Siege of the Edu-Mountain!

See?  She's STILL using the "Secret Wars" Lenticular Shield from the eighties.

See? She’s STILL using the “Secret Wars” Lenticular Shield from the eighties.

Today is Parent Conference Night.

I must have mentioned in previous years that I am always a bit intimidated by Parent Conference Night. It’s a Big Deal. I look at it this way…the parent send their students in to my school, and my classroom. They expect that their students will be safe, treated with respect, and returned to them with a gradual increase in their intelligence and competence. My part of that very simple contract is actually improving their students, while keeping them safe from harm.

It’s actually a pretty tall order, a big responsibility. I take it very seriously, and as a result, I’m always a little wary going in to the evening.

Most of the time, Parent Conference Night is incredibly pleasant. It’s an evening where I get to meet and greet the families of the young people in my classes, and generally enjoy giving a report of their progress. In seventeen years, only a few Parent Conference Nights have every gotten kind of weird, or crazy, and most of those were at a school that is now closed due to its Epic Level Madness. That means only a tiny fraction of my Thirty Six total Parent Conference Nights have had issues…the trepidation is very, very much an irrational one.

Still…this is only the second time in about a decade that I’m handling Parent Conferences in the Traditional Fashion. For about a decade now, I’ve had the conferences with a team of teachers in the same room, that all shared the same students as myself. That grew slowly, from one other teacher, to a whole team, but it became a method that I was very used to. Now…it’s all me. That’s a bit intimidating.

That’s in part where the art comes from here. Inspired by the upcoming “Avengers: Standoff” plot, the protagonist is standing with the Big Three of the Avengers…each characters that represent internal things to me, in terms of the strip. Iron Man is always about being smart but irresponsible, his suit being something that shields and hides from his own mistakes. That’s why she keeps stealing them from him. Thor is all about doing the Right Thing, being Worthy, and Keeping Your Word….kind of the internal opposite to Tony Stark. You notice how they are on opposite side of the protagonist? It’s not a subtle metaphor that I was looking for.

Behind her, we have Steve Rogers, the now aged Captain America. It’s interesting to note that one of our hero’s uniforms for last year, in the Negative Zone, took a large number of visual cues from his suit. Steve Rogers is about strategy, determination, and just plain grit. About digging in and doing what you have to. You’ll notice that he’s behind her, calling the shots here. Again…when reworking the composition, the placements of the Avengers mattered to me, and pushed it forward.

There’s a whole lot of shadowy figures approaching in the foreground. The guy with the axe that has an attached spike on the back seems like he means business. It’s possible that he just wants to do some really intensive carpentry to fix the billboard behind the Avengers, we just don’t know. That’s why the trepidation, the ready positions of the Avengers. I have every expectation that all will, and should, go very well.

This school site has a different presentation than other schools where I have worked. The intention here is that I should actually make and schedule appointments, to see parents and confer about student grades. Although that might seem like the way things are done, in all my time teaching in South LA, it has pretty much been a mentality of “confer with anyone who shows up.” I rather like the idea of scheduled meetings, with a real plan as to what should be discussed. At a projected rate of four conferences per hour, over four hours, I should realistically be taking about sixteen detailed conferences. To that end, I have my grade reports ready, as well as lists of assignments, and other useful student information.

It’s not a Lenticular Shield, but it should do.


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