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bodhimom's Message:

I was a science teacher and wouldn't have liked it. You can adjust things to a traditional schedule just fine, if you want to.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
bodhimom 08-18-2020 11:04 AM

I just got an email about training. I don't want to do online, but since they reached out to me, I think I should do it. It's only 3 hours.

I think I should cooperate with them, so I look willing to work. Hopefully, it is about cleaning and temperature checks instead of online training.

SubHuman 08-16-2020 07:07 PM

Remote learning school starts tomorrow (Monday 8/17). It would have been a tough decision for me, whether or not to sub because I have been social distancing so not sure if I should dive into a school environment. But I don't have the option. An email went out less than 2 weeks ago that said in part..... During this remote learning time, schools will make provisions to cover daily absences instead of having subs report for daily assignments..... so, no subs.

And I really didn't like block scheduling at the high school. The first hour would be ok, but it seemed like I spent most of the last 1/2 hour trying to keep the kids from assaulting each other.

CC96 08-15-2020 08:24 AM

Thanks for the infoó stay well!

YayaSub 08-15-2020 05:41 AM

At least three of the eight elementaries have a case. My MS only has that one teacher exposure, and I haven't heard of one yet at the other MS. The high school has a few, 3-5 cases so far, with ~3000 students. It is not disclosed whether cases are students or staff.

CC96 08-14-2020 06:30 PM

I am curious, are you guys seeing cases in all grade levels K through 12 or primarily in middle school and high school in your area? Thank you.

YayaSub 08-14-2020 03:37 PM

With two weeks of school behind us, positive cases are popping up (as we knew they would). This morning a MS teacher was in the parking lot on the phone with our "Covid Hotline" to see if she could enter the building after just then learning she may be considered exposed. She was told to go home, and now a sub is needed through the end of next week. Most of our buildings have a case or two now. The ripple effect of the contact tracing is going to take out so many that I'm sure we will have to shut down soon.

I could have have been booked solid for at least the first three weeks if I wanted. I think for schools operating as mine, you will find plenty of work. Until they close schools again.

Regarding block schedules/free period, I don't mind the schedule except for waiting for the bathroom. Our free periods ("Academic Labs") are used well for extra help and the other things already mentioned. Juniors and seniors who meet certain criteria are allowed to "flex out" and leave for the day if they prefer.

Our HS teachers began buddying up on supervision. Each teacher would alternate taking both classes each time, leaving the other free of duty. They probably aren't doing that this year because of distancing requirements.

subasaurus 08-14-2020 01:07 PM

But I'm waiting for my sub agency to get back to me. They're currently developing extra training plans required by the state. Just like most schools in the United States right now.

It's weird not having the training available right now. I'm usually all set by the end of July.

Anyway, just another thing to deal with during this time of great confusion.

jazzer 08-14-2020 10:42 AM

That is correct that the block scheduling was not just in rural areas. The school I talked about in my earlier post was in Chicago.

Tori58 08-14-2020 10:08 AM

Didn't just fall off the turnip truck.
No, of course not. It's just that, if you weren't teaching in the mid-90's, you maybe don't know where block scheduling came from. Like many things in education, it came from educational theorists who weren't actually in the classroom and was promoted more vigorously by administrators than by teachers.

Just strange to me that only rural schools do this.
That has not been my experience. It was the big, urban schools that hopped on the block scheduling idea the most quickly. Some bigger rural schools followed suit but small schools found it rather more difficult to implement a block schedule and still have any elective classes.

By the way, sitting at a desk while students "study" is a free period, in my book.
Yes, this is an idea that is better in theory than in practice. Just because you asked a student to come in for help or to take a test, (or to have a music lesson) doesn't mean that they actually show up. Some teachers, if they teach electives or more advanced classes, rarely have students who fall behind or need extra help. Some teachers don't advise any co-curriculars. There really is a pretty wide variety in how hard teachers are working during these periods.
bodhimom 08-14-2020 09:09 AM

I see the one population that wasn't asked for their opinion were the students. I didn't even like 1 1/2 hour classes when I was in college.

Just strange to me that only rural schools do this. By the way, sitting at a desk while students "study" is a free period, in my book.

