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Musings and Meanderings

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend

So how was your Thanksgiving? Ours was just fine. The local family met at Sue and Eds for a very nice dinner. Sadly Ed's brother is ill with pancreatic cancer so Ed's family did not make the usual fest here in Troy. They were sorely missed but it was also very nice having the just the closer family members together at one smaller table.

I was home sick on Tuesday so I spent some time writing a longish (3 pages) letter to "all" recounting the past two years or so and bringing up those who don't read this blog up to date on my activities.

Wednesday was my first middle school assignment, but it turned out to be a cruise as the teacher I was subbing for had a "student teacher" doing all the work. So my only responsibility was overseeing a study hall period. I had tried to get Tues night off due to my chest cold, but had to go in, so when I called the store to say I was running late due to traffic, the boss gave me the night off. He's such a nice guy.

So then came Friday or Black Friday as retail employees call it. I worked 12.5 hours and we had a very good day as a store overall. I was no where near the #1 / hour sales person I usually am, but I had declined working the "early bird" crowd so by taking the later shift I got basically what I expected.

I'm finding that due to my being the closer, and due to other people's scheduling needs, I end up being the most experienced person in the store most evenings including Saturday evening and most of Sunday. The practical upshot is that because I end up handling the problems and helping the new folks, I miss a lot of good sales opportunities. It's a bit frustrating to be honest, and today was very frustrating indeed.

Last but not least on my mind I have heard that due to my communication with the Lansingburgh School District, they have raised the per day rate available for some "permanent subs" they want to hire to the same as the Troy SD rate. So although Troy has treated me very well, the opportunity to sub in my own community and to know where I am going every day has made me decide to try to get one of these positions. I'm hoping they are not requiring a sub with certification.

Ok that wasn't last. Speaking of certification I did some online reasearch and there is exists a "alternative certification program" in NYS that allows someone like myself become certified in a year in this manner:

"After completing the 200 clock hour introductory component and passing the certification tests, candidates will qualify for Transitional B certificates and be placed in teaching positions in school districts. When a candidate is employed as a teacher with a Transitional B Certificate, he/she will receive a salary as determined by the employing school district."

More here if you are interested Faq Sheet for the alternative certification

Empire college here in the Capital area offers this program so I'll be submitting my transcripts to Empire to see what my options are. Due to my concentrations in Psych and Econ in college I'm feeling that the most likely path to employment is probably a certification for the Elementary grades. More research is needed.
posted by Mike 11:02 PM

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

You fit in with:

Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.

60% spiritual.
60% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at
posted by Mike 12:04 AM

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I got to be the Music Man today at school 12! VERY fun. I got to see a sampling of all the grades today K to 6. The 6th grade was the biggest group, but very easy to work with. I worked with the 2nd to 6th graders heavily, but the K and 1st graders got to see Peter Cottontail video so that was a cruise. 5th was the killer and the reason for the title of this piece. Don't ask why, but the assignment was to listen to a song that named the 50 states and then to name them on a sheet with the first letters of the states already given.

Out of 15 students

1 student was able to fill the form out completely. 1 out of 15. It gets better, very few of the states were spelled correctly.

As for the others: apparently we have some new states that I didn't know about such as Africa (3), Poughkeepsie, Atlanta, Carolina, Lake George, DC and America. Of the 14, 1 other had completed at least half the states.

On the reverse was a US map with 10 states listed AND numbered. All they had to do is name the numbered state. Here is how many were correct, again 15 students: Texas 8; Oklahoma 1; Arkansas 0; Louisana 2; New Mexico 1; Florida 5; California 3; Washington 2; and, Maine 0. I think what was more alarming here were the ones who really did attempt to finish this part. One girl painstakingly answered all 10 states, and did not get one right.

So what am I missing. Shouldn't 5th graders know the states yet? Maybe I'm off base if not.

And for those who care, just a small update on the course of teaching. I ended up spending the rest of last week with the 2nd grade at school 14. Monday was Kindergarten at school 12, but for a different K teacher than the one who replaced me. Tuesday was election day and off. Today as I said was Music, and tomorrow is Special Ed helper for Kindergarten. (I talked to that teacher after I finished with the Music Man assignment so I ready to go tomorrow.) Friday is Veterans Day.

By the way, when the teacher, her assistant and the other Sp Ed teacher found out it was me taking the class they said "Well we were worried but now that we know you will be here it will be fine." Very nice pat on the back.

posted by Mike 7:47 PM

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More work stuff.

Subing: Well I finished up my Kindergarten job on Friday the 28th, to much sadness of the kids. Wouldn't you know that my Sunday call for the Monday job was back at School 12 as the special reading instructor. This is a GOOD job, let me tell you, you visit classrooms and help the children with disabilities or who are just slower in their reading fundamentals. It's great seeing so many different kids. The cool part is that the 11 to 12 slot was in my old room so I met the new perm sub. Even better was that the last slot (5th grade) was watching Jumanji so I got to spend the last two hours of the day with the class and the new teacher. A good handoff.

Today and tomorrow I am a 2nd grade teacher at a different school (14). Gorgeous building remaining me of the old open classroom styles of Miller HS. Ironically the building is only 10 yrs old, so it's a bit "retro" as one of the other teachers said. I do get complimented as I actually come to teach not babysit. 2nd grade is good, and this class has a wide range of attributes. Bit more rowdy than Kindergarten but what can you expect? The demographic of Troy is pretty standard, well of Caucasians to poor minorities, and a wide range of ablilities in no way correlated to their demographic. In fact the best math person in the class today is a child who barely speaks English (why he is in 2nd is past my understanding, but I'm sure the State knows what it is doing.)

Radio Shack: I had the worst weekend I've ever had a RS in memory. I work 9 1/2 hrs on Saturday and open to close (6 hrs) on Sunday. Usually I can rack up 50 - 75 in spiffs not to mention run between 150 and 200 dollars per hour, this weekend we sold zero cell phones, which affects both numbers directly. However as of last week now I am 9 out of 54 in my district of PT'ers, while working many more hours than 90% of them, and 9th against the full timers as well. Worse yet, a woman came in (first customer) on Sunday and I worked a $45 sale in accessories to a $350 including an i-Pod and then RS could not deliver the goods... Grrrrr
posted by Mike 7:06 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind