Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ceramics quiz

This is from 2009.  It was a ceramics quiz.  (hint #11)

Students are to define each term.
Question 11 is "crawling."
The student's answer "what babys do."

If you are not familiar with ceramics, this is the problem.....The first thing that is wrong with the answer is that it is incorrect.  The second is that babies was spelled with a "y" rather than "ies."


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So today I taught ceramics.  It was a great day.  The students were making some awesome art.  I read some art articles in the NY Times.  That is about it.  (Kind of boring, hence why I usually don't write about my good days)

Monday, May 16, 2011


Last week my friend came to town and asked if I could pick her up from the airport.  I said, "Sure, as long as it is after I am done teaching."  So when I picked her up from LAX this was our dialog:
Friend: "How was school?"
Me: "Pretty good."  (I replied as I was teaching ceramics all day and that class is always mellow)
I added, "However, I did give a kid a referral."
Friend: "You always give referrals!"
Me: "No, you only hear about when I give referrals.  When my days run smoothly you never hear anything or it would go something like this:
Friend: "How was school today?"
Me: "Good."
And that would be it.  Good days aren't as interesting to people as bad days.  If I really told my friends how a good day went, they would be bored out of their minds.  But when something goes wrong and a kid does something they know they shouldn't and I give said student a detention or referral or kick them out of my class....that is entertaining.  So this is how the day went:

My day was awesome.  I was teaching three ceramics classes where the teacher is so on top of things that the students know exactly what they need to do and how to do it.  I may get the random question of an opinion but for the most part these students are self-sufficient.  So when I do teach these classes, I walk around and look at their art pieces adding things here and there or make something myself.  This day specifically, I had a handful of students I have had in the past so we talked about their art pieces, prom (it is this week), and college.  Great day.....until my last class of the day (which should have been great as well and was great up until the last twenty minutes of class).  Last week AP testing was going on at the high school so students were getting out of their tests and roaming around campus even though they should have returned to their appropriate classroom.  This was not the case for about six students (athletes that I knew).  One of these students was actually in my class that period, two were suppose to be in my class earlier that day and the other students were just hanging out.  I don't mind if students come into the classroom for short periods of time as long as they don't cause a disturbance or do something they should not be doing.

One student in particular who had the class earlier that day but did not attend due to AP testing is a handful.  Every time I teach this student he causes some kind of trouble.  Within about a minute or two of entering the classroom, clay starts to fly.  I look him in the eyes and tell him how I enjoyed not having him in my class earlier that day because of said flying clay.  I told him he could stay in the class as long as he did not throw anything (I mean 20 minutes of class....not that much to ask for).  About 15-20 seconds later, this kid throws a pencil (A PENCIL!) across the room.  I look at the kid and yelled, "Really????"  He denied throwing said pencil.  I was in shock.  I was in shock for multiple reasons: (1) I have known this kid since he was in the womb, (2) I have known his father since I was 10, maybe even younger, (3) I work for his father as a coach.  IN SHOCK.  The kid then tells me that the student he threw the pencil at "wanted a pencil."  Really?  He wanted you to throw a sharp object at him across a room?  I don't think so.  I didn't know what to do at this point.  He was taking advantage of the relationship I have with his father.  No more.  It was time for a referral.

On my way out of school that day, I walked by his father and gave him a heads up that I gave his kid a referral.  Since then, he has tried to find me a school to apologize and has called me to apologize.  I think he gets it now but it is too late to change the consequence of his misbehavior.  Bummer for him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

bieber fever

The real Justin Bieber - not so hot right now.  But the Justin Bieber in my life - adorable.  I have seen him a couple times this week and he always gives me a big hug and asks how my day is going.  Just adorable.  Plus his hair is pretty fantastic.


I randomly got assigned to substitute teach for an English teacher I was introduced to a couple weeks back.  She teaches freshman English and CAHSEE English (which is pretty much teaching English to students whose English skills are not so great so they can pass the CAHSEE - California High School Exit Examination).  For many of these students, English is not their first language.  These students are great students but can be difficult at times (I have had my battles!).  I have taught these students in many other classrooms so I have a little (as much as a little white girl can get) "street cred."  Some of these students will walk into my class and get excited and tell the other students that I am "chill" and not to mess with me.  Others, not so much but I have a feeling they are like that with most of their teachers (just a feeling).

I was introduced to this classroom during STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) testing.  During the Science portion of the test, I have maybe 4 students.  During the History portion of the test, I had maybe 7 students.  So it was my surprise when I taught the actual class the following day, that I have 15 students (there are only 18 students enrolled in the class).

