The Final Frontier.

Man-E-Faces...master of stealth and disguise!

Man-E-Faces…master of stealth and disguise!

So…yeah. I was actually drawing this when a teacher called me to talk about the return to school, functionally hauling me back into the workplace mentally. The first day was pretty excellent…it went well, and was smooth. Except for waking up early and commuting, there was really very, very little to complain about.

I wanted to finish the art for vacation time though, and actually have Man-E-Faces do some kind of mission. I’m still firmly entrenched in the Star Trek: The Next Generation “Season Eight” text, which drove the Alpha Quadrant recreation. Man-E-Faces is going to haul her back to the Edu-Mountain (or at least ask her to go back), so revisiting direct science fiction will be on a back burner for a while, given that setting. Not that I’m complaining, but I enjoyed the content choices of the break.

Which is why we have the art above. On some sort of forest planet, Commander Riker is being body slammed by some kind of wrestling oriented, five legged space bear. Note the horns…you need to have those to be a space bear. The extra leg helps too.

Maybe Riker thought he was going out on a camping related space date with the protagonist, and this is how it turned out. I don’t know…I didn’t think it out that much. My thought process was really just, “let’s have Man-E-Faces hiding upside down in a tree while the protagonist laughs at an Epic Space Bear Suplex Attack.” That’s how my process works. At one point, Man-E-Faces was going to have a thought balloon with a question mark…but in the end, it seemed better to just have him scared and confused.

Back to the day.

First days of school, or semesters, are different than my contemporaries remember. Each student is given a program card during homeroom. This is their schedule. Simple enough, right?

Each teacher, every period, needs to check that the schedule matches the roster, and then sign it. Not a big chore….but not a small one. You are supposed to send a student that doesn’t match, or doesn’t have the paperwork, to the counseling office, so that it can Be Straightened Out. Also simple.

The Devil is in the details. If a student misses homeroom…they don’t get their program card. That’s a problem. Schedules change because of electives, or students needing to make up failed classes. I have a number of seniors now, that need to make up second semester Tenth Grade English in order to graduate in the month of June. That’s suddenly high stakes education, for them and for me.

Still…as I’ve said all year, these are the problems that I actually signed up for when I became a teacher. Scheduling and graduation, not taking down principals or attempting to organize the budget of a school. It’s a good set of problems to have, and the students are pretty motivated to assist in resolving them. The new students seem to be pretty nice, and appreciated that I understood their situation.

It was nice to see the students again. I couldn’t really say that last year, although I did my best to see the good in the students at the old school, unlike some teachers. Although I tried not to distance myself from them…I wasn’t genuinely fond of them in the same way that I’m fond of this group. Perhaps it has something to do with being able to be an intellectual instead of a disciplinarian.

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