Friday, April 25, 2008

Would a Custodian Please Report to ISS

Today there were two students in ISS. One was on his last day of a 4 day sentence, the other on his first of three. After the end of 2nd period the new kid, Michael, was getting antsy. Apparently he doesn't repond well to boredom.

Students in ISS get to leave the room 4 times a day. Three group bathroom breaks and ISS lunch. Before It was even time for our first bathroom break Michael was absolutely itching to get out of the room. I explained to him that the only time he was getting out was for lunch and three bathroom breaks.

"What if I'm sick? Can I go to the nurse?"

"You'd have to be really sick, like puking or something."

The first bathroom break was about 30 minutes after our conversation. Michael spent those 30 minutes, from 8:45 to 9:15 eating a jumbo container of Sour Patch Straws. At 9:15 we took a bathroom break.

On the way back to the room Michael stopped in the hallway about 15 feet from the door of ISS, bent slightly at the waist and silently puked orangish clear goo onto the floor of the hallway.

I was stunned. I couldn't tell if was throwing up or spitting a mouthful of water on the ground.

"Michael, what the hell was that?"

"I don't know"

"You know you've got to clean that up, right?"


he went into the room to get some paper towels, stopped right by my desk, and did it agin.

"Michael, go to the nurse."


I'll say one thing about Michael. He knows how to get what he wants.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Future?

Its official. In School Suspension is my favorite assignment. I like it so much I think I'd be willing to do it everyday. $35,000 a year and health insurance everyday.

I'm not sure if there is a special certification process for In School Suspension teachers. The state requires aspiring regular classroom teachers to spend a semester student teaching with an established teacher in their subject before they can earn their certifiction. Does that apply to aspiring In School teachers too? No disrespect to veteran In School Suspension teachers in the district, but I think I could teach them a thing or two about sitting in a quiet room for 7 hours.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Warden

The MAP testing season is coming to an end. With more than a little Automated Substitute System wrangling I was able to work and average of 3.5 days per week through the drought. It was plenty of work to keep me in fast food mexican and cheap beer.

As of today, finding work is no longer an issue. The normal warden of In School Suspension is out for the remainder of the year for medical reasons. I got the call to fill in. 12 students or less all day long, everyday I care to show up for the rest of the year.

Today on the roster there are two names. They came in first period and immediately went to sleep. At 10:25 I woke them up and we went to the cafeteria for the ISS lunch period. They put their heads on the lunch table and kept them there until it was time to go back up stairs. Back in the room and straight back to sleep. They even slept through a minor earthquake this morning. ISS is a peaceful place.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

One Substitute Left Behind

Its that time of year again. Time to sharpen the number 2 pencils and pass out the scan-tron sheets. Time for the administration to to turn off the bells and beg students for an honest effort. Time for the brass at the District office downtown to cross their fat clamy fingers. They're nervously sweating in Jefferson City too. Probably even Washington DC.

Everyone hates State testing. Even substitutes.

The three weeks of Missouri Assessment Program testing in early April is the only time all school year when a substitute in St. Louis Public Schools may not have the opportunity to work every day. I don't know if the administration bribes the teachers with the same basketball games, movies and pizza parties they offer the students who do their best on the tests, but for some reason during state testing the demand for substitutes drops like a non-titanium anvil.

Don't get me wrong, days off are the reason I love being a sub. But its one thing to stay out to late and decide at 2:00am to take tomorrow off, Its another thing to go to bed at 9:30 expecting a 5 am phone call and then find yourself wide awake on a rainy Tuesday morning without nothing to do and no prospects.

Maybe I should just save myself the stress and extend spring break by another three weeks. Thats the kind of thing you can do when you're a substitute.