AV has come a long way

I don’t spend a lot of time on any of my blogs posting about my jobs. It’s not that I don’t find them interesting. Most of my life my jobs haven’t really said a lot about who I am. Working as a stocker in a grocery department doesn’t really define me. Sustitute teaching does and I just haven’t found a way to work it in to the blogs very much.

First of all I can’t really get into specifics like I did when I was blogging about my own home education experiences. I can’t take pictures of my students let alone post them nor would I ever think of doing so. In my 3rd year of subbing I am no where near an expert with advice to dole out. What I can do occasionally is make some observations and comparisons which is what I’ll attempt to this evening.

Even before Covid hit the scene I have been very impressed with the types of media that are available to the teacher. Back when I was college and doing my pre student teaching we were still using filmstrips in high school classes and computers were pretty much for word processing only and typing classes were still taught on typewriters.

In current times even in the live classroom the smartboard has replaced most if not all chalkboards and dry erase board. A smartboard plugs into the teachers laptop and a teacher could run videos, slide presentation, even quizzes disguised as games. In the school I’m in now a pretaped video of annoincements has replaced the traditional over the intercom announcements.

The teacher can also share their screen with students at home om platforms like zoom or provide the students with links to the material through the teachers home page. Homework is generally sent in electronically whether the student is live or at home.

Today some of my students went to a music class where the teacher was explaining the concept of theme and variation. After explaining it very well, he then showed this neat video which you can find on you tube simply by typing in theme and variation.

Later my students went to gym where much of their class activities were shown on the smart board. While traditional teaching still does take place this kind of vee-jay approach does enhance the learning experience and because of Co-vid the technology has become less a nicety and much more a necessity.

This technology is not just in the public schools. My daughters last year of being home schooled was 60% done through computer technology until covid increased that number to nearly 100%.

Technology in schools may be a million miles away from wheeling in the A-V cart but education does continue to roll along nicely.

Facial Recognition

Two weeks ago I stopped shaving. The school district I sub for shut down the week before their scheduled spring break. A few days later the movie theatre I work for shut down as well. The theatre does not allow facial hair so I saw this as an opportunity to add shaving to my spring break.

Until that point I had been working about 60 to 65;hours a week between the 2 jobs so I didn’t really do too much in terms of job hunting over the extended Spring Break.

Today would have been the first day back to school after Spring Break. So I decided to start looking for work,today.

Thiis is how I looked after 2 weeks of no shaving
A few minutes later
A few minutes after that only the mustache remained.
A few minutes later this young goofy guy emerged

I had thought that the clean shaven approach might be my best bet. I drove down to a local grocery store that I knew was hiring. I went to the service desk and they said to apply on line. So much for shaving I thought.

I went back home, applied on line. I went on a walk with my wife and a few minutes before we got home , the store called and asked me in for an interview. I must have put the best face on it as I was hired on the spot.

A Tale of 2 M’s

I was cleaning out my car earlier this week when I came across a business card. It was a business card I acquired during a seasonal job I had been working at Amazon. My job title at Amazon was a sortation specialist. It was a perfect 21st century job in that respect, where the job title and the job duties are mutually exclusive. What I mostly did at that job was the job of a puller, The title puller, in this case, is partially descriptive of the task I was performing, Packages ready to be delivered to customers would be unloaded from a truck and then either immediately or after further sorting placed on a conveyor built. My job was to “pull” these packages off the belt and place them on racks where other sortations specialist in this case “stowers” would place them in conveyances where they would then be ultimately delivered to the consumer. On some nights, I would work other roles, but the majority of my 3+ months with Amazon, I was a puller.

Just in case, you don’t think I’m aware of it, I haven’t really got to the point of my story that talks about the business card in my car. There was somewheres between 20 – 50 people on my shift doing or overseeing similar tasks as mine. As a team we were a very efficient bunch, often scoring in the top 10 of all the similar units in Amazon. My direct boss told me that I worked with a sense of urgency. I wore that compliment like a badge.

During our breaks and lunches most of us sat in the break room, playing games provided by management, interfacing on our smart phone, eating, talking with or co workers or some nights taking a power nap. I often sat with an man whose name begins with M, so I’ll refer to him as M1 for the rest of my tale ( you can tell by my title, this is a tale of 2 M’s). M1 was an older man who often worked as a puller alongside or across with me. In fact whatever our role was for the evening we were quite often working together. It was natural then, that we would also take our breaks and lunches together. M1 owned his own tax business and we would often speak of this as this was his busy season. Like many of those on our shift, sortation specializing was his 2nd job

Oh, I see where you’re going with this, I can hear you saying. It’s M1’s card that you found in your car. No my dear reader, it was not. It was actually M2’s card that I found. I wasn’t quite there yet, but since you are in such a rush for me to move on, I guess I shall.

One day on lunch, I stopped off to talk with my boss about my performance. It may have been that very evening that he made the works with a sense of urgency comment. When I got to M1 and my table a young man was sitting across from M1 talking his ear off. This man who we will call M2, because the name on his business card also starts with M, also frequently worked alongside me. There were also times that M2 worked with a sense of urgency, but these times were limited to his breaks and lunches. On these occasions he would talk with his co-workers about his job as a financial planner. On the occasion I am referring to he was trying to network with M1 regarding partnering with him with his tax prep clients. On another occasion he found out that I had 3 teenagers and he made sure that he gave me his card entitled “college consultant” later that shift.

I certainly don’t begrudge M2 from utilizing his breaks and lunches to propel his business. If I had witnessed M2 working with that degree of urgency while we were “on the clock” his card may have made it’s way into my wallet rather than falling in between the seats of my car. But alas this is where the two M’s were most different. Like me M1 wasn’t the most suited for the kind of work Amazon was employing us for. However, also like me M1 and I attempted to give our best effort every minute of every evening we worked there. M2 was more like some of the other employees who only worked hard when the job required it. This was actually most of the time. But there were minutes each night that could add up to hours each week, where it was possible to blend in and let others do the work. The last 10 to 15 minutes or more of a shift where folks like M2 would congregate together while folks like M1 and myself found work to do. I never saw M2 take any extra initiative to assist his co-workers beyond the parameters of his duties. M1 like myself would often step into assist before management asked us to do so.

M1 never tried to solicit me to get his business as a tax preparer. But if I ever needed a tax preparer, I would seek him out with confidence. If I ever met up with someone who needs tax assistance and lives or works near one of his 2 offices, I would recommend him gladly. I also do not need assistance at present with a college consultant. However if I did, M2 would not be who I reached out to. He may be an excellent financial planner, but in my mind, I would just expect him to work to a certain level and no more. You see in determining who I will partner with, I hold people to a certain standard, the same standard I hold myself to.

This is a great challenge to us everytime we put ourselves in public we must ask ourselves what kind of M do people see?

I took a poet to lunch today.

Every day at work my boss my boss titles her group chat by the name of whatever “holiday “it happens to be. Yesterday was take a poet to lunch today. On my break I wrote this poem.

I took a poet to lunch today.

I took a poet to lunch today

And there amid the verse ,

Our flow of thought was free and light 
Not stifled, bland, or terse.
I took a poet to lunch today 
we traded quip for quip
 She scrawled a sonnet on her check 
And left it with her tip.
If you can’t take a poet  to lunch 
Please do not wear a frown 
We all write poems in our own way 
And some , just write them down.