Archive for November, 2007

Day 43, Worked 14 Days = ± 1/3

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Monday, November 26th, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder says the proverb; purple is beautiful rimes. Can something be beautiful to someone, though not to someone else or could a concept be logical to someone, but not to someone else? What’s logical and what isn’t? Is Logic less arbitrary than Aesthetics? Is Aesthetics more personal than Logic? So many questions many people might never ask, although so many might?!

So as to be more positive than in my title, I’ll mention that these last 24 working days, I worked 12 days, thus a day on two; however, since what I’ll make in the next two weeks will be paid on 2007dec 27, I’ll sure love it, if the coming next nine days, I work everyday… However, vaticination is impossible, since I control neither the callers, nor the needs in replacements, nor the Sun starting to set at 16h, at this time of the year on this part of the planet…

Nevertheless, inspired by Muse Calliope, I could calligraphy or rather design a business card that I could distribute to all callers and also to ESL teachers, especially in schools that call me. However, the problematic also include precarious teachers, who get most of the substitute teaching periods which occur: there are at least two schools which told me that, but I can easily imagine that the same trend goes on in other schools, especially that this morning, at the St-Louis Adult Center, a teacher without her glasses asked me to read her quite a short notice on the teacher’s billboard ; basicelly, it said that a proposition has been made to the effect that replacements should first be offered to permanent teachers, then, to the precarious ones, and lastly, to “others”: that’s me!

I can understand the logic behind that request, but it clearly isn’t to my personal advantage, ist it? I feel more inclined towards the aesthetics of the “please, share with US” camp, even though US doesn’t exist as an entity, but rather as isolated individuals waiting for an eventual tasks, or crumbs. .

§ 5

Day 42 :: BILAN :: State of Affairs

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Friday, November 23rd, 2007 at 9:29 pm

By the time, Monday, 2007nov26, rolls about, two months will have elapsed since that first day I was officially available and ready to go, at 7 o’clock in the morning, just in case a school calls me for a replacement. Within those two months, the fact is that I (only) worked 13 days, on the 42, which were actual work days… In fact, since I worked 39 hours ¼, in 42 days, I could thus say I nearly worked an hour a day, @t ±$45 an hour = ± $1766, thus, $883 gross / month!

$833 x 12 months = ± $10,600 / year: quite a way from the supposed ± $40,000 a year, my education commands; moreover, take off 2 months of summer and Christmas Holidays, thus round it up at $10 thousands. And I’m not alone in that situation: for example, someone I know of, in another school board, was given a contract, with a supposed 50% task of pure substitute teaching; however, in fact, if she doesn’t get the periods within a pay cycle, those periods are not paid and are moved along: therefore, she barely makes $250 a week, or ± $10,000 a year, although her time was reserved through a supposed pay of ± $20,000 a year…

Moreover, I over heard a conversation, on the 801 bus, of a young man complaining that he barely gets any calls for substitute teaching, so far, this year, whereas last year, he replaced more and always for the same four teachers. As with my other example, at the previous §, he also seemed not to be at his first year of substitute teaching. That is to say that the millions that the school boards have stored in the bank(s) could be rightfully paid to the people who dedicated themselves to 4-year long University programs, sometimes accumulating wonderous debts, upto $50,000 with a Master’s Degree: mine is in Educational Technology.

Furthermore, we’re all isolated, I suppose, except for old frienships from University. Oh yes, we’re all syndicated: I got my card this week from the SERQ: Syndicat de l’Enseignement de la Région de Québec; the SERQ deserves teachers both from De La Capitale et Des Premières-Seigneuries School Boards. However, that doesn’t make me truly united to other substitute teachers, whom have been hired by the School board, this year or last.

An efficient way to unite us could be through a Wiki; however, do substitute teachers really want to unite? Or are we more of a bunch of individualistically mannered, wannabe teachers, surviving in a survival of the fittest mood, until we reach the precarious statute, ou le « statut précaire », in French. From thereon, we’ll have priority on the substitute wannabe teachers, to choose the various, available tasks, until one day, we reach a “permanent” statute.

Meanwhile, as a substitute teacher, I must act, so as to communicate my existence to the schools’ callers, who are the employees who phone up substitute teachers, as needed; some of them do only that, others fill other tasks. One of these phoned here yesterday at 9h30 to offer me a 3-week task in ESL, overlapping Christmas Holidays; I phoned her back, as soon I got here from St-Louis Adult Center, a bit past 15h30, and she returned my call early this morning to tell me someone else got the job: elle m’a indiqué avoir laissé quelques messages sur quelques répondeurs ; bref, si j’avais eu un cell portable, et que j’avais répondu tout de suite, j’aurais peut-être eu l’emploi ?

