Peril In The Savage Land!

He's even pretty handsy with the High Priestess of the Savage Land.  Sheesh.

He’s even pretty handsy with the High Priestess of the Savage Land. Sheesh.

Today marked the last day of the school week, and as is suggested by the art, there’s a feeling of being a bit defeated.

I had to sit down during Period Five today to plan the lessons for next week. It was much easier than usual, because we made little progress this week. Two days of this week’s plans were essentially “cut and pasted” into next week’s plans, because the concept of getting through “Lord of the Flies” hasn’t changed at all. Next week will be a hard push to put three chapters of the text behind us, and get some useful outlines of those chapters produced…and pretty much, that’s it. Even the lively class discussions will need to give way to that very fundamental planning necessity.

That’s not really where the feeling of defeat comes from.

For this week’s major written work, a composition of no small influence of grades, less than half of my student population turned the work in. Sure, that makes my grading much, much easier to do. Also, it drags down some of the artificially high grades that existed due to the brevity of the first grading period. However…it also indicates that over half of my students self selected themselves, through inefficient work and planning, into a substantially lower grade.

To some very real extent, that’s a defeat.

My “late work” policy suggests that a fair number of the papers may come in next week, on Monday. Even with that, the number of submitted papers is still alarmingly small, and will have a pretty heavy “swing effect” on grades as we enter the next grading cycle.

The students actually correctly realized that things needed to get done today, which was excellent. The thing is, they got serious about there efforts in the last ten percent of the time alotted during the entire week, about halfway through my class periods today. That gave them roughly twenty five minutes to grind out a complete rough draft, edit it, and create a final draft from the changes made by a partner. Even a short composition is tough to do all of that for in less than half an hour.

So…artistically, we have this. Defeat by Sauron, the Beast from Air, more or less freezing things in place in a stone Keep. Stuck in the Savage Land with a creepy dinosaur man and a pretty equally creepy High Priestess, overseeing the proceedings and looking pretty @#$%ing judgmental. That High Priestess is pretty much an Edu-Lord for the Savage Land, her judgmental question mostly being about making progress toward whatever plan she has…which may or may not have anything to do with the protagonist’s plans, or Sauron’s for that matter.

She’s an important metaphor for administration under these conditions. More primitive and less powerful that the usual Edu-Lords, she’s still a sorceress with her own agenda, and has a similar “power stealing” ability to Sauron. In short…she represents the idea that there are forces above the rank of heroes like Cap in the Savage Land, and those forces can very much affect the goals of the rank and file. Often in ways that seem primitive, arbitrary, and mildly self absorbed.

Looking at that paragraph, I’m clearly pretty down on Administration right now. Now for being willfully wrongheaded, or evil, or anything of the sort. Instead for holding teachers accountable to “every minute of instructional time,” while creating a near continuous stream of minor obstacles based on an arcane bureaucracy, which in turn undermines that “instructional time” by accident.

That’s just a thing that happens, both in public education, and seemingly in that Savage Land as well.

For the second day in a row, I’ve been so overworked that I’ve needed to do an “after school, in the office” post. Hopefully I’ll get back on the usual schedule this weekend, True Believers.

I certainly don’t have too many assignments to go over.


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