Thursday, March 21, 2019

It's a Job

I didn't work much early Feb so I was happy to get an afternoon instrumental. Yes, it was aaaallll the way across the next city. But I knew a teacher at the school who had told me it was an awesome school. I messaged her to say I'd be coming. She had JUST started her maternity leave!!

I get signed in and told the room number. It's clearly a music room. However, on and around the desk is mainly French things (it's a FI school). No day plans for me. There's another area that was like a student desk turned into a teacher desk. Nothing there either. A lunch supervisor (or staff doing lunch supervision) came in the room (which was a bit rowdy) and I asked her if she had seen the teacher. She directed me to the VP (I think) who was across the hall. The VP didn't know where she was, but knew that her desk was in a little workroom/office area. We go in there....the ukulele club is having a practice. Little kids. Charming.

There's nothing on the desk. The VP is phoning around, I find a "sub tub" as they call them in the States. But no instructions. I can see her daily schedule, which does indicate the first period after lunch is a prep. So that's good.

Finally, the teacher comes flying in 5 minutes before the end of lunch. With her son. She needs to leave for a funeral. Her plans are on her computer. It was a hot mess of trying to get the laptop to work, and the USB stick and rapid fire "you can do this or this and this or this". Basically, for some of the classes, there was a 90 minute video, a bingo game and a worksheet. For a 30 minute class.

The first class up was a 7/8 class that needed to work on their theory booklets. Some insisted they were done and were rough housing, generally being pests. Then I was out in the portables.

I think it was grades 5-6. The kids were rowdy, wild, etc etc etc. One of those days that makes me feel like a glorified babysitter.

As the last few kids were getting ready to go home, I heard someone say "cancer" and "this is how you die" (or something) and there was laughter. I kind of lost it on them. My father was dying of cancer. It's not humourous. They finished getting ready silently and said good bye.

I went back upstairs to the office where my stuff was.

My key didn't work the lock. Luckily someone was walking by who noticed my plight and the custodian was close by, so I got let in.

It wasn't worth the drive and $90. But it's a job to add to my total days.

Friday, March 15, 2019


I got a call for a grade 8 morning job at a school just 5 minutes up the street. I was so excited. Except that it has a 8:05 start time LOL (which means being there at 7:35). The secretary was awesome (I told her how much I wanted to come to the school since it was so close), every teacher I met was great. I got to the room and find out it's science.

Argh! No! Not science! The plans indicated that everything was in Google Classroom and I wouldn't actually be teaching anything. Which can make for a very boring morning.

The kids were pretty typical. Some working, some not working, some goofing off, etc. I'm pretty much just the adult in the room to maintain the required ratio.

One class was working on a solutions and mixtures assignment. They had to pretend to be in a store and look at certain items and determine if they were pure, a solution, or a mixture. I had a few kids ask about "drink crystals". I explained to two boys, it was a powder you add to water, like Kool Aid or Crystal Lite.

"Or crystal meth?"

Umm. No. "Do not mix crystal meth into water, kids".


Does it matter why?! LOL.

Triple Prep Again!

I got another call for the school to the north, where I had three preps. I checked the calendar, and indeed, it was the same day on the 5 day cycle! It was a bad weather day, so I left early. And got there super early. And then had an hour prep. I'm surprised I wasn't asked to cover for another teacher. The teacher in the room when I had my prep got there just as the bell rang.

The day went better because this time they were actually working on the assignments they were supposed to last time but hadn't been put in their Google Classroom yet. My morning recess duty was so cold.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty being able to leave right after the day ends. But with a last period prep, everything is done by the time the bell rings.

The interesting thing...I was recently in a high school for instrumental music and had a grade 9 class. One girl mentioned that she hadn't learned much the year before. I asked her the school, and it was this one. I was surprised, because they seemed to have a full instrumental program and band. Looks can be deceiving, I guess.

Another Day at the Banana School

I got a call for a full day, grade 1, at the Banana School.  I was willing to give it another try. Primary kids are usually good no matter where you go (though I have written about days where that's not the case...but truly, those are the odd ones out).

I got there and the secretary was so nice and friendly! I had no idea if it was the same secretary as before. I had also heard from others that the secretary is not very welcoming. So maybe a different one? I headed to the class, which was being used by the before school care. The first thing I see on the desk is a note, to leave everything the way it is now. Yikes. I took a picture of the desk just to make sure I could remember.

The plans looked good, but I couldn't find a few little things. Then, a woman showed up. Apparently she recently started volunteering full time in this class (as well as being a lunch supervisor, and having two kids at the school). She was very, very helpful finding things and going to photocopy some things. Most of the time she was a great benefit to the class.

There were three or four students listed as needing close attention and extra help. Luckily, only one showed up (it was an extreme cold day). This student had behavioural needs and reward charts, etc. Apparently he could be difficult with supply teachers. I really had no problem with him, but I was shocked at how strict the volunteer was with him, and that she took it upon herself to move his clip on his behaviour chart. To me, his behaviour was actually normal (not desired, but it was within the normal range for his age and the activity). She said you have to be strict with him or he takes advantage of you. Well, his behaviour went downhill after she moved his clip and gave him a time out.

We had indoor recess and indoor lunch. I went to the staff room at lunch, and was a little surprised to hear teachers putting down parents because of income and disabilities. The area is known to have a high level of unemployment, due to lack of jobs and especially disabilities. One teacher was talking about using a Water Pik and how gum health is important to overall health and another teacher joked that there were a lot of parents there that should hear that message. Another teacher commented that since these parents didn't work, everyday was the weekend, so they could at least get out of pajamas by the time they come pick up the kids.

I went back to the classroom and found that a kindergarten class had joined mine. It was chaos. So noisy.

The other issue I had...the volunteer sat down in the teacher's chair at her desk. And didn't move when I had my prep. So I had to sit on a little chair at the guided table to do some marking. Like, hello? She was on her phone, I could see Facebook open. She never thought to offer the teacher's chair to the supply teacher? Not trying to put my nose up in the air, but c'mon. I had marking to do. She had FB memes to read. Who should get the comfy chair?

I'll still try this school again. It's quite a bit of distance for me though, and right now, I'm in a half day job that could keep getting extended, so any half days I take will need to be closer to home.

Monday, March 11, 2019

I Did This Job?

According to my calendar, my next day of work was the very next morning at a school to the west. My mind was drawing a blank. I couldn't even visualize the school. Music? Friday morning? Really....

It's coming back. I guess it was another day I've pushed from my memory LOL.

I got there early. Watched two cars go in the one way entrance the wrong way.

The school was small, and the music room was actually quite large! No tables! Only for music! The teacher came in after a few minutes. I had been staring at the dayplan scribbles and was getting nervous because the materials that it said needed photocopying weren't there. She brought them in and went over the plan. No problem! Seems do-able.

First period comes and no students come. Mmmm.

Oh, the announcements say it's not Day 1. It's Day 5. According to the schedule on her desk, she has a first period prep. And the other classes are not the ones she told me.

I went to the office and had them call her out of her "New Teacher in Training" mentor meeting. Sorry, I'm not going to "wing it" when the teacher is IN the building.

She came rushing in, all apologetic. She came up with some other plans, one class would be kindies. Fun!

Well, it was interesting. A couple kids were a challenge! Oh boy.

There was a junior/intermediate class working on a project. It was noisey but whatever. It's Friday.

Then there was a grade 4 or 5 class. I had to go get them and one kid wouldn't get off their computer and come. I had to get a little demanding, though the other kids are like "He's always like that". Once in the class, he went straight to the electric piano and started playing. There's a sign on it that says "Unless you're Mozart, please ask before playing. And I know you're not Mozart because he's been dead for 200 years). I turned it off and asked him to not play, and join us. He turned it on. I turned it off. About three times. Then I unplugged it. And again. I asked him not to play, in a firm voice. He snarled at me and said to not talk to him. I said that's fine, but don't play it.

He started wondering around, pushing things off the desk, throwing papers, ripping stuff off the walls. There was an EA with him. I think it was an EA. She didn't really do anything though! She stood at the door and let him walk around the hall but once in my room, he was set free. I just tried to keep up. Finally they headed back to their class.

