Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Journey Of The Lost Children Part 2

Please check part one, here.

The Lost Children finally have a class. It's run by a sub. The sub will get things started in anticipation of the arrival of the permanent teacher. Because there never was a permanent teacher, there are no lesson plans for the sub. The sub has no curriculum. Maybe there are books. You can imagine how difficult that situation is for a sub. And I didn't even mention the kids.

The Lost Children are a diverse group. A few are angels, but for many of them, their greatest talent is making life for a teacher hell on earth.

A sub can handle a great many things. A sub does not have to handle a great many things. Imagine you work in an office. Most of the people there are jerks and treat you terribly. You have an offer from another office for the same hours and pay. Are you really going to stay with the jerks? No. And since our district is chronically short on subs, they can pick and choose which assignments they will or won't take.

When I began my career, I had a similar situation. I subbed for a teacher who had been promoted out of the classroom. They offered me a chance to take the classes for the entire second semester. One day with those kids was enough for me. I thanked them politely, but declined. Who needs the grief?

The Lost Children have had several subs. There were at least four subs who came and went quickly. Frequently there would be one, two, or three days between subs. Their behavior became worse and worse, until finally, around November, We found a long term sub to take over. Mr. X lasted four weeks. He would have lasted longer, but he was let go. Who says you can't get rid of bad teachers.

Mr. X may very well be a nice man, with family members who love him, but he was a disaster in the classroom. Where do I begin? Kids would leave his class early. Maybe two, maybe five, maybe more, leaving five, ten, or even in one case, twenty minutes before class was over. Kids went out the back window of the classroom. Kids tagged on the walls inside the classroom during class. Kids gambled in class (they're quite the dice players, wouldn't you know). One report suggests that, at least once, some kids actually smoked pot during class.

How did they do all this? Apparently, Mr. X might suffer from narcolepsy, because he actually fell asleep, maybe on a regular basis, during class. Finally, the school had enough. A few administrators waited for him before school one day and sent him home again as soon as he arrived.

By this time, we were near the end of the first semester, so they hired a short term sub to finish out the last two weeks, thinking they would just get a new teacher when the second semester started. She was nice enough, but they hired her to be there for the next two weeks, and never did give her any indication that she would be brought back for the second semester. Guess what? The second semester started, they didn't have a permanent teacher lined up, and she didn't stick around. Why would you, after being dangled on a string like that?

Three weeks into the second semester, the Lost Children have had three or four more subs, and several days with no sub. Where do they go when there's no sub? ISS. Remind me if you want to hear about the scam that is ISS.

What's that? The semester is over, and the kids need grades? Yeah, I felt the same way. We'll get into that next time.
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