Boldly They Rode, And Well…!
For years, I enjoyed teaching Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” to young people. It’s an excellent poem about the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War, and the header comes from the sixth line of the third stanza. The poem is basically about the nobility of a few standing against many, of the simple greatness in doing one’s duty.
The inked art above relates both to yesterday and today, in terms of the metaphorical content. You’ll note that the protagonist is astride some super cool 80’s mullet wearing centaur, as they stomp over some sort of grungy, zombie like minions. the “I Told You So” Pony looks a bit concerned, I think because there is no real opportunity to deliver an “I told You so’ at this point, which has a whole lot in common with reality. Also, the pony doesn’t have his supercosmic Moebius Chair to float around in, also probably because of the craziness of the zombie minion situation.
Also, you may note that the protagonist has her Hebrew Hammer in hand. That’s because today, Thursday, is the day that the Reed Investment School Evaluators come to campus. The Reed v. UTLA case was one for student rights, and where I stood on the Reed side against the Teacher’s Union…in support of student rights to a solid education over teacher contractual rights. As you can imagine, that choice made me really popular at the time.
Thankfully, teachers have a short attention span. Now, years later, most teachers seem to have very little idea what the Reed case was about. To them now, it is just a collection of training hours that ironically, winds up protecting their jobs.
All of this grim determination against a sea of annoying minions in the art parallels the content of the last 24 hours of work. Nothing bad, but serious educational paperwork and management “Whack a Mole.” Let’s look at it in List Form:
1. Wednesday morning, collect Student School Experience Surveys, to turn in at Second Period.
2. Homeroom: Distribute Breakfast in the Classroom, review new procedures.
3. Homeroom: Take Teacher School Experience Survey. Print proof to turn in at Second Period.
4. First Period. Teach English.
5. First Period. Phone call to class, regarding a reminder to turn in my Student Surveys.
6. First Period. Phone call to class regarding a reminder to turn in the sheet that I printed in homeroom.
7. First Period. Last requests for student work to enter into grading system before report card.
8. Second Period. Go to office, turn in materials.
9. Second Period. Informed that I will be observed teaching class, for ten minutes, the next day.
10. Second Period. Return to class, to grade papers in preparation for report card grades due on Friday.
11. Third Period. Teach English.
12. Lunch. During lunch, call parent about student attendance. Also, discover that the MISIS grading program deals with fields of data in a fashion that can only be described as “inconvenient.”
13. Lunch. Fuss with MISIS, so that a student that has only turned in one assignment in five weeks is not longer listed as having a perfect average.
14. Lunch. double check all grades thus far published, to ensure that they reflect the work entered.
See? You see where this is going. That’s only up until lunch, yesterday. Tons upon tons of little, approachable, small tasks, some of them annoyances, some important but approachable. All inconvenient, when presented in Horde form. At this point, I’m about halfway through that Evil Horde…past the point where turning the centaur with a mullet around makes any kind of sense. Instead, the tasks of dealing with Reed Focus Groups, Teaching Class, and submitting proper report card grades with a flawed program stand before me. Each has several unforeseen subchallenges, making it slow going, even if the centaur has that crazy double sword AND the Hebrew Hammer is in play.
The only way out now, is through.