Some of the new teachers at my school are struggling. Struggling hard. They were philosophically unprepared for the realities in front of us, and for the somewhat “absentee” presence of the out of classroom personnel. As fights continue to stack up, sometimes inside classes, suspensions simply don’t happen, and crime in the neighborhood is on the rise, many of these new teachers are disheartened. One on my team is crying fairly regularly, there is a teacher on the other team who simply can’t stop complaining.
To a large degree, I have to chalk some of it up to a lack of teamwork. Some of these teachers are trying to thrive as islands, with their classroom doors closed and no interaction with other teachers. To some degree, I have to criticize backing the wrong horse…the larger chunk of the administrative staff and counselors want to throw around buzzwords and paperwork, but have little to no appreciation for the realities of the classroom. They will ask you about CHAMPs, or whether you have your “Second Step” binder, in response to questions about follow up on egregious school conduct.
This is especially true in the science classes. Once a department that was excellent, despite the chaos, now there are conflicts in the leadership of the department. The newer teachers don’t know who to follow the orders of, and become confused. Classes descend into chaos. Somehow a unit on light and who it behaves as both a wave and a particle devolved into a poster on energy conservation, and then, in response to campus events, a poster on bullying. With administration more or less absent, especially instructionally, this goes largely unnoticed.
I am keeping things running, but my co teacher and I find ourselves in a continuing holding action against misbehavior, and chaos. Instead of serious pedagogy and real instruction in the content, we are policing bullying, and dealing with hooliganism that is below the maturity level of our students. I advised one new teacher to stop attempting to be friends with the students…that the very idea was being exploited by the kids in her management. That was met with denial and general crossness, despite the fact that things were degenerating in class.
That’s what the last panel is about. We have been given a mission that is hard to do, with crummy materials (no curriculum for six weeks) and no support (absentee out of class personnel). Where’s the veterans, the big kids of teaching have gone back to back and trenched in, the less experienced are crying in the armor of their pretensions, their isolated attempts at “independence” to prove their worth. Sadly, those same qualities make such teammates of little actual worth to the team…isolationism means that you aren’t carrying any weight for me, after all.
It was fun drawing the Deviant city of Lemuria. Jack Kirby’s Deviants are all different, and all monsters. Even more awesome was drawing a person crying inside a War Machine suit. hard to illustrate, but deeply satisfying. I had trouble with darkness in the image on the reproduction for that corner of the image, but after futzing with it, I decided I like the retro, “weathered page” look that I wound up with. It ended up with a seventies comic feel, as if it were actually from a page of the Eternals, in an old collection.
Next Issue: Friends til the End.