That day we were scheduled to go to the computer lab so the students could type out their narratives "they had been working on" outside of class???  I believe one student had completed his narrative (which I read and was good) and maybe one or two others had brought in their narrative to type in class. Most of the other students were looking at random websites, deciding what to wear for prom and then there were a couple individuals that were doing the assignment they were suppose to do if they did not have their narrative.

One student was "trying" to access his student account for the website.  All of a sudden I hear "mija!"  I ignore it because he could not have been talking to me.  "Mija!"  So I look up and the student is looking right at me.  He asks, "Mija.  Can you help me get on the website."  I was a little startled.  Really?  Mija. He is a nice kid but we are not friends, let alone, homies (I don't mean that as a stereotype ... I am saying we aren't close and you shouldn't be talking to me that way, I am your teacher).  I looked at this kid and I said "Don't mija me."  And he looks up at me and says, "Mija.  Come on.  Help me out."  I just kind of laughed.  This kid had some balls -  1.  As I said, we are not friends and 2.  I am not your girl.  The way he was looking up at me was hilarious because he knew he was on thin ice but I couldn't not help but help him.

Now the kid is on the website, supposedly doing his work.  I look up to survey the class and what is my little friend doing?  Looking at a website entitled "Barrio Girls."  Now, if you want to look up the website, be my guest but I am not going to link it because it was wrong.  It was so wrong.  Especially at school!  I asked the student to close the window of the screen and he looked at me like I was crazy!  Really?  This kid had some serious balls.  We talked it out and I told him that if it was any other teacher he would be in sooooo much trouble.  It was the day before Spring Break and I just couldn't do it.  However, I did tell him that if I ever teach for him again, that was NOT going to fly.  He nodded and smiled because he knows he got away with it.  Now I see him in the hallways and he says "Hi Ms. Stuart" with the most friendly tone.  And that is why I like this kid.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

long term substitute

For the past two weeks I have had the pleasure (if that is the right word) of teaching freshman English....Romeo and Juliet to be exact. When I sub for a class more than one day I give my "treat me the way you want me to treat you" speech and it usually goes over quite well. Unfortunately for a couple students they learned that the hard way. In the second class of my first day I kicked four students out because they were being disrespectful to their classmates and just plain annoying. Word got out and the rest of my classes were pretty mellow. We had discussions on what we were learning and the kids were responding or asking questions if they didn't get it and not "I don't get it" questions, specific questions that were proof they were listening - which is HUGE when it comes to Shakespeare.

By the end of my two weeks (sexing up Romeo and Juliet so they actually understand the is about forbidden love after all) the kids were actually sad to see me go. They offered to poison their teacher (just like in Act III where Juliet's mother tells her she will find someone in Mantua to poison Romeo)...I mean, come on! the kids were paying attention and that is kind of exciting...but for the wrong reasons - we do not need to poison anyone.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"booty is better than food"

For the past week I have been subbing for a Freshman English class. Freshman. I don't really need to explain more than that but I will give you the story behind the quote.

We are reading Romeo and Juliet in class. This is not an easy play to read, especially not for high school Freshman. We are reading the play in class and each person takes on a role for that scene. My first class of the day does pretty well. My second class, well the left side of class where no one has a reading part, on the other hand is very distracted. While the students are reading their roles about how Juliet finds out from Nurse that her beloved Romeo has killed her cousin Tybalt and is now banished from the city of Verona (and if you are familiar with the play, these parts are LONG = not the most entertaining coming from Freshman), the left side of the room is passing around one of the Romeo and Juliet books. I am watching it go from student to student, to student, back to original student, to student, across an empty desk to another student. Finally I say something: bring me the book that is oh so entertaining. The kid tries to switch out the book for the other book on his desk. Fine, give me both the books. The kid slowly turns to the desk behind him and tries switching out the book with the book on the desk behind him. Really? You are not that slick. Fine, give me all three books. Then the second to last kid that had the book says, "you can have this one too." That was it for me. I pointed to each student and told them to wait outside. One student threatened to leave so I told him that would result in a referral (even though I was sending them to ACE so they would get a referral anyway). All of this for a book that said, "booty is better than food." WOW.

Did I forget to give them the study guide for their quiz on Wednesday? Yep. I guess they won't do so well.

Did I forget to give them their homework for the weekend? Yep. I guess it is going to be late work now.

I now realize why I enjoy subbing for Senior classes so much.

Monday, February 21, 2011

teachers do not get paid enough....even in a bad economy

Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do... babysit!

We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school.

Let's see... that would be $19.50 a day

(7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan-- that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to babysit their children.

Now how many students do they teach in a day... maybe 30 - 40?

Lets say 30 students...

So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year! I am certainly NOT going to pay them for any vacations. LET'S SEE....

That's $585 X 180 = $105,300 per year. hmm wait a minute... (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour.

That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute... there's something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000.

$50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student

...a very inexpensive babysitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!


On a side note....high school teachers have five or six classes, each with an average of 30 students

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

justin bieber

Justin Bieber. I had no idea who this kid was until last year around this time. Girls love Justin Bieber. Boys want to look like Justin Bieber so the girls will love them instead.

I have subbed for this kid who looks like Justin Bieber...well not really looks like Justin Bieber but has the hair cut, hair color and you can't help but laugh at this kid.

The first time I subbed for this kid, let's call him Jake, he kept asking me random questions like:
"How are you doing today, Ms. Stuart?"
"What are you doing this weekend, Ms. Stuart?"
"I would really like to get to know you better, what do you do when you aren't teaching?"
and it goes on and on.

Jake is a nice kid. He means no harm, and I am sure in most classes he gets away with just about anything. I was subbing for a class Jake had the other day and he was so excited to see me again. The class was working on a project individually which gave me some time to sit and drink some coffee. I look up to see how the class was working and there is Jake across the room, winking at me. Now this was not a sly wink, this was a big, yeah you, wink. I burst out laughing. I could not help myself. It was hilarious. Here is this 15 year old kid, who looks like Justin Bieber, winking at me. HILARIOUS!

Now this kid is a nice kid. I was recently injured and one of his classmates is on my sports team, therefore has my phone number. Jake texted me to see how I was doing and wish me well.

kids are crazy..i mean crazy

I know it has been way too long since my last entry but working three jobs has given me little time to do much of anything (one of those jobs is coaching so I have been putting in a lot of extra hours driving to and from games and what not that has led to me just being exhausted).

The first semester of school is coming to a close and there has been a whole lot of crazy that has happened.

1. I get it. Kids love their phones. I mean love. Will do anything for them. They spend ridiculous amounts of money (probably their parents or their boyfriend's/girlfriend's money...any way you look at it A LOT OF MONEY) on these phones. And WOW do they get mad when you ask them to put them away. As a sub, I have two pretty simple rules: put your cell phones away and respect the classroom. This last rule kind of puts many rules into one (i.e. don't swear, do your work, be nice). The first rule is because I am a sub and if an administrator comes into my classroom while subbing and my kids are texting or even talking (which some do!) while in class, well that is a big "no-no" for them and I am held accountable. So this is what happened:

I am subbing for a class where the teacher has left a video for the students to watch (surprise, surprise). This in itself is not something new. This is normal for substitute work. However, in this classroom there is a student who is blind. Now, she can't "watch" the film but she can listen to it and get the information presented. (I don't know about any of you, but have you ever tried to listen to a film? Not the easiest thing to do.) I ask the class to please put their phones away and pay attention to the film. This means no talking. The class is very chatty. I ask again to stop talking and to put the phones away. Then I see this girl texting on her phone. I ask her to give me her phone. She says no. Then I tell her to give me her phone. She asks, "When will I get it back?" I tell her it depends on when she gives me her phone. She makes a huge deal about this, walks up to the front of the class, throwing a fit, and hands me the phone. Instantly, she holds out her hand and says, "Do I get my phone back now?" I ask her to have a seat. She gets louder. I instruct her to have a seat. She gets louder. I tell her we will talk about it after class. After class she approaches me and demands her phone back. She starts yelling at me. She is getting pretty aggressive at this point. I tell her I will give it to her administrator after school. She is yelling and yelling and I am thinking to myself, this is not going to end well. She leaves.
At the end of the school day, which just happens to be the day before a long weekend, she comes back to my classroom. She follows me to the front office. They inform me I have to write a referral if I am to turn in the phone (the school has a no cell phone policy). For 20 minutes I am walking around the building, looking for a referral and her administrator. I return to my room to fill out the referral and she starts banging on my door like she is the police! She keeps banging on the door like that is what will make me open the door. She gets on her friends phone and is yelling while banging on the door, "Mom, do you hear how loud I am banging on the door and she won't answer it!" Well, yeah. Why would I do that? I finally get a staff assistant to detain the girl and she is still yelling at me.
The girl's phone was worth $600 (according to the girl). Why on earth would you bring something that expensive to school?

2. Kids think they are awesome. Kids think they are always right.
I was subbing for a class that is known for being a little loud and at times out of control. The class was not too excited that I was holding them after for being so rude and disrespectful. One kid decides to "give me the finger." I dismiss the class except for this one kid. I ask, "Really? The finger?" He responds, "I don't know what you are talking about, but if I did give you the finger, you deserved it."
WOW. When did that become acceptable for high school kids to do to their teachers? And when will kids learn that the teacher always wins. Kid got a referral. Kid has been nothing but nice to me in every other class I have subbed for him.