Par ailleurs, elle m’a aussi dit que la personne choisie rencontre l’enseignante la semaine prochaine : tant mieux pour elle ou lui. Finalement, à ma question, avez-vous parfois des suppléances à octroyer, la réponse fut ± « que le problème, c’est que j’ai une bonne douzaine de précaires, ici, et, conséquemment, les suppléances leur reviennent, afin de combler leurs tâches incomplètes. » That’s the exact same song sung by JFP High School, ± 2 months ago: the teachers with a precarious statute and incomplete tasks get the substitute teaching periods, whereas us, substitute teachers, get the crumbs. That’s the state of affairs in the education world of Quebec City, QC, this 2007nov23.

Day 40 :: Discipline or Repression?

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 at 1:56 pm

According to my Wiki, I’ve worked 12 days on 39, since I was hired on 2007sep21; however, these past four weeks, I worked every other day… Last Thursday and Friday, according to my Wiki, I taught again at the Neufchatel High School, however, nobody called yesterday, Monday; as for today, in a few minutes, or in a couple of hours, I’ll find out if I’ll be working today, Tuesday, 2007nov20, my 40th possible working day. Nonetheless, I do have work scheduled for this upcoming Thursday, or Day 42, at the St-Louis Adult Center. That is to say, that if I work today OR tomorrow, I’ll have worked 14 days on 42, this upcoming Thursday, or a day on three; considering that my first month was very slow, I’m quite happy, since my teaching carreer is actually rolling….

I now must get fully ready in case I’m called today; I won’t write that I’ll keep on writing later on, since sometimes, from a phone call, things go quite fast and no time is left to write here… And, I don’t always have much energy left, so as to write, after a day of work… We’ll see :o

Discipline or Repression?

§ 4

§ 5

Day 36

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

En ce vertcredi, mercredi, Wednesday, 2007nov14, 6h14 in the morning, I prepare this next @rticle, wondering if I’ll be called today… This is my 36th possible working day, since I was hired; I come back later so as to continue writing… :-D

§ 2 Finalement, je ne suis pas revenu écrire ici avant presque une semaine, ce qui aura été ma plus longue pause dans ce blogue depuis que je l’ai ouvert, en septembre… Win a few, lose a few…

Did I Save Lives or Just Hers?

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Yesterday afternoon, after my two periods substitute teaching at Neufchatel High School, more or less at dusk, I walked towards my bus stop, heading home. When I got to De L’Ormière street, the light was red, thus I waited with other people, mostly students from the High school: about a dozen of us were waiting for the green light…

Back in time, more than forty years ago, after having lunch at home, and on the way back to school, I was also waiting for the green light, this time with a girlfriend of mine, with whom I often walked to school: I really liked her, because she was quite friendly and even let me carry her books and stuff. So, we’re waiting for that green light together and at the very moment it appeared, she surprisingly said: “first one on the other side”, as she started running; however, a red car, a big car, like they made them in the 60’s, unfortunately didn’t respect its red light and whammed, whacked or bashed into my friend: after the first ugly impact noise, she was thrown onto the car’s hood, she smashed into the windshield, rolled on the roof and off the car’s trunk; then, she started running home, through a nervous reaction, screaming: “mommy, mommy, mommy”! We never saw her again. Since my mom was the kind of mom who wanted to preserve her children’s childhood, I was never told what happened to my friend, but, as I said, we never did see her again.

That event has marked me forever: since then, every time I wait for a green light and see it, I never, ever start crossing the street, without having well looked in all directions. Yesterday was no exception to that self-imposed rule and, as I wrote above, a dozen of us were waiting for the green light. The orange light appeared for the flowing traffic, precursor to our green light, and then on my left, I saw an ASSHOLE, with a woman in the passenger seat, who decided that he was too good or too hot to wait for a whole red light, and therefore “burnt” it: when we drive we should foresee possible events, like the likelihood that the dozen people waiting for their green light will jump into the street, as soon it turns green, some of them without even looking left, right or behind.

Good thing teachers aren’t shy and (should) know how to throw their voices, because if I hadn’t yelled, particularly to that one girl who was ahead of everyone, and, hadn’t she jumped back towards the sidewalk, as others also did, she or maybe even a few others would have been hit by that idiot: if ever that creep reads this, or any others with his style of driving, I want him and them to know that in order not to wait for one poor little red light, he played with adolescents’ lives! I sure wish I had time to think of noting his license plate…

Finally, we all got safely to the other side of the street; as we were waiting for our buses, that one adolescent, who was even closer to death than others, said to me something like: “I’m still shaking and my heart is rambling”; I answered, though not in details as above, that once upon a time I saw my young friend get hit, after we had been waiting for our green light and that there was no way, I would want to live that again. I could have turned my eyes away from the scene and plug my ears, so as to not hear the thumping noise of broken bones and smashed flesh, but I took the right decision and swiftly and instinctively reacted, thus saving a life or lives: God knows.

Week 08 :: 2007nov12

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Monday, November 12th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

My eighth week working or not as a substitute teacher is starting today; I’d believe that most people who do work know their work schedule for this starting week; I don’t, although I wish I did. However, in real life, we don’t always get what we want; do we?