The music teacher came back and asked how it was. I said it was pretty good except for this last class. This teacher was new but she knew this kid was supposed to have an EA. If I had known right from the start that he needed extra support and had an IEP, I wouldn't have tried to push him at all!!

Not being told about IEPs is a huge concern for supply teachers. Though what good is getting the IEPs when we really don't have time to learn about them, and often we don't even know who the student is--flexible seating, rotary classes, no student photos...Some classes can have 6 students with IEPs of varying natures. It's a LOT.

Kindies, by Myself

Another call for the school in Brooklin that I had just been at. This time for a kindie class, just the afternoon. When I looked on the website to confirm it's a kindie class (because, yo. Gr 1s with special needs was not a kindie), I discover that there's no ECE in the class. Which means there is 15 or less kids.

15 4-6 year olds.

Oh boy.

I get there, and indeed, it is an ECE-less kindie class. However, there is a high school co-op student who's on her last day! Lucky me! She was very helpful! It was a great afternoon. The kids seemed a bit more mature. I don't know if they were selected for this class based on their personalities and abilities. The two main drawbacks was there was no washroom in the classroom, and no direct outside access (it was a primary classroom).

I miss the days of <20 15="" 1="" 20-24="" 2="" 30="" a="" adult.="" adults="" an="" and="" as="" at="" built="" class.="" day="" ece="" enough="" for="" full="" in="" is="" it="" kids.="" kids="" kindie="" little="" lovely--but="" need="" not.="" not="" p="" really="" room="" s="" same="" space.="" teacher="" that="" the="" to="" was="" washrooms="" with="">

I'm not sure what I was writing. I was scrolling through my blog and the bottom of this post was bizarre html stuff.

Friday, March 8, 2019


My next day was for the great teacher at the school I don't like, and I already wrote about it in the last post about being in for her. So, skip ahead to this next school.

South end of a neighbouring town. Not the town where I had the F-bomb kid; the other direction. I looked up the school and discovered the last VP from our school was the principal there. That might be good, might not.

I heard before I left that there was an accident on the road I was going to take. I tried a different route but got stuck behind a bus and then a working garbage truck. It seemed to take me forever to get all the way over to this school! I walked into the office, and the principal was actually right there!

And recognized me! And said she loved my hair! (My kids didn't!). It'd been over 2 1/2 years since I'd seen her! She was excited for me to be there. Awesome!

I was in for the librarian/music teacher. She had someone take me to the library and that's where the dayplans were. First up, getting the library computer up and running. I couldn't get the passwords/log in to work; I kept trying different things based on the words she left. Finally, it worked. It wasn't set up exactly like her scribbles. This often happens. Teachers get so used to using something that they forget exactly what it takes for someone who's never seen it, to use it.

Someone (the VP, I think) came in to tell me the fire department was coming in for presentations so instead of having one gr 3 class in, it would be a different gr 3 class, then second period would be the first period gr 3...then the period 2 teacher I was supposed to cover his prep with music, came in and said the kids were having their gr 9 course selection then, so I couldn't do music, but come by and check on them near the end in case they're done. "We're right across the hall".  Okay.

The fire department presentation was neat! Hard to keep grade 3s focused and not asking totally irrelevant questions. Halfway through the second period I popped out to check on the gr 8 class. Ummm. Right across the hall from the library was the backside of the gym. I found their room on the map and they were down the hall, around the corner, down the hall.

I peeked in and they were actively doing stuff. I went back to the library. About 8 minutes before the end of the class I thought "I should go back and check on the other class". They were all standing in the hall. I heard someone say "There's someone!". I guess that was me. Turns out the music/librarian has a music room....directly across the hall from this class's room. Duh. This was not clear on the day plan at all.

They were working on Soundtrap and it was a typical class. Thankfully, short.

I don't remember the next bit. I did get asked to cover a lunch supervision because they were short. Could that be because the principal knew I was a "professional" lunch supervisor? LOL. I was actually a few minutes late to that cause I had the wrong time stuck in my head.

One class after lunch was a behavioural class. The plan said they were coming to the library to use a website..something about Tinker. They didn't come. I went to the classroom it said they were in, and it wasn't their room. I did find them, and joined them in their room. No idea why they didn't come down; they were already working on the website and some kids were working on something else. Only a few kids in the room and they were all fine, but again, I felt like a bump on a log. I was really of no use to them. I did get to talk to one boy, who was going to be away the next week. He would be at his family farm a little to the north-east of me. They have something like 80 horses and he would be working on the farm! He was really excited.

And then. Wait a minute. I have to go get coffee before I get into the next class.

According to the plan, I was supposed to go upstairs to room 201 for a grade 6 class. As I started down the hall, a group of grade 6 looking kids came towards me. I asked them what class they were going to. Music. What? We were almost at the music room so we went in there.

They had worksheets to do. Argh. Don't teachers realize? Boredom is the friend of bad behaviour.

Once again...the kids did not have pencils. Why does this keep happening?!

The kids knew there was little real value in the worksheets, despite them being music related. The behaviour was really lousy. Recess was next and they were supposed to have snack, so once most people were done, I decided to take them back to their classroom. Which was not Room 201.

What a mess! Not just "this teacher has been here a long time and has accumulated a lot of stuff", but "we have no respect for our teacher, school, or anything" type of mess. Apparently their teacher was also away. I definitely wrote about this in the letter for the teacher I was in for.

Finally, the kids got out for recess. I had about 7 minutes to go to the bathroom, re-group, and get ready for the next class. Which was a grade 2 or 3 class. They were to come to the library to work on a social studies project on the computers. Gah. The kids are great with tech, but not always when there's something specific they need to do.

I went to their class, and they had to have their snack first. Fine. I'm all for watching kids eat their snack LOL. I trucked them down to the library and they got seated at the computers and started logging in.

Some of the computers suck. Logging in takes forever, and sometimes it just doesn't work. Yet there was only one or two extra computers, due to kids being away, and other kids didn't want to use those computers because they were the other student's seats. The students that weren't there. Yeah.

Some of the kids knew what to do, but I couldn't quite figure out from the dayplan what the kids who had been away were supposed to do. I did have some great helpers, but there were a few kids that just were not interested in using tech and creating a timeline of their life. One was so adamant he couldn't remember any of his info because he didn't have his rough draft. And he couldn't just think of other things. Meltdowns all around. It was impossible for me--one person--to help 23 kids with tech issues, or "how to spell" questions. I was totally exhausted after this double period class. And, I sort of had the time wrong that it ended and we had to rush out to get ready to go. Then I find out there are no buses at this school, so really, did it matter that we rush?

Would I go back here? The drive was on the longer side (I know I'm being petty---a 20-25 minute drive is nothing compared to what others do!), and I wasn't wowed by the kids or the school. I was initially thinking if I could get a couple good days here, the principal would most likely be a reference for me. But is it worth it? Hard to say. I think it'd all come down to what grade it is, what day of the week (Wednesdays are a challenge) and what the rest of my week looks like.

It's a Job

The next day, in the morning, I got a call for the afternoon. Pretty close by--the school I did the glockenspiels at, grade 7/8. I got there, and it was definitely not music LOL.

The teacher had a man cave office at the back LOL. He seemed to have everything. One student came in and was commenting on it and we got joking that he could live there if he needed to. The hammock could attach to the ceiling if you took down a couple ceiling tiles...

There wasn't going to be really any "teaching". It was mainly babysitting while the kids worked on a couple different assignments.

And babysitting it was. A pretty typical bunch of grade 7/8. Some worked well, some looked like they weren't working but still got work done, and some really got very little done. It got loud at times. The teacher was even in and out of the room and told them to get quieter. Didn't matter.

Some days are like this. You're just the adult body in the room to make sure ratios are met. I'm okay with that as long as the kids aren't violent or rude. But I do really enjoy when I get to do an actual lesson. Provided I know what the subject is LOL

A Full Day of Music!

I started off the next week with a call to a school to the north. I was excited because it was a full day, and Megan's skating coach's kids go to the school. It's also laid out like Megan's school.

I got there and found out I have three preps--starting the morning with a double prep! Also had recess duty and one class in a portable (before recess).

Kids were a bit disappointed they weren't going to play instruments. I never know if the kids will behave and I trust the classroom teacher's judgement. They worked on compositions using

But then. There was a class that had an assignment that was supposed to be in their Google Classroom. One by one they started telling me they couldn't find it. At first, I thought it was just that student's issue, but it quickly turned into the whole class was missing it. Okay. I had no copy of the actual assignment, just that it was about music's influence on culture. About 15 minutes into the 30 minute class, I emailed the teacher. She quickly responded but it took until 5 minutes before the end of class for the assignment to get posted. The next period was also doing the same assignment and luckily they did have it in their Classroom.

Second to last period was a grade 7/8 class. They were working on a Language assignment. From across the room, I heard the words "Mrs Nutt...kindergarten...Palmerston". Crazy! Megan went to Palmerston and had Mrs Nutt! I approached the girl, who apparently was in JK when Megan was in SK and they were in the same class! She says she didn't remember Megan, she didn't remember much except when the ice cream truck came to the school.

My last period was a prep and I had to leave the room. I spent the prep time going through my Google Photos archive on my phone to find when Megan had a friend over for her birthday and they decorated gingerbread houses. Megan had two friends in the class and I couldn't tell which girl this was (there was only about 9 kids in the entire class). I knew the other girl's last name and that she lived in Brooklin and that her mom was a teacher. I coudn't remember though which girl came for the "party".
 Megan and her cake
 Lucy and her house. I'm not showing a photo of the girl because I don't have her permission.

I went back up just before the bell and showed the girl the photos, and it was her! What a small world! Her friends all thought she was cute LOL.

It was nice to have a day without big issues, even grades 5-7 were decent! I added the school to my "I'd go back there" list.

More Music!

I got another for the music teacher at the school with the ineffective secretary.  This time I made it to the school, and signed in without any issues (going at lunch also means that the secretary is not there). The music teacher was actually there because she was having an in-school mentoring session with a new teacher. Although it's been hit or miss with this school, this music teacher has her stuff together and I don't need to worry about anything! This day, she even went up stairs with me before the afternoon started to make sure I knew how the technology worked in one classroom! Then when I went to that class later, she actually popped in to make sure it was still set up!

I ended up getting called in for her again a week later. It was one of her half days at the school, but apparently she was really sick. Oh boy. Would that mean I'd get sick? I didn't! Yay!

The two days somewhat blend together. Actually, a lot of days are blending together now! So I'll just talk generally now.

One of the classes I had to go to was the gr 3 class I had my first morning at this school. I was nervous because I knew there was the kid with a safety plan. Again, he wasn't there, and the other boy that had a lot of issues wasn't there either. After a couple minutes, the kids did remember me, LOL. Once I raised my voice they all remembered.

One of the music placements I did, I had to read a kids' book about different types of music. During my prep, I had looked up different YouTube videos I could play as audio examples. That was fun! It disrupted the flow of the book, but I think it added a lot of meaning to it. I also read a book written by John Lithgow. It was pretty good too. About a young child that learns instruments so quickly he gets bored and has a tantrum, and tries another instrument. At the end, the boy discovers he actually really likes being the conductor instead.

I really enjoy these types of classes, where I get to teach a lesson. Although this teacher plans her lessons so that a non-music teacher can do them, it's easy to deepen them. So much better than "Here's a worksheet, they know what to do". Now, I did have that for two of the classes at this school.  They had been working on recorders and being in the junior division, it's a challenge to let them actually have playing time with a substitute teacher. The first class, was to name the lines and spaces. Many of them copied the example on the board and instead of writing a music note in the line or space, they wrote the note name. The other class was working on short compositions and music goals. I did allow them to play their recorders to help with the composition. I also taught them "Baby Shark" but I didn't realize it needed F#.

I haven't been back since these two times in January, but funny how after the first day I said I probably wouldn't go back here, and then I ended up there 3 more times!

Thursday, March 7, 2019


I was excited for the next morning's job. A school not too far, not too early, half day. Music. Lucy has friends that went to this school, and they seem normal LOL. Lucy has good friends though.

