Santa Claus is comin' and the kids are gettin' greedy It's Christmas time They know what's in the store because they've seen it on the TV It's Christmas time, it's Christmas time It used to be the birthday of the man who saved our necks It's Christmas time Now it stands for Santa Claus they spell it with an X It's Christmas time Larry Norman - It's Christmas Time

It's In the Past

Three Dave's No Waiting

Friday, December 3, 2021

A Parking Lot Filled with Clown Cars

 Adventures in Substitute Teaching

I recently listed my work as a substitute teacher among things I'd like to post more about here. There is certainly no dearth of  topics in that regard so let's start with one of the things that has surprised me about my job as a sub, all the running.  

I primarily teach in elementary schools.  It seems like all  of the elementary schools in my district   could be called Forrest Gump Elementary because wherever most students are going they are runn-ning. 

Most of the running takes place when individual or small groups of students are walking (and I use that term loosely) in the halls during or between classes, for example on their way back from their locker or the bathroom.  This also happens before or after  school  on the way to or from lunch or recess,  or on  their way to or from specials (STEM, P.E, and Music to name a few).  If it seems like it happens all the time it's because it happens all the time.  I stop students from running at least 30 times a day.

Before you get the impression that the running is all done in the hallways there is plenty of running in the classroom itself.  I have students who are just going 10 feet to the pencil sharpener but as soon as they get up, they are sprinting. 

 This is where I get most conflicted with my job as an educator/traffic cop.  I have been the long term art sub at my school since the beginning of the school year.  I have 4 rules I tell my kids.  The 3rd is be safe, and running in the halls, classrooms, and stairs is,  in the words of Ralph Nader, unsafe at any speed.  My conflict stems from the fact that the first and last of my rules are have fun.  As a teacher, I never want to crush the childlike spirit in my students.  There is a natural exuberance that comes with being a kid.  My oldest daughter never walked anywhere until she was about 7.  Until then she skipped everywhere she went.  She was homeschooled back then but regardless  I would have not have wanted to be the teacher who had to tell her to stop skipping everywhere. 

As the art teacher,  I travel every day into the student's classrooms pushing a cart with supplies for our activities.  As I mentioned, I stop at least 30 kids a day from running while rolling from class to class.  These are often the same students over and over again.  I'll stop a  kid they will walk a few steps and then just start running again unaware or not caring that I still have eyes on them.  

The biggest bang for your buck, running wise , at our school is at 2:10 when students begin to get dismissed for the day.  I teach a class downstairs until 2:05 and as I walk my cart to the elevator, the hallway is like a parking lot filled with clown cars. Children pour out of every classroom to go wait for their parents cars to pick them up, followed by a second burst of kids through every door to get in line for the busses.  While many kids are walking a good sized and speedy minority is off to the races.  The process repeats itself when I get off the elevator on the second floor.  
I have run in 3 5k's this semester and I have to admit that somedays I just want to run down the hall with them and I can't deny that some of them show some really good form.  Perhaps I should get off my safety kick, get a stop watch in  hand and start recruiting these kids to colleges on a track scholarship.  

Friday, November 26, 2021

When the House is Full, Our Cats are MIA.

  I am sort of participating in Feline Friday at Comedy Plus today,  I say sort of participating because I am not following their prescribed rules of posting a picture, cartoon or video of a cat.  What I offer instead is a cow eating grass style anecdote of why our scaredy cats hide when ever people and especially dogs visit our abode as they did yesterday for Thanksgiving.  6 relatives and a dog-in-law partook in turkey, ham, cranberries and yams yesterday and our cats blipped off the radar into the basement as they are wont to do.  I could take a picture of them now as they are in full post holiday hover mode in the next room but in this case no picture is the best picture of what happens when visitors come to call.  

For some legitimate Feline Friday entries click here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Sunset on Pumpkins


 I am participating in Wordless Wednesday at Comedy Plus. Click here to see more submissions.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Things I'd like to post more about.

 Blog Insider: A look behind the curtain at HSD

Tonight's Episode: Some things I'd like to post more about.

When I first started blogging I kept a notebook with all the blogging ideas I had and would cross them out when I wrote about them and add more as the ideas come to me.  This got to be a bit of a problem as I would often not have my notebook when I got an idea and often could not find my notebook when I was working on my blog.  Also, not all of my ideas were blog worthy.  Some were time sensitive and by the time I got to writing them down they were no longer relevant.  Some just worked better as an idea but did not make sense when they saw the light of screen.  

I have decided to make one of those lists as a blog post to give me a reference point I can't leave in my other coat and also to give the readers (if there are still any out there) an idea of what sort of things are interesting me these days.

  • I would like to write more about my work as a substitute teacher.
  • I would like to write more about my ADHD.
  • I would like to write a little about the combination of my ADHD and my work as a substitute teacher,  
  • I have began recompiling my list of my 100 favorite movies.  I would like to write more about the particular movies and my process in compiling the list.
  • My wife and I have have lost over 100 pounds this year.  I'd like to write about my weight and my goal to stop yoyoing and get down to my weight in high school.
  • I would like to share more poetry here.  Which means I'd like to write more poetry.  
  • I would like to take more pictures and post more pictures.
  • I would like to write more about my faith.
There are certainly other things I'd like to blog more about, but at this present moment these are the forms of content I'd like to delve into more in the future.  

I am also thinking of making some wholesale changes in my my blogging presence  at the beginning of the year.  I currently have 4 blogs active and am finding keeping those active more and more challenging.  I once commented to someone that as long as I am posting at least once a quarter on each blog I would be satisfied.  I have certainly been doing that but I'm noticing some redundancies and have spending a lot of thoughtspace on how to more efficiently scratch my blogging itch in the months and years to come.  

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Reflections on Keith's birthday.

Today is Veteran's day. It happens each year on the 11th of November. November 11th has had special significance to me since 1970. I was in first grade at Queen of the Rosary school in Elk Grove village and Mrs. Newman was my teacher. Some of my classmates were Dennis Morrison, Bob Gore and Dick Lynch. The special significance of 11/11 has nothing to do with Veteran's day but with the birth of my brother Keith. 

 Keith was the 4th child in our family and was born when I was 6, my older sister was 7 and my brother Chris was 4. In 1970 Keith was the 38th most popular boys name. That statistic would have been meaningless to me except that my brother Keith died in April of 2009 at the age of 38. Today he would have turned 51, but to me he will perpetually be 38 until we are reunited in Heaven. 

 My parents are still living and as of this writing live in the same house as they did when Keith was born. I was visiting them yesterday and I forgot all about it being Keith's birthday today. It wasn't until this morning at announcements at school that I realized it was Veteran's day. My first 3 classes today were teaching 2nd grade, kindergarten and 1st grade art classes. It was strange to remember that I was in first grade when Keith was born and unsettling to realize Keith's children were in Kindergarten and 2nd grade respectively when he passed away. 

 I used to think of Keith all the time after he passed away. Over the years I haven't forgotten him or anything like that, but 12 1/2 years of life has moved on while Keith remains more or less at a fixed point in time. I'm feeling a bit of survivor's guilt today. My children have grown up or are in the process of growing up with both their parents. My niece and nephew lost their Dad before they were even tweens. I remember what a loving father Keith was to his kids but it makes me sad that they don't have many memories of him at all. 

 Over the years I have endeavored to stand in as much for Keith as I could for his children. I will continue to do my best in that regard, but today I'm just a guy who misses his brother.