The Importance of Professional Planning.

A sad but true metaphor.

A sad but true metaphor.

The rabbit that we don’t see, off panel, is inspired by two things. The first was a strip done during the summer, where the protagonist asks the Lord of the Edu-Mountain to super-evolve a bunny. We still haven’t had a payoff on that one. The other idea behind this is of course, the ages old joke in the “Holy Grail,” with the Lethal Bunny.

Still, the metaphor is more about underestimating things and making bad choices, based upon poor planning or the assumption of something being easier than it is. La Princesa has been talking to me a great deal about this sort of thing, in a dispute that her department has been having with administration. It’s part of the reason that La Princesa makes her second appearance today, in panel three. You see, her department believes that they are not being properly paid for extra hours, but does not want to actually talk about the contract in any way when they discuss it. Their feeling is “we are the whole department, that should say something.”

Yeah…it says that you aren’t bothering to talk about the only relevant thing, the contract. It’s a Bad Plan, because without the rules, it’s really just a question of things that you would LIKE a whole lot. Much like trying to play basketball, and not having any referees or any kind of rulebook. Maybe you decide, without rules, that you should get a point for hitting the red square on the backboard with the ball.

You know why you don’t? Because the game has rules, that everyone agreed to, when they sat down and agreed to play. At work, those rules are called your contract…and the contract stipulates what you do, and don’t get paid for. Trying to talk about pay without talking about the contract is the biggest kind of Bad Plan, and La Princesa has gone to meeting after meeting where her department feels like it will be like the guy in Panel One. Too big to argue with.

Much like that oafish warrior, they did not last long. Thankfully, other than talking with La Princesa, that was not my fight at all.

Still…it is highly related to something that IS my fight. Lesson planning is terribly important in the teaching profession. It provides the framework of activities for class, what will be covered, and in what time frame. It gives the teacher a direction, and a plan to fall back on when things go poorly. A well developed, unified set of lesson plans that are relatively coherent for a grade level set a tone for the grade level itself, and make the sometimes necessary schedule changes far, far easier.

One of the positions at my grade level is on its second long term sub, the other teacher in my building carries only two sections, and moves at his own pace. The last teacher is the one who said, quite famously at this point, that he would not be following along even remotely because he was “not ready to fly with the eagles.” In other words, the kind of unity of planning that allows for total smooth sailing is not taking place.

Where does it show? Sadly, mostly to me. Students that have had schedule changes and been placed in my class are now behind on two writing projects, and we have basically finished a novel that the rest of the school is perhaps first starting. All of the assignments related to that novel are coming to a close, with a culminating essay as the assignment for the week ending October 2nd. In short, these students are coming to me without real transfer grades, but more importantly, hugely behind in the work that the class has been doing in an ongoing sense. It’s rough on them, and that is unfair in the extreme.

The problem though…is that during the summer, there were three meetings, the whole point of which was having a unified plan. A plan to keep the rabbits from tearing things up, in a metaphorical sense. For myself, I’ve been teaching for about ten times the amount of time that the other teachers in my grade level have been. I have a sort of ease at dealing with management and curricular issues, which is more or less founded in always having an exhaustive and demanding lesson plan. One that also demands that I am involved with the students as they do the various tasks in class, so that it doesn’t seem like they are somehow beneath me or my attention, but instead, the opposite. There is no unified plan now, and as a result, the metaphorical bunnies are problematic.

I imagine the off screen bunny as a kind of Omega Rabbit. The king of all Rabbits, if you will, or perhaps the platonic form of rabbits, from which all other rabbits were later wrought. The big Beastial is clearly not a full on knight, because he doesn’t have the armor that denotes tenure…and I couldn’t decide if he was some sort of Alpha Wolf Man or Mountain Lion Warrior. It’s not really relevant, because much like teachers without good lesson plans, he was clearly brutally chewed up by the Rabbit Lord in panel two.

That’s the reality. Without a solid lesson plan, the students sense that the classes aren’t serious…and it’s the smart ones, the GOOD ones, who in turn chew you up alive, like that sad, huge Beast Warrior. A moment’s respect, for that folly…

…which I will probably witness across the hall, tomorrow.

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