In The Shadow Of Sauron! (Marvel’s Sauron, That Is).

Sauron appears to be a pretty handsy pterodactyl man.

Sauron appears to be a pretty handsy pterodactyl man.

Wow. Late post.

In fact…late enough that the bell for school has just rung, ending the school day. It’s a rare thing indeed for me to post while still on campus, but I really wanted to get the Thursday post up, True Believers. Right now, I’m actually IN my Edu-Dungeon, having just closed up class for the day, and signed out some copies of “Lord of The Flies” to students who are stressed out about the paper that is due tomorrow. The idea of actually being on campus while writing a post is a very strange one…not a normal part of the Adequacy creative process.

So the art obviously has Sauron, the vampire pterodactyl guy that hangs out in the Savage Land, using his hypnotic eyes (because vampires of any kind have those) to subdue the protagonist. In my research for Sauron’s appearance, I went through a large number of old X-Men issue, and appearances of the character, and have to say that yes…he’s often presented as pretty handsy with the lady superheroes. He also tends to only really leech powers off of them, and when he took on the New Avengers in the Savage Land, he makes sure to take their clothes..all of them. Spider-Woman comments on this, thinking that it’s excessive, and really, I have to agree.

Tales of Adequacy likes our “Comics Code Approved” status, so Cap will be hanging on to her “Savage Land Bikini.” Just so you know.

So…why is it that our hero is being handily defeated here, by the “Beast From Air?” It’s not just that he has a superpower that bypasses her Generic Silver Age Alien Powers, but more a commentary about the challenges to the week, and lesson planning.

You see, by now…according to my written lesson plans, I should be finished reading Chapter Seven, and discussing it. Instead, I am now officially two days off plan, because tomorrow, the students will be editing and writing final drafts of their papers on Chapter Five, “The Beast From Water.” We at least got Chapter Six, “The Beast From Air” read, and are now stalled there…much like the protagonist of Adequacy is transfixed in place by Sauron’s Vampire Vision.

What happened? Glad you asked.

A series of moving parts, that are intrinsic to the realities of modern public education, conspired to produce that lag. For the first part, on Tuesday we had a shortened day schedule to clear time for Professional Development meetings, which shaved eleven minutes off of each class. That meant that drafting the second part of the composition became an impossibility at that time, and it needed to be “rolled over” to Wednesday. Today (Thursday) featured an unscheduled “Fire Drill.” Note…there was no fire, just a drill. That subtracted about twenty minutes off of one class, and ten off of another. Add to that frequent PA announcements and class summons, and each class had close to half an hour…more than half of a meeting period, drained off.

In addition…a report card JUST arrived home. As a result, students gain the belief that their grade is simply what is written on the card, and CAN’T CHANGE. At all. As a result, productivity declines, slowing the actual process of classwork that went quite well for the first few weeks. Instead, the students enter a sort of pattern where on the day a project or assignment is due, a significant quantity of work that has been deferred suddenly gets done. Or more accurately, they attempt to get it done.

So…this sets an odd delay in place. If the lesson plan had peer editing guided by me in it…and almost none of the compositions are complete…then you can’t actually edit. You wind up stuck in a kind of “holding pattern” based on the need for students to complete their work.

Most importantly…they know this, and as a result, take their time.

The only solution is to break the cycle, much like Cap should not have looked Sauron in the eye. If she were to break eye contact, she might be able to kind of “fly it off.”

How do you break the cycle that I’m talking about in class? Simple. Tomorrow is a hard deadline. All of the work for the week will be turned in, complete or not, and graded hard. Quickly, too. That way, the students are forced to recognize that the procrastination strategy won’t delay class from going on, and that things have to happen. Arguably, it provides some rough impact to grades.

Thankfully, my grading system allows students to resubmit papers and projects for a higher grade, if their grade was in fact, crummy. I’m imagining I’ll see some of that happen after tomorrow’s papers are graded, but not as much as you might think.

Without all of the interruptions to class time, it would have been much easier to stay on schedule. Sadly, that’s a key part of the modern public school paradigm…classes are listed as “instructional minutes,” but those minutes are often co-opted into things that are not instruction at all.

One last thought on the art…I’m guessing that Sauron is smart enough to have Cap keep using her Silver Age Flight Power to hold them both up…because he is clearly not flapping his wings. I’m thinking that’s the case, since he is a physician (when he’s a human being), and as a result, should be smart enough to do things that would make him slam into the ground from a great height. One would hope, at least. I was thinking about his lack of flapping, and that they were clearly still in mid air, as I was drawing it…but was too behind schedule to change his posture to more of a “wings out” gliding posture.

To anyone else who thought that, you get a “No Prize.”

Until Tomorrow…Make Mine Adequate!

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