By the way, I was a science teacher for 12 years so I've been there. Didn't just fall off the turnip truck.

Tori58 08-14-2020 08:40 AM

It would have worked for theatre arts in some situations, but music it was too long a time for music and band.
Choir too. Few middle and high school students have the vocal technique or the instrumental chops to rehearse for 90 minutes. Most of the teachers that I know do some combination of sectionals, online music theory and/or appreciation assignments and full rehearsals. The worst of it is that it often makes it difficult for students to be in a performance group for the entire year.

I will say, though, that this pandemic is the first thing that has made me see some advantages for subs in block scheduling. It's true that it means you have some days with no break outside your lunch break but it's also true that it reduces the number of students you see in a day. I have not noticed that it results in smaller class sizes, but if it does, that's safer too.

And, I do think that schools that are on the block have been in the habit of utilizing online resources to a greater degree than schools that have not, which made it easier for them to go to virtual delivery when the pandemic hit and which will make it easier to adjust to a blended learning model.

And, apologies for hijacking the thread topic. I do think that, for anyone at increased risk, it's a tough decision whether to sub or not.
jazzer 08-14-2020 07:41 AM

I taught at an inner city Catholic High School from 2004 until 2006 and we had block scheduling. I taught music appreciation, band, and theatre arts. I did not think it worked well for the schoolís population because these students had low attention spans and many had tough home lives and were not interested in learning. Many were failing a lot of classes.

It would have worked for theatre arts in some situations, but music it was too long a time for music and band.

Tori58 08-14-2020 05:56 AM

I've been a teacher for 32 years and I remember when block scheduling started to become popular in the 90's. I sat on more than one committee debating the pros and cons of it and I was involved with more than one music education organization working actively to keep the straight AB4x4 block out of schools because it destroys music programs.

Science teachers were the biggest proponents of it because they liked the extra time for labs. Other areas with lots of hands-on learning requiring set up and clean up (shop classes, art classes, tech. ed classes) also tended to think it was a good idea. Most other teachers hated the idea.

Now, younger teachers get better training in how to make the best use of a block schedule and many older teachers adjusted their teaching as well. One of the "selling points" of block scheduling was that students would get more guided practice rather than taking home work and practicing it incorrectly, so it's appropriate to have some "homework" time in the planning. What I usually see is that teachers rotate students through 3-4 activities, one of which is "homework." Now that a lot of content is delivered through Google Classroom - or something similar - students may be mostly working online when a sub is there.

Some teachers did simply refuse to adjust their teaching style to accomodate the block, though, so some of them still deliver the traditional 45 minutes of instruction and turn the rest of the time over to homework or busywork. They do that because they feel it was forced on them, not because they like it.

The "wasted study class" is a separate thing from block scheduling and happens in many schools that aren't on the block. It's much newer - it's become an educational fad in just the past 5-10 years or so. The idea is that it gives students time to make up work, get extra help, retake tests and quizzes, meet with guidance counselors and have co-curricular meetings - all without disrupting other classes. I've never seen any place where it's a "free period" for teachers since all teachers are required to supervise a certain number of students during this time. In some schools, teachers are required to provide some type of activity for students who don't have anything they need to get done. As a sub it's a pretty easy period because nobody comes to a sub for extra help or to retake tests. I agree, though, that's it's wasted time for many students. It's another case of how schools revolve around students who need extra help and/or are irresponsible students at the expense of responsible students who don't generally need extra help. ETA: I think this trend is mostly driven by "school report cards" and school funding being tied to school performance.

bodhimom 08-12-2020 09:29 PM

I was a science teacher and wouldn't have liked it. You can adjust things to a traditional schedule just fine, if you want to.

Fractured 08-12-2020 06:49 PM

All of the high schools in my area except one have block scheduling so I just got used to it. I find it easier in some ways depending on what kind of plans have been left. If itís a workday, they usually are hard to keep focused, but some do the work. If itís multiple worksheets, they usually fall apart.

I have days where Iím just doing the normal teacherís lesson, but I am always left with extra time.