Got there, signed in, my shared office was directly off the main front hall and I could hear lots of conversations between teachers getting caught up after the break. It sounded like a nice community!

My first period, I was heading to a gr 1 class. I recognized the name as the younger sister of a boy and girl I knew fairly well in high school. Her brother was the best man, I think, at my brother's wedding. I didn't really know her--just knew of her. And of course, I have a different name now. Do I tell her?

But I got stopped just short of the classroom by a woman who spoke my name. She asked me why I was there, explained why she was there (director of the day care, they have an office attached to this classroom), it's been a long time, how are you...etc.

And I was standing there with my mouth open, thinking...who ARE you? I was pretty certain (before she explained it) that she wasn't the classroom teacher. She looked to be a bit older than me, but perhaps my age. She reminded me of someone! A girl from my grade in high school? A girl that had been in the flute section when I first joined the local band?

I went in the class, and continued my morning. I'm not sure when I remembered--was I still at the school or had I left? Even if I was at the school, could I go back and find her and say, "Now I remember who you are!".

She was the older sister of my ex-boyfriend/almost fiance.

We dated for 3.5 years, though she got married shortly after we started dating. I felt do dumb. LOL. I had seen her at a distance during a concert, a few years ago. Wonder what she's going to tell her family?

I don't really remember much of the morning. I didn't feel worn out when I left, so I guess it was good.

That evening, I got a message from a friend who's also a OT here. He asked if I had been at that school. Why?! When he went to sign out at the end of the day, he saw my name on the line below his! I hadn't even noticed!! And he had even told me a week before or so, that he was going to be at that school. I must have been really out of it that morning!!

First Day Back in January

Happy Birthday to first day back to work after Christmas break was the afternoon of my birthday. I was back in for the jazz band director. I checked my notes to see if it would be the same day of the five day cycle that I had been in before. Nope! That made me feel better...but also made me wonder what else I would come across.

I got there and headed to his room. A man came out of the room just before I got there and said "Hi". I didn't know who he was. I went in and found the plans. The teacher had a 3 prep afternoon. Jackpot. However, there were some notes scribbled down about going to see the VP about covering other classes for the preps. I headed back down the hall.

That man that I past was the VP. He was super nice. We talked a bit about the school (340 students! That's tiny here), and the teacher and I said how I knew him from the jazz bands and how lucky the school is to have such a dedicated teacher and sure, I'll cover 2 other classes during my preps because I really don't need three preps, not a problem, I've been in PLP classes before and I'm glad to help out any way I can and by the way, can I kiss your butt anymore?

First up, a PLP class. This is a class for kids usually with autism and Down Syndrome. The more 'severe' kids are usually in this class full time and other kids might get some integrated subjects. First up, I knew two of the kids with Down Syndrome because they had been at my school last year. Whenever I'm in a PLP class, I always feel like an outsider. I don't know the kids, what their limits are, etc. Usually the EAs run the class but I can't just sit in the corner either. Especially not after the butt-kissing. I don't feel like I helped anything except maintaining their mandated ratios.

Then I had 2 classes of music. Again, worksheets. Again, poor engagement. He didn't leave clear instructions. Many kids said they had already done them. Was I to teach a lesson? Who knows.

Again I had recess duty in the cold and damp. Bleh.  At least some kids here talked to me. One even noticed I had coloured my hair!

Last period I had to cover for a teacher upstairs. Went one in the room. Saw an adult, asked...they didn't know. Back down to the VP who realized he had made the mistake, sent me to the right room, about 10 minutes into the class. It was "just" an art class. Grade 7 or 8. They were using liquid tempera paints. You could tell they didn't have to buy it themselves. You could also tell they aren't very skilled in cleaning up after themselves.

Back down to the music room to write my note and collect my things. There were a couple girls waiting around, they said, for their vocal coach/teacher. Finally she came. I gathered that these two girls were stars in the school music (They are doing Shrek). One of the kids sat at the piano and just started playing/singing Happy Birthday randomly. I said "Thank you!" They thought I was joking. I was really is my birthday! That was a nice way to end the day!

Again, no pictures. What's up with that, Blogger?