Disney Princess Team-Up Week! More Merida!

Believe it or not, the crosshairs are the tough part.

Believe it or not, the crosshairs are the tough part.

I’ve been thinking of this composition all week. At the same time, I’ve been thinking of Merida’s first appearance here, where the cover art got crunched by logos. I have been mildly obsessing over revising that cover art, so that’s the “B” piece for today.

In the “A” piece above, I was looking for a feeling, a mood, and not too concerned with cover composition. I may lay off of cover composition for a bit, as I consider some of the “ins and outs” of that kind of design. It’s very challenging, and pretty clear why good cover artists command such large fees. Still…this was about a mood.

I wanted the feeling of being watched, of being in danger from some undisclosed source. This is now a constant for both teachers in general, and at my school site. Recently, a school in Lawndale had to be shut down temporarily to neutralize the threat of a students shooter…a threat that had been announced on social media, such as Twitter. At our school, threats are generally made verbally, and the fighting tends to be hand to hand…but it is pretty constant.

Further, one teacher had a section of her Saturday math class posted to Instagram. There was nothing bad about it, but it was a very real reminder that eyes, and cameras, are always upon us. At a recent training it was said that our “professional conduct should always be above reproach.” Where I agree with that comment completely, I also have to admit that the people in teaching positions are just that…people. They will make mistakes, and they might get emotional. Still, the reality is that eyes are always on.

To that end, administrative eyes are always watching. In the very real environment of caring for and educating children, it is important to have that “check and balance.” Still, for some administrators, the interactions become very personal, and that watching, the monitoring, might not be equally applied. At least once in a meeting at the end of the last school year, that watching, in fact the evaluation itself, was openly used as a threat to my team.

Amidst this minefield of watching eyes and cameras, we are both supposed to maintain order, and improve the intellectual lives of our students. That’s a very tall order, and the strain is showing on the staff…especially as the Evaluation Season comes to a head, and student behavior escalates.

So above we see Merida, armed just with arrows, being typically brave about things. Notice she isn’t aiming her arrow, because really, in a metaphorical sense, she has no real target. Our protagonist is gamely standing alongside, but again…not doing too much. Pretty much for the same reason, a confusion about the task or target. Having been given six “hills to die on”, as the “non negotiable school rules” were called by a lecturer…they don’t know which unenforceable one to go after.

And poor Pony Hulk. Having Hulked Out last issue, Pony Hulk just looks confused, and maybe a little sad. Like many teachers feel from day to day.

With standardized tests coming up, our performance is not just being watched, but it is being MEASURED. Tell me, how well is a student who ditches class every day supposed to do on that test? I’m thinking pretty poorly. So…when I see him in the hallways, tagging or playing, I should try and do something about this hypothetical student, right?

What about a dozen of them at a time? You would think that Campus Security, or administration should be involved, right? Because, and I think it is forgotten sometimes, they are being watched too. By the same sets of eyes, which judge, and often make career decisions. It all comes together into an Orwellian environment that is unsuited to teaching and learning.

Let’s look at the revised cover art instead. That might cheer up Pony Hulk:

The proportions are taller than a standard comic, but artistically worth it.  Cheese Fairy is happy!

The proportions are taller than a standard comic, but artistically worth it. Cheese Fairy is happy!

We all know how important it is for Cheese Fairy to be happy.


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