Category: 4 to 8 AM


(I posted the following as a response to a question on an NYC teacher chat page.)

Hi, I noticed this issue a few weeks ago, I rarely use the phone system because it just calls me for jobs that I don’t want to accept (even thought I’ve answered that I’m uncomfortable with the assignment location) and I also would just like to know something about the school like say it’s proximity to me or the age group that the system is calling about. Thus, the online thing has always been a mixed bag- I often times find that only the undesirable schools will open….randomly if that. There have been a few times when I’ve been requested and I can’t get the job because it is “in callout.”
A few weeks ago, I noticed that not one job opened up online. Luckily, I work with a few schools closely! and they call me directly and I’ve worked 9 out of 10 days….but there are only so many more days left of high school left, and so I’d like to work at the places that I find I can work with.
I too called the woman, but she got an attitude with me, telling me that there was nothing wrong and that I must not know anything, She rudely asked for my file number and told me that she would call me back personally if she found a job I was a match for. At that time, there were at least 5 pages of open jobs on Subcentral. I wanted to call her back but I in fact just started cold calling schools because I figured that they would taken the job listings offline when they got filled.
If I encounter this problem tomorrow morning, Im going to call back and insist that I speak with her manager or Peter Ianello (the director of Subcentral,) I know the school I want to work at will be a rough guess to get into tomorrow, Most teachers who care about their careers don’t take off extra days after a 3 day weekend- so maybe a trip down to court st might happen.


On 5/19/14, MM wrote:

Are there any subs out there that have had difficulties
> getting jobs on SubCentral recently?
> For the past few days the jobs that have been on SubCentral
> do not appear to be opening up online. Usually when the
> system calls a substitute (listed as being “In Callout”)the
> job opens up for a substitute who is viewing SubCentral
> online(listed online as “Details”). Usually the jobs
> fluctuate from being “In Callout” and being available but
> the past two days, the jobs have been stuck “In Callout”.
> I’m also not sure the system is actually calling anyone.
> Usually I receive anywhere from 10-15 calls per morning,
> whether I accept the job or not but I haven’t received any
> calls from the SubCentral system in the last two days and it
> seems as if none of the jobs that are getting posted are
> being accepted by anyone. Yesterday, I couldn’t even accept
> a job by one of the schools that has me listed as one their
> priority subs. I understand that there’s always a few jobs
> will not be accepted but lately there have been about 3
> pages worth of sub jobs on SubCentral everyday that are
> stuck in callout and have been online for hours.
> I tried calling the SubCentral help desk and was basically
> told in a nice way that I was crazy by a woman who seemed to
> have a bit of an attitude and that they did not notice any
> problems with the system but I know that I’m probably not
> the only sub who has missed two days of work during the
> busiest time of the school year because of this.
> Are there any other NYC substitutes who have been having
> this problem or is it just me?


Chester Kent. 5/27/2014


Origins of a word

New York Times Article

I read the above New York Times article and found immediate use of it as a discussion in class. Students in ELA, Global -And American History class can easily have a conversation about cultural identity. The moderator/teacher could easily find another blog or article about a similar topic and have students compare and contrast the viewpoints and create their own argument.
Similarly, in a Literacy in Mathematics class, students could take demographics about how polling is done, and discuss what their results mean. And then move to the cultural discussion.
On the Times article itself,
I’m happy to be politically correct. I’ve always found the difference between Hispanic and Latino and between Black and African America- very interesting to examine.
-Chester Kent

You know those kids after school….? The loud ones who act like they have no home training, or that they are telling the best story in the world so we all have to hear em? The kids who push you out the way,rough house and don’t give an eff whose nearby?

Well someone dealt with one (non-lethally.)

read this. a story about man v teen.

Should be interesting how this one turns out? I totally see the kids stepping to him like wild beast who needed to be tamed. Kids these days are taking it to far with their”turn it up.”

Again, we’ll see if this story becomes more.

[chester Kent]

Today’s quote –

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others


When I read this quote the first thing I said to myself if “Who knew that Plato would be into Inclusion and Inclusive education?” For those not in the know, “Inclusion education” is exactly what it sounds like. Children of all different abilities (or some with disabilities) are included in the same classroom. The textbook definition of Inclusion education will tell you things about the “Least Restrictive Environments,” ratios and “IEP’s.” What anyone needs to know is that it’s a way to merge general education and special education.

I’ve seen some classrooms where inclusion works. The children work together to help each other, and the weakest members of the class or those classified as disabled work well with each other. Two years ago, I built an a truly inclusive class. I poured hours over an oversized class roster. I checked the list of IEP’s and considered the student without them. The 21 students in my class rocked and rolled. They cared about each other and their assignments. They worked pass language barriers.

And then I’ve seen classes where the teacher is overworked, and the class size roster is near its limit and the amount of education being done amounts to snapped pencils and frustration by all.

But focus not be good, right? Especially since all education is moving to inclusion being the norm. Plato’s quote is something for all teachers really. Who doesn’t believe that all students have the capability to be good students. Good teachers do. They worry and stress that maybe they haven’t gotten their points across to their classes. Students do know genuine good teaching. They look forward to the test and sense of accomplishment that Continue reading

“True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.”

― George Washington

Often times I smile a secret smile when I hear the chatter of high schools students. The urgency of their relationships with their friends these kids have. Every student is an archetype for one of the characters on DeGrassi; each of their problems the thing that is stopping today.
Right now I’m attempting to force myself trying to recall was I like that? Did I act like the typical self important teen and if so, have I learned how to use that experience with others, with my students. I know there were some serious trials and tribulations in high school but they seem so long ago. I have a few journals (about like 15 maybe 20) but when I read back through them I feel disconnected from that kid. I feel like telling him “buck up buddy…these things you are going through are just training exercises.”
I set out wanting to write about friendships but I think that there’s nothing good to come down from examining from this angle. Maybe tomorrow’s prompt will be a better starter.

Candy Crush

Candy Crush

A few months ago, I casually downloaded a free app on my iPhone. It was a little fun, and harmless. I told a few friends, played a few more levels of this “Candy Crush” but then the learning curve became steep. Real steep. And I’d find myself stuck for days.

During the school year, I often confiscated phones. And sometimes students would be playing and I’d find myself envious. How could I clearly try to teach them to think critically when I was stuck on Level 17 in comparison to their level 46’s or 80’s?

And then I became a pusher. Recommending the candy crush like it was a drug, I found myself sending invites on Facebook and playing more than a few times a day and blam! Full addiction!

This is engrained into my summer routine. Its not just me though, the game generates like $600,000 a day in revenue from in app purchases!
See this and similar links for proof. All this is to say that I’m now stuck on level 167 and feel like bashing my phone over my head when I fail a level by just a little.
I mean..,,


Really? Seriously? Really now.

And if you don’t understand that picture, then maybe you should download the app! Or get to my level!

Chester Kent

‘Tween Knight

This episode was good……


Not as good as the one that had aired a day before though. That previous episode had the youngest competitior in Tween Jeopardy and she didn’t fail to deliver. At 10 years of age, she fumbled through the entire Jeopardy round- she couldn’t get her answer button pressed and eventually by the end of the round, she had achieved in the red ink.

But then the Double jeopardy round was just where she became the Belle of the Ball; answers she gave were correct. The best she was that she gave all the answers.

And then I read about this brat, who complains about his misspelling of the “Emancipation Proclamation.”   Sour apples.   The unseen judges on Jeopardy generally are fair about their rulings, and so with this child and his parents protest his answer, I think it teaches nothing.  Had it been an essay he needed to write, I would be more lenient but since he only had to write a short proper noun answer, they can suck on eggs.   Hopefully he’ll learn that there are consequences to checking your answer.

Yes, yes, I KNOW THAT WE KNOW WHAT HE MEANT.  So often kids are able to slide by on meaning, because we know what they kind of mean.  However, this is is Jeopardy (I couldn’t resist) and as such, I expect the cream of the crop to be extra sweet.  There line must be drawn.  What if the game had to start taking slant answer?  I can see the slippery slope now.  Answer.  The name of the first Black President.  Question – Who is the guy after George Bush, maybe?  or Question – Who is Michelle’s husband?

Try Wheel of Fortune kid.  Oh wait, that needs spelling too.

Chester Kent

Continue reading



I feel like a hypocrit because I ask my students to write about the most EXTRA or non related things (related to their lives) on a daily basis. Studies have shown that those people who are immersed in a language or have to actively use that language are just far more fluent in that language and in others. I feel that this fluency is because there is a need to be understood. Not necessarily fit in; everyone, even in their most precious memory of memories would love to share memory, and everyone loves when that memory is possibly or actually shared beyond the details of a calendar date.  If you read  the poem “The Day She Died” by Frank O’Hara,  you would understand what I mean.  In the poem, O’Hara describes everything he did until he read a newspaper that informed him that one of his favorite singers died.   When you are old enough to recognize the importance of a person, you can recall where you were when you learned that they weren’t.   I was 20 and working at IHOP when I learned my friend David died.   I was 22, when a person I barely knew told me that my friend Steven had died.   Steven had made my life in New York City possible.

Steven  was Steven.   Dirty, nasty, kinky, all those incorrigible terms that on some online profile he probably used about himself betray that in actual reality he had  a heart of gold.   The details of how we met are seedy, but how we became friends involved tales of my life, and stories about his mother.  The only caveat about factoring me into his life was his Shelty – a cruelly aged bitch he named “Sherrie.”  (Though if you told me Sherrie had been around before JFR or FDR, I’d be hard pressed to argue the opposite.)  Time and life, and Steven and I made choices, and just as crucial and important was Steven’s sex schedule, suddenly it was not, and he and I found ourselves on separate islands on this island.

The parts of his life that occurred while I was busy establishing my own life  were told me to via internet and  phone, and I could not move, and thus I remained naked in bed with a partner whom Steven didn’t care much for.  Yet, my partner read my body language and ironed my slacks and looked for a pen when I suddenly needed one for an address.  Time tells me this story wants to consume more adjectives on Dan, or about my trip on the LIRR, or METRO North to some  funeral home/chapel in Long Island unreachable other than by car.   There is a vacuum where the details about how far out I had to travel and how lonely it felt being there with his coworkers;  I had slept on his couch for 5 months but  walking into the service I could see no one that knew me.  But then emerged  his mother,  and that November before I moved here,  I had met his mother.  She had read me some of her poetry.  She coined a new word….”lonlicholy;”  To be lonelicholy is to be somewhere between meloncholy and lonely.  Lost but not so lost that you would trust a stranger.   She knew of everyone there, and had recalled their names and Steven mentioning them,  but she remembered me.  And we held each other’s hand as we remembered him.  I wanted to tell her I couldn’t be who I am without him but I didn’t know how much he told her about what he did.  Or who he did.  And all that seems more personal than necessary.  It is of those small details I would love to share that it seems as if those are the hardest to not.

As time has gone on,  I think the same thing about TJ (and our Real World: Paris audition tapes, and of Robert (who let me sleep on his couch when I was literally powerless beyond other thing’s) and I think about Paul’s mom whose home and family I felt welcomed into on holidays when my family was miles aways.  When thinking about  the unfortunateness of  time, I think about my cousin,  Samantha, and  how I would have spoiled her a little more during her visit.  In my head runs the memory that she Spiderman hit on her, and that I was able to say to her “this is my favorite building in New York”  moments slightly before.   It was a Saturday night, or more particularly early Sunday morning when I heard she had been shot.    I had just seen the Avengers movie.

Funny how time and memory goes….. by.  It has been almost a year since my brother died, and I still don’t now how how to include it in my life experiences.   Because the past year of my life didn’t happen according to my notebooks, journals and Facebook.  Sure, there are photo albums dedicated and chronicling the last few days and the time that I spent with him and my family.  But my mind doesn’t allow me to reach for the words or power to make that a year ago.   Even though I’ve asked Chris to help Samantha into the afterlife, how they be can be in the afterlife has so profoundly affected me.   Even now, I realize I can’t talk or conceptualize how to fit Christopher’s passing into this.  Because for him to die is for the part of me that has been reserved for “brother” or “my brother”  to be lost.

When I fully embraced teaching earlier this year, I now realized that it’s because I needed something else.   Upon closer look,  this  “something else” is something is blatantly specific.   It has been for a lot of my life.  In Portland, in the hospital room,  my brother’s ex-girlfriend, and a lot of his friends in fact kept pointing out or saying to me, that he told them I was the smartest person he knew.   Somehow, and in so many ways, I know he felt that.    During my senior year in college, the Professor who taught a class on the works on Nathaniel Hawthorne impressed me by his seemingly unsinkable knowledge of Hawthorne and literature.   In fact, it intimidated me.   I eventually became so stressed when trying to write my final paper, because I felt that I couldn’t bring a new insight;  in response to my nervousness, and falling confidence he said to me “Mr. Bufford, every good teacher knows how to prepare their lesson.   They also know that every lesson can be someone else’s question.”  It wasn’t until this exact second that I type this that I realized that he used my teacher name.   I wrote an overly long, thusly researched  paper (which I’ve kept) that received an A.   It relates to nothing and is the key to everything.