I know science and math teachers like it because of labs, donít really know anyone else who digs it.

bodhimom 08-12-2020 03:19 PM

I don't agree. Teachers like having fewer number of students per day. With the copious time they have, they let students work on "homework" for much of the period. Block scheduling also comes with a wasted "study class," which is another free period for the teachers. The study class is often the last period, so they use the subs from other classes to cover it, so they can go home early. Doesn't hurt anything since it is a wasted class in the first place.

Rural schools usually have more studious students, so they naturally have better test scores, so they can get away with it. Trust me, I've been there.

Tori58 08-12-2020 02:32 PM

I agree. Many teachers agree. Let me try again: Why do you think block scheduling exists in schools because teachers think it's easier? For every certified teacher I've known who liked block scheduling I've known ten who hated it. It's administrators who love the block.

bodhimom 08-12-2020 02:18 PM

I say what I say about block schedules because I have a lot of experience in both.

It doesn't help to have less transition time in favor of glazed-eyed teenagers.

Tori58 08-12-2020 12:39 PM

Oh I agree that block scheduling can be completely miserable for subs. I'm just saying that many regular teachers hate block scheduling, too. When the notion of block scheduling first came on the scene in the 90's there was vigorous opposition from teachers.

So, my point is that block scheduling exists in schools because administrators think it's a good idea not because it makes things easier for teachers.

ChessandCheck 08-12-2020 12:28 PM

i avoid block classes in my district because, if it's a terrible class, you're trapped with them that much longer. if they go off the rails, they build up to much worse behavior over that longer period of time. some kids won't start work because they think they have forever to do it, so they just create problems. others finish very quickly and either want something else to do, or rushed through the work so they can goof off.

i just find those classes much harder to manage, and i hate having less opportunities to access to a restroom.

eta - the only class that made me cry was a block class.

Tori58 08-12-2020 12:21 PM

I'm not planning to do any subbing. I'm going to continue with my part time contracted position only because the school I am at has capped class sizes at 15, required masks and is prepared to close if necessary. Total numbers are around 100.

But I'm unwilling to travel from school to school in the midst of a pandemic.

Block schedules suck. Only the teachers like them because it is easier for them.
Why do you think this? My experience is that administrators like the block because scheduling is easier and students spend less time in transition, theoretically reducing behavior issues. Some teachers like the block for things like science labs or hands-on projects. Some teachers (music teachers!) really hate the block because it's hard for kids to schedule a performance group for an entire year and because it's not necessarily healthy to rehearse students for an extended period.

I don't know any teachers who think the block is easier, although I can see the advantages for in-school blended learning. Most teachers think it takes more careful planning to avoid wasted time and off-task students.
YayaSub 08-11-2020 03:28 AM

my job was only barely doable some days, and i cannot envision how this will be doable at all with the kinds of students i often have.
I can't offer anything about your other points, but this may ease some minds: At least for the hybrid system we have, class sizes are tiny. Yesterday I got pulled to go to a team that I NEVER voluntarily go to because of their typical student behaviors. I didn't have much choice except to suck it up and get through it. Both classes I covered had 8-9 students, and they were wonderful! In fact, I could barely get them to say a word during class discussion. Other than that they were silent. I had noticed the same in 6th grade, but I had chalked it up to being unfamiliar with the building and other students from different elementaries. It's like this all over the building, and the teachers are having a little difficulty getting to know the students.

Circumstances vary widely depending on your location, so you have to factor in that. But I haven't seen or even heard of one "mask infraction." With certain criteria, students sometimes get a "mask break." Some of them opt to just leave them on. I've gotten so used to it myself, I sometimes forget, like when I'm alone in my classroom.

That said, I am being requested for a 6 week medical leave. And I'm not sure I'm up for that right now.

So those who don't have the health considerations, this is a good time to sub!
ChessandCheck 08-10-2020 06:27 PM

you may be right, bodhi. i almost never get sick, even when the students and teachers are succumbing to flu left and right!

ChessandCheck 08-10-2020 06:24 PM

sometimes i think about it, because i really don't want to be any more broke. lost snap, just looked at student loans today (70k and rising), so this is a really hard choice. i keep coming back to a) to i want to contribute to illness b) enable the district to operate when it's unsafe and c) the reality that my job was only barely doable some days, and i cannot envision how this will be doable at all with the kinds of students i often have. oh, and to second cc96, d) not having regular access to a bathroom is a no-go due to health issues.

plus, i'm keeping my teens home for their safety. how do i justify exposing them every day by virtue of a job that is at odds with safe practices?

i have started applying elsewhere.

Sirsubalot 08-10-2020 03:24 PM

For me there is no option. I must stay home.

I am 62 with diabetes, and my only family is my 87 year old mother.

She is totally stressed out, which is understandable since my dad died on July 3rd after 67 years of marriage. She has severe clinical depression.

My largest district starts school online tomorrow, so I was surprised to actually get a job offer for this Thursday in an 8th grade class.

I called the school and the secretary did not much about what was happening. She told me to call the district, that did not know much either. So the district secretary said to call the school, and the school secretary said to call the district.

What I did learn was that the teachers choose between online learning at home or in their classroom, but with no training, I do not know what would happen if I showed up at the school.

It is quite a mystery.

bodhimom 08-10-2020 02:45 PM

On the other hand, we probably have the most robust immune system of anybody!

artladyhere 08-10-2020 10:21 AM

Yes, I'm going back.

MaineSub 08-10-2020 09:18 AM

Who would have thought that teaching would be a job that's hazardous to your health?
Ummm... it always has been... schools are to a large extent germ factories and we can stir in the potential for injury. The unanswered question is (at least in my opinion) whether or not it's sufficiently more hazardous this year. While both DW and I are in "high risk" populations, it's still a matter of "managed risk." I think the answer to the question of going back (or not) has to be answered individually. Personally, the "data" seems fuzzy and the "science" is less than concrete. At this point, I do plan to return.
Learn Today 08-10-2020 06:00 AM

I can't decide. I'm immune compromised so there is that consideration. I'm also not good with technology which I would need for hybrid classes. Lastly, my daughter says if I sub I have to quarantine for 2 weeks before I can see the grandbabies. So, I guess I'm leaning towards no. I will miss kids and other teachers but It's not worth it!

Fractured 08-09-2020 01:48 PM

Iím not going back in person. If cases got below 5 percent in my area I might, but I donít see that happening this year. One of my districts sent out something asking about if we would virtually sub. I canít imagine that will happen, but I would do it.

The schools are just too large in my area and not well ventilated.

If everyone wore masks all the time, I think we would see a change in numbers, but thatís not going to happen.

Even if there is a vaccine this school year, it will go to front line workers first. This year will probably be a continual mashing of hybrid and virtual learning as outbreaks occur. I imagine it will be the same for next year as well.

Tapdancesub 08-09-2020 11:06 AM

Iíve been offered a virtual reading support tutor position. Iím going to do that for now and see what happens. The person whoís job Iím covering is on a medical leave. Its part-time.

bodhimom 08-09-2020 10:26 AM

Block schedules suck. Only the teachers like them because it is easier for them. It is not best for high school students. The students just don't know any different.

Block schedules seem to be more prevalent in rural schools that don't pay as much. I think they use it to attract teachers.

I hate wearing masks, though I do it when I need to. I think this will blow over when an effective vaccine is produced and readily available to the public. Why wouldn't it?

CC96 08-09-2020 09:35 AM

I am 62, my husband is 67 with some underlying health concerns, it is very difficult for me to wear a mask more than an hour, many of my schools have no AC or AC the districts controls, I am not the best at technology, and it looks like if and when they do come back they will be on block schedule which means no quick restrooms runs between classes, which unfortunately for medical reasons I need. I completely believe these things will impact the entire 20/21 school year and possibly beyond. I think a lot of schools may opt to stay on block schedule and offer hybrid type of classes even beyond this particular virus, and who knows what/when the next virus will be? So yeah, I vacillate back-and-forth as to what I’m going to do. I think I will just have to see what happens and take it one day at a time literally. Thankfully, my SS kicks in come September.

knelson13 08-09-2020 06:54 AM

Are you going back to sub? Our school is doing the hybrid option although I'm not sure how that will look yet. Subs haven't gotten any communication yet so I don't even know what our options are but I am assuming they will need subs in the classroom but maybe not. I am 60 and change my mind on the daily if it is worth my going back. I really hope this doesn't last the whole school year. Who would have thought that teaching would be a job that's hazardous to your health?

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