It will save me from answering a lot of the exact same questions.

Will you be running out to purchase one of these lovely shirts?

I will not be because...
1) It is a little over $30 Canadian (plus shipping and taxes still)
2) I don't want to advertise what I do on my shirt (I also wouldn't get one that said "Teacher")
.... but I can only say for myself.

But if you are interested in the shirt you can find it online here.  
Or just go check out the closest Nordstrom to you.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Computer Class

Back in the day we loved hitting up the computer lab to play some Oregon Trail and Number Munches. But oh how the times have changed. What's popular now you ask?

Well other then the math game websites we make the children visit there is always accessing a local radio station (if 10 kids access 10 different websites that play music it makes the ambiance all the more enjoyable). There is also attempting to access blocked sites (ahemFACEBOOKahem) and then some kids are able to access some Call of Duty like game (maybe it's the actual game just an online version). It's tough keeping those kiddos on the math websites these days...

Perhaps the oddest thing that kids sneak off to do (as in they sneak off in the world wide web... not the bathroom or anything). Is they go to a translator website. It's not a regular translator though that would for example translate French to English. No, no, no... this one reads out what you write. But writing out normal words for the translator to read is no fun at all. So what do kids type out for it to read you ask?

alkfdsjnzksd kldjhg kdls dsk

No I did not just sit on my keyboard. That is what they type out.

What makes computer class all the more enjoyable is when 5 or more students are doing this... basically just a bunch of random sounds.

Of course one student is always typing about Charlie (the boy sitting next to him) and getting his computer to say things like "Charlie smells" but the rest... they are all doing the gibberish.

Always a fun time when you get to head to the computer lab!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I've already discussed one incentive that you can use: games. But what if you don't have a ball for silent ball, or tables/desks for heads up 7up, or a large area to sit in a circle for duck, duck goose. Well then, you best be packing some stickers with you friend. 

We are only substitutes. We aren't teachers or doctors or lawyers. So leave the drippy diamonds at home (and sell them - don't give them away to children!). You can't afford mini chocolate bars for an entire class. Plus, with all this healthy living talk and encouraging kids to eat healthy snacks providing them with chocolate may not go down so great. Also, where would you stash them all while deciding if the class was good enough for the chocolate? AND... if the class sucks and doesn't get it then you are stuck with all this extra chocolate which means you may as well buy yourself bigger pants now. No, no, no... let's not get crazy. Let's just go to the Dollar Store and stock up on teeny tiny cheap erasers, pencils, and stickers now. 

My go to items as giveaways are: sticky notes, pencils, erasers, notebooks, and of course, stickers. I'm pretty proud to say I've hardly paid for any of them either. And no, I did not 5 finger discount them. I find being a teacher we acquire a lot of certain things and pencils, erasers, and sticky notes are hot items that I've often received. Since I don't need drawer fulls of any of these items I just stick them in a bag and give them away. I should state that I do pay for the stickers. They cost a dollar for basically an endless supply. 

I give away all these goodies at the end of the day. It can be to the entire class, to anyone who didn't get their name on the board that day, or anyone you didn't have to talk to more than twice about their behaviour. It can also be a draw. Everytime you catch a student doing something good and helpful write their name down on a piece of paper and draw for a few items at the end of the day (of course, let the students know about the draw at the beginning of the day so they have that incentive to be good). 

I know what some of you are going to say: "I don't believe in incentives", "kids should be good without the use of prizes" or "children should not be rewarded for doing what they should be doing anyways" and that's fine. You can say that. But I clearly do not live in your fairytale land of rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns. Kids are not always good where I am from and this works so I'm going to use incentives.

Examples of some of the incentives I have on hand that I also use for "mystery messes"

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Visit to the Vet

Nope, no one panic. One of my students was not sick and I did not take them to the vet to get better. 

On a sidenote... is it normal for schools to have school nurses elsewhere? I don't think I've been to a single school where there has been a school nurse. Is this just a thing that happens in movies? 

Anywho, I was in a kindergarten classroom and it was play time. Some of the kids were obviously playing vet and this happened. 

I guess the bunny had a bump on its head. I thought it was super adorable. 

So I'm chatting with the kids asking about what kind of services they offer. 

"Well I'm the vet and I can do operations, and Robby is the anesthesiologist... he will make sure your pet is asleep before we operate. Clara, she euthanizes the animals and Frank, he'll dispose of them in a humane manner." 

Ok... so I don't remember what we were talking about. 

Anyways, they tell me I need to bring an animal into the vet. So I go over and take a gander at the stuffies that are available to be my pet. There are dogs and cats and likely bears and other normal pets (yes, I know I said bears and bears are not a normal pet) but there is also a lobster. Naturally, I choose the lobster and head over to the vet. 

"What's wrong with your pet" Monica, the receptionist and head vet asks. 

"It's left pincher won't pinch anymore and he stopped growing ages ago even though I have been feeding him marshmallows and creamed corn" (so maybe I just went with the pincher story in real life). 

So Monica takes little Lobby the Lobster to the back (which is actually also the front of the vet's office... no privacy for those animals that's for certain!). About a minute later little Lobby is good as new. His pincher is pinching and he is just all smiles and redder than ever. 

Another satisfied customer at the veterinary clinic!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

No Nonsense

Just for fun...
Last week I showed you this video
Here is another one.

So this has never happened to me.
But I think it's funny...
He was trying to be so serious.
How embarrassing!

There is something that I do agree with in this video though.  
Although I do think that it is important for you to be the kids friends and for them to like you (you want to be invited back after all and the kids usually do have a say in who comes back) I also believe that as the grade increases so does the amount of seriousness.  A classroom can become chaotic quickly if the kids discover they can get away with all kinds of stuff.  You will not get invited back if the teachers or principal complains to the teacher about the substitute they had.

I think this guy had the right idea.
What about you?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...