Time has betrayed me. My own hands have betrayed me. I have not done as I teach;  where is the daily writing or the great poems I have typed into my iPad, Pod, and Phone?   I want to make sense of things but sense everyone agrees that we can’t or that in due time perhaps we will.    And I’ve done what I can, and I have tried to ignore events. But I’m over it.   That is, I have failed myself in regards to daily writing.  I have failed myself in terms of communication, and utilizing its potential.

So call the next few posts “Summer School.”  Or at least I will.   With all that’s been going on in the world, I have had an opinion that has been wasted by not showing it’s tangibility.  How can I stand by the words I say, if I don’t say them to empower them.   Some of them will hurt.  But as a soldier with a map with mysterious dots that have been noted but not labeled…well what he  does, I try to avoid .   Looking over my notes, and my thoughts about the last year, I realize that I will never be able to put myself or the situations that have occurred in the past year aside.   I worry everyday that somewhere inside me is the rare cancer that ate my brother away.   Or some ailment that changes my mothers suffering from one thing to another.

I remember watching the episode of South Park titled “You’re getting older” and actually crying.   Of the things I can remember, I can remember everything and nothing about this undying time, where I’ve felt so alive, and feel as if there’s nothing to show for it.   I didn’t go to law school, and I still only know a fraction about Leiomyosarcoma.   I know more about cancer, HIV and AIDS, opportunistic,and inopportunistic infections, reoccurrence of cancer, firearms, Art History, Forensic Science  the inner workings of Housing Code of New York City.  I could tell you how to teach the hell out of any lesson you want to teach.  But what does it mean if I am always projecting it.  If I am always wanting to be available and making myself available?

I don’t know.   I don’t even know if my tooth brush is as coarse as it needs to be but I know I need to brush my teeth.   This, could all third draft to hide my venomous first few.  Or it could be a warning salvo.  Or it could be a plea.  I don’t know.  It’s 7  am, and I’m not fighting alcohol or subcentral.  I’m just  glad to be here, and I wish I was doing as much as I should be with this time.

Either way. Exect some new piece of work from me everyday for the next week.

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January 10th, 2011 – 6 AM


6 AM and I am doing the “C’mon….Subcentral, C’mon Subcentral….” shuffle.  Been pushing the search button like players on that show “Press Your Luck” did.  I’m tempted to scream for big money on the next click.

So far




have come up, but with the disclaimer that “This job is currently being offered to a substitute.”  However, said jobs have rolled onto the next substitute for close than an hour.  While I’m not too familiar with X080, I have been to X118 a few times, and I can say that well, I survived.   I may have needed a drink after work, but I’m alive.  The Mosholu Parkway school confounds me for various reasons tho….The most glaring being that it’s literally about 2 hours away from me via subway.  Not sure why Subcentral thinks it’s nice to tease me with such potential.  I also wonder if it’s a large school; I’ve seen various job listings (per se) almost every day.  Is it that bad?

If anyone’s interested, Kaplan, y’know the educational publisher of study guides and course books is offering about 150 free guides for your Kindle and IPAD’s/IPOD Touch’s.  I know on Apple products that you find the available books by accessing the iBooks store through the iBooks App.  (Somehow that sentence seemed quite redundant.  Eh.)  I picked up a few SAT workbooks, and a few guides on teaching kids with Special Needs.  The link is on your device.

Anyway, back to the search button routine, and waiting by the phone.  We’ll see if this is another Monday that eludes me.

[Chester Kent]

January 3rd, 2010

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

-Albert Einstein.

I have been awake for essentially 3 (three) hours, at this ungodly hour of 5 AM.  Why?  Because after reading my Facebook, Twitter, and palm leaves, all signs pointed to someone call into some school in New York City today; I mean blizzard and garbage everywhere! This could be the day I find the school of magic, love, and job openings!

But alas, I’ve been fooled.  Even the schools where it seems someone is always out seemingly has full staff attendance!  Damn UFT rules, strict principals, and responsible teachers. Grrr, Not that I’d really do much more than some sort of writing and revising on an essay dealing with the break or Snowstorm.   Or maybe I’d have the young-in’s draw their version of Winter Wonderland.


In hindsight, I wonder if everyone went  to work to see if Cathy Black was going to stop by and NOT teach.

However, in even further sight, I realize it was just the way the past week crumbled.  Jobs posted on Subcentral were far and few.  I mean, really slim pickings; chicken noodle soup without the chicken or the noodles.  Not that I should have accepted work considering how ill, I have been/had been.

All notwithstanding – A lacking week for me in terms of subbing.  Le sigh.

[Chester Kent]