Interchangeable Parts

Some days, it just doesn't pay to check your email.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to check your email.

Without getting too deeply into the things that drove the post above…an Unfortunate Email was sent out the other day. Note the caps. In it, not only did another “teacher” decide to dictate the lesson plans of about a dozen other teachers, regardless of their content…but that same person separated the teachers into two categories. The way that the separation came down, and with the attached verbiage, it was hard for any recipient of the mail to not be offended.

Still…being a hothead myself, I’m fairly certain I was the First to be offended.

In many ways, the idea that my lesson could be interchangeable with the suggested lesson, at will, without an eye toward the End Stage Planning of my class, suggested a sort of meaningless generic quality to the content. In addition, the arbitrary nature of the two groups made it pretty clear that the teachers themselves were interchangeable with respect to the outcome, or perhaps with respect to the author of the mail. Either way, it took a thing that I was interested in, and immediately relegated it to “DO NOT WANT.”

When this person attempted to sort of “clear the air,” my cross demeanor was addressed with sort of a laugh and a smile, a shrug and…”oh…always such a hothead.” Not a Good Plan. My co-teacher, the History Amazon, rapidly got up and left, which I rapidly pointed out was because she was offended, and had no intention of listening to the schtick or doing the lesson. Pretty rapidly, the teacher’s lounge emptied, with just a core of people on hand.

I spoke to one of the key issues at hand: if we treat teachers like they don’t matter, or that they have a generic quality making them very replaceable, why would anyone stay in that position? Why would any intelligent person stick with such an undervalued job? It’s one thing to be undervalued by students…they are kids, and often aren’t aware of their actions or the impact of them. It’s yet another to be undervalued by your own supposed peers. That goes on frequently…no, constantly, and wears pretty rapidly.

Am I truly interchangeable for lesson purposes with a person that lets students ditch other classes in their classroom? With a teacher that dismisses class fifteen minutes early because they are tired? I think not.

Obviously, that’s what the art is about. Interesting, because it has less to do with the usual end of year issues, and less to do with Haters, and everything to do with the peer to peer interactions among Adults that make a true Negative Zone.

Artistically, this is once again using a variation of my process, with an eye toward experimentation. I was griping earlier about lack of space on a sketch cover, so I intentionally went SMALLER here, as a challenge. Each panel above is roughly the size of a post-it note, which I attempted as a test of economy of line and scale. I was impressed with how much the cramped nature of the space changed the linework, and as a result, it was a useful endeavour.

Next Issue: Wishes!


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