When Your Problems Become Silly, Or At Least Small.
Today was an unusual day. I’m writing about Tuesday, although the post is Wednesday’s. Deal with it, Gentle Reader.
School is in the End Game, and the End is very much By the Book. Various documents need to be signed off on, and even the District iPads need to be turned in. For a few hours, the loss of the iPad seemed annoying, inconvenient, troublesome. Then I realized that the iPad itself was annoying, inconvenient, and troublesome. I backed the thing up to the Cloud, and the district can inconvenience me by giving me another one, or even the same one, if they see fit. It’s just not that big a deal…the iPad itself was just a toy. One that I liked playing with, hence my ire at turning it in at all.
Maybe I’ll buy myself one.
See…that’s the interesting part. I CAN just buy another one if I want. It’s not a problem. I don’t need the thing. Occasionally, it’s nice for the sake of reference for art purposes, sure…but that’s the big draw for me. Ha! The big draw. Get it?
There are many things that need to be packed up, and even more that need to be thrown away. This is the same for every teacher, whether they are coming back or not…the custodians need room to work, in cleaning up the school over the summer. That’s a fair amount of work, but nothing of any challenge…students are only too happy to help.
The grade book is the biggie. It has been about eighteen months since the school has asked for a legitimate gradebook. I’m pretty diligent, and at the end of Last Year, when asked, presented something exactly By the Book. I take grades very seriously though, so there will be a few days of putting my Ducks in a Row, and further, making sure everything ads up to my liking. Grades are what teachers are all about, it’s the heart of academic integrity. This is nothing new…it’s very much the end of the school year ritual. Many of my more junior colleagues are stressed about it, in a way that I find interesting. I remember that kind of stress, but it is attached to not really understanding the important parts.
That’s why the lead art for today. It’s about realizing what’s important. The Negative Zone Anti-Hater Suit is more whimsical to reflect that. A fellow English teacher saw me drawing it, and commented, “It’s like R2-D2 got yoked at the gym.” Even the Hater is comical, is just a cranky, hairy, gamma powered baby. Today, I had to deal with a few rowdy students, and it was comical. At the end, where I normally think teacher’s lose what few powers they have, in the from of grades…they actually gain powers. In the End, you honestly don’t care if you see the Haters again. You can just be done, and have closure with it.
Closure is hard to come by in the world. With students, you hope the best for them. You hope that you have gotten through to them. You hope that they have learned to care. It can’t be forced though. There are some who remain apart from anything good or positive, as if they are being repelled by an opposite but equal force. In the End, as a teacher, you need to accept that.
That drove the art. You see, the taxi ready to hit the Hater from behind, smack on the back of the head? That tonka truck style taxi is the wake up call known as Life. Life asks you to do certain things, to follow certain rules, to be a certain way. If you can’t, that tonka truck is a rude awakening, and often kits pretty hard. Adults hit each other with things rougher and harder than tonka trucks, which make you want a Chibi Negative Zone Suit. To keep them away, and outside.
I drew this during the second after school meeting, which lasted a Long Time. It was about ending the school year, and paperwork, and procedures. We had just been asked in the prior meeting to reflect on the prior year…on successful practices, students reached, and team building. It was ironic, because I’ve seen a good team torn apart, in more ways than one…the most challenging students I have ever been presented, and very little in the way of successful practice. It was a reflection on failure, on defeat…on not successfully holding the important lines. That was a tough thing to think about, and try to put onto one sheet of paper.
The protagonist might be nigh invulnerable, but even the invulnerable heroes get tired of being kicked around. They get tired of seeing what they see, and being basically untouched by it, while not having the ability to fix it. That’s what I was going for with the art…the feeling of this huge, somewhat adorable suit from the first page, that keeps you separate from the things around yourself. Something you can build around yourself that will make you a rock, and island, and less of a human…or in this case, Alien American.
I’m only a day ahead in the art right now, which is interesting. It means that I draw directly what I feel in the moment. My friend Robin, the Art Therapist, would have a whole lot to say about it, but I can’t say that I do. I can say that it means everything is very much Of the Moment…and Fast. I’m happy with the quality of the output relative to the speed. In a related note, I was asked to illustrate a kid’s book today, so that does suggest that the quality is decent, even if it is fast.
In terms of real school time, Negative Zone Anti Hater Suits, adorable or not, only need to withstand another 24 hours or so of use. Roughly the same amount of time it will take to back up my iPad to the Cloud, making the hardware irrelevant. That’s a pretty interesting correlation.
Still, as it ends, I am fascinated by the amount of Hope, the number of Dreams, also having the door closed on them. Makes it good to have a giant suit of armor, if you can swing it.