Nevertheless, it’s 8h10 and my chances of being called diminish every minute that goes by. Writing about it doesn’t change that fact, but it gives me the opportunity to practice writing in English, even though I don’t find much else to write, other than describing this precise moment, sitting here, waiting for a possible phone call…

Of course, I could write about that disastrous oil spill, which occurred last week in the San Francisco area, even affecting the island, on which is the infamous jail of Alcatraz; this morning, there’s also the news of yet another spill, this time in the Russian Black Sea, where an oil tanker was broken in half, during a storm, along four other ships, amongst which, “three cargo ships, each carrying more than 2,000 tons of sulphur, also sank in the Kerch Strait”, writes CNN.

Other than that, Quebec soon will ban cell phones, as we’re driving, a move I entirely agree with! There’s also the piece of news announcing that Ann Bourget is leading the run for a new mayor for Quebec City; the winner of those elections will replace Mrs. Andrée Boucher, who passed away a couple of months ago.

Now that it’s past 9 o’clock, my chances of working today are dwindling, although the phone could still ring. Maybe I should just go back to bed and see if I couldn’t find sweet dreams to travel in :-)

Finally, I’ll be teaching both periods, this afternoon, in Neufchatel High school: secondary V classes again; great!

Last 3 Weeks: I Worked 1 day / 2

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Saturday, November 10th, 2007 at 1:41 pm

§ 1 I’m glad that these past three weeks, I’ve worked every other day. Therefore, since the very beginning, I now average better than a day on four. In fact, I worked nine days, on 33 work days. I hope the pace keeps up and even gets better…

Yesterday, Friday, 2007nov09, I went back to St-Louis Adult Center: it sure isn’t the same dynamics as high schools… Some students worked individually, others played the game Who wants to be a millionaire?, while yet others played Scrabble, in English, indeed, and we even played « au bonhomme pendu », in English too, of course.

On my way there, on the bus, I started reading again le Programme de formation de l’école québécoise, and that, specifically within the domain of English second language: those 50 pages, all in English, rather than in French for the rest of the Programme de formation, explain the reorganisation of English Teaching and Learning. The most striking fact is that from the four skills or competencies, they made three: speaking and listening skills instead became one competency, that is, oral interaction, whereas reading became reinvesting one’s understanding of texts, which could be textual, graphic, a video, etc. Finally, writing became writing and producing texts.

Some will say that all that terminology is only changing four quarters for a dollar, but it goes farther than that. However, for the moment, I will not get deeper into the subject, since I’m still digesting all those concepts, which actually are not so different from what was previously going on in English, second language, teaching and learning…

 

Back to Neufchatel: worked 8 days /32

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Friday, November 9th, 2007 at 12:03 am

§ 1. I rejoiced, this morning, when Neufchatel High School called me again, because I had been just a wee little bit worried about last time’s incident, caused by me parking in a reserved spot; nevertheless, I was called again: indeed, the caller did specify that I shouldn’t park in a reserved spot this time ;-) I didn’t.

§ 2. This morning, I had two groups of secondary V students and it’s a pleasure to say once, “please, be silent” and obtain 20 minutes of silence and people reading and answering questions; secondary II students, in particular, sometimes don’t have that fast, serious, cooperative attitude, especially after lunch, on Friday afternoons.

§ 3. Today, I can say that so far, from the very beginning, I’ve worked a day on four; however, if I work tomorrow, and tomorrow is Friday, I’ll have worked a day on two, these past three weeks: my substitute hamster wheel is starting to spin; that’s wonderful!

Vivre et laisser vivre

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Yesterday morning, I started leaving a comment in a blog, but finally, it took me all day and gave this:

The content of the above iframe is @t http://djo.ca/vegetarien.html

Day 30 :: To Work or not to Work

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Yesterday, Monday, 2007nov05, was a pedagogical day in the School board’s 12 high schools. Today, Tuesday, thus is the 30th day, during which I might work or not as a substitute teacher. It’s now 5 in the morning.

Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time in my 12 Wikis: I thus can say this morning that my Wikis respect even more the W3C’s XHTML regulations than Wikini’s Wiki itself! I had noticed a few weeks ago, that my Wikis didn’t validate with W3C’s XHTML evaluator anymore, due to an evolution in the encoding requirements: right after the “doctype declaration”, and just before the “head”, there was the code (html), which “declares open the HTML power”; I had to change that “html” into (html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” xml:lang=”en” lang=”en”), between “< ” and “>”, rather than parentheses…

For example, my p@ge on XHTML in all of my Wikis, now is perfectly respectful of W3C’s XHTML norms: see http://shop.djo.ca/wikini/wakka.php?wiki=FoXspeaqsXhtml or any other pages in the Wiki… I find it important that my Wikis be XHTML proof, because that way, anyone working in one of my 12 Wikis can validate their encoding, without hitting a notice due to the basics of the Wiki, rather than from their own possible mistakes: since what’s clear to me may not be so to a neophyte, might as well keep it cle@n and simple…

It’s now past 6h30 and I must get ready to go…