Skip to content
January 8, 2016 / sharoncopy

Days 49-50

The word of the day: Sextillion. I got to introduce a 4th grade class in Plymouth to the largest numbers they have ever heard of – it was pure fun writing all those zeroes and commas on the board. I wrote in millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillions – and then – and then – I wrote and said sextillion, and the entire class lost their minds and manners. It really was humorous, but I had to calm them all down before it got too crazy. I haven’t had that big of a reaction since I was in a Kindergarten class and I read a book that had the word “underwear” in it.

I got called into the principal’s office today. I spent two days with these kids and most of them were fun to be with, but two of them were not. J. had to be marked down on the discipline chart and he was mad, really mad. He wouldn’t leave the classroom and finally took mini-baby steps while the class waited for him to get out of the room so I could walk them to the gym at the end of the day. I walked up behind him in an effort to gently move him foreward and he yelled, “Don’t push me!” I backed off and just had to wait for him to move. He went home and told his mother that the substitute teacher pushed him. She was livid – called the principal, who called me and J. to discuss it. No doubt this distracted the mother from concentrating on J’s bad report for the day. The principal was going to call her back with the explanation – I was nicely admonished not to touch the students even in such a gentle manner.

Then there’s M. She feels she should be able to say whatever she wants whenever she wants – she thinks she is being helpful when she “corrects” me and her fellow students. She thinks I hate her because when her behavior led her to lose 5 minutes of recess, and then another 5 minutes of recess – she apologized and asked to get her recess back and I said no. Asked again. No. Asked again. No. Finally I said she would lose one more minute of recess every time she asked again. She asked again. 11 minutes of no recess. “Why do you hate me so much?”  By the end of the day I put her into the hall for a short while rather than give in to temptation to say something that I shouldn’t.

The weirdest thing in these two days was that I totally balked at doing the Science experiment. I just freaked out at the entire idea. The other times I have had to do them, it has generally not gone well because I do not know the subject matter, there are numerous and sometimes expensive itsy-bitsy pieces involved, and 30 students whose names I don’t know all asking questions, messing around with the stuff, arguing, doing it wrong, not listening to directions, and being silly. The very thought of doing these experiments (even though they were batteries/wires/bulbs/motors and such – a step up from the meal worm yuck) stressed me no end. So – we skipped Science the first day. Then I went to the other 4th grade teacher and asked if she might be willing to do the Science class while I supervised some other activity in her room. She agreed, adding that she’d like me to also do her outdoor recess duty, which I actually quite enjoy. All was well. So they are one day behind, but I’m sure the class’s teacher will manage. It’s actually very rare for teachers to leave Science experiments for a sub to handle.

The other 4th grade teacher was telling a colleague about how difficult it is to have a field trip nowadays. She said it usually takes about 50 hours to plan one – much of that on her own time, with her own cell phone minutes. This includes all the calls, planning, finding a bus (school districts don’t have their own buses anymore – they use a service), finding chaperones and getting them all checked by the State Police, and of course, finding the money or asking the parents to pay for it. Her upcoming trip to the capitol in Lansing is costing $15/child – which is to cover the cost of the transportation – there is no admission fee! Worst of all, she got a call this week from the bus service that they couldn’t find a bus for her after all, and so she spent numerous more hours getting the situation rectified. No surprise that most classes go on either zero or one field trip per year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: