Oh, What Tangled Webs We Weave…
Who knew, right?
As it is, I drew the cover itself in pencils, not really intending the full cover treatment. There were a few reasons for moving forward with the cover treatment, one of them being that I have done it with a most of the Hobbit related material that I’ve been generating. Most of my classes are through Chapter 8, entitled “Flies and Spiders,” which largely deals with the journey through Mirkwood. The companions wind up off the path, and attacked by giant spiders. Bilbo needs to reveal the Ring to his friends, and they eventually escape the spiders, but without Thorin, who is a prisoner of the Wood Elves.
About the art…there are train tracks, because I felt like it. The background was a hassle, and would have benefited from inking, but I quite literally did not have the time or resources. The Elven Lady with the Cutlery is a new character, sort of added in because of all of the Elves in the Chapter. Also because of the confusion about our hero. The protagonist isn’t an Elf, Gentle Readers…she’s an Alien American. Now we can see the difference.
Hoofpool needed to be in it, but so did another pony, since Tolkien really includes a whole lot of ponies in his story. Bilbo still looks depressed, but honestly, as I reread this again with my students, for the first eight chapters he pretty much is. A very cranky adventurer, Bilbo Baggins.
This is also related to the upcoming Student of the Month Assembly. The last one did not go well, with a lack of administrative support and some real abuse leveled at some teachers by the students. I haven’t every seen anything like it, well into my teaching career. We wanted to see some real changes to the format of the activity, as did the rest of grade seven, and the entire staff of grade eight. Even having sent an e-mail about it a month ago, administration responded this week with “no changes, we are still looking into it.”
My co-teacher’s favorite word is “disingenuous.” To say that it seemed “disingenuous” that it was being looked into at all, instead of simply ignored to continue as before, is to understate. At this point, the matter has come up vehemently in two Union meetings, and will be brought up in a public forum with Union support in a future meeting. The staff is pretty direct about this, and feels ignored.
However, the hostile forest full of spiders, large and small, seemed on point when I was drawing. I really wish that things could be more direct, that adults would say what they mean and mean what they say. instead, this word “professionalism” is used as a shield, and a very versatile one at that. It’s “unprofessional” for me to disregard what is said to me, but “professional responsibilities” allow administration to disregard teacher input. That flexibility of definition is the tangled web, True Believers, and the adults in the school system are practiced at weaving it.
Still…I do like acknowledging the excellent students in our community. This time out, since my students are excited about writing and translating Tolkien’s Dwarven Runes, I’ve written my comments on the certificates in them…using a silver Sharpie. Really adds a kind of gravitas.