Trapped With A Grading Program He Never Made!

Howard the Duck...inked in marker and digitally balanced.

Howard the Duck…inked in marker and digitally balanced.

The title of today’s post, in fact, is a variation of the “Trapped in a world he never made!” tag line that Howard the Duck had on his self titled Marvel Comic in the 1970’s. A bit of Howard the Duck trivia there, everyone.

I actually took a day off from drawing for Yom Kippur…I didn’t put pencil, or marker, to paper until after sundown. That’s why there was no Wednesday post, True Believers. Once the sun went down, I started work on the piece we see above.

This was SUCH a chore. More than it needed to be…but I wanted the black background, and wanted the black to be uniform, not lighter and darker tones. It was a hassle, but I am happy with the way it came out.

I don’t have any sullen ducks to help me with the vast amount of paperwork that goes into a report card. I wish I did…because even though Howard there doesn’t look all that pleasant, his desk is much clearer than mine right now. It seems to me that he probably does a better job of getting things off of his desk and into the “outbox” than I do. That isn’t all that hard a bar to clear, actually…since my desk is a perpetual mess. I like to say that it is my organizational paradigm, but really, it is the state of chaos that comes from the reality of accepting late work from students on a sling, no penalty, scale.

The real chore is getting things into the clunky MISIS system for grade reporting. That system never quite does what you want, and seems to have a few more clicks of the mouse needed to get anything done than are really necessary. It’s not terrible, per se…but it isn’t all that good. Twice, today, it lost the data for one of my classes, forcing a few clicks around here and there to reinstate the information. Again…not a crisis, but maybe more work than it needs to be. Much like Howard…we are trapped with this program, that I certainly never made.

Today, I have been finalizing my grades for the Ten Week Report Card, using that MISIS program. Grades are not all that bad…in fact, the overall trend is pretty good. That is partly a result of continued nagging for assignments, and regular verbal consultations about the student grades. Together, those things become what educational administrators like to call “interventions”, and that in turn can make a student failing into something of an Event.

It is then end of the school day, and I still have three classes to finalize before I go home. The “Grade Verification Rosters”, which are the Official Teacher Sign Off for grades are due tomorrow morning, first thing in the morning. That’s a tight time frame for turnaround for many, many teachers, especially if they are way behind in grading. Viewing the progress of the online report card generation, I can safely say that a significant number of the staff members here are way behind on grading.

One thing that I am really quite happy about. Right now, at eight gradable weeks of class, producing a Ten Week Report Card…my rate of failure among students is still very low. Grades seem to be skewing just a tad on the high side, which seems like the kind of problem that I want to have. Students were pretty into the book, “Lord of the Flies,” and since that was the content that we were analyzing, they pretty much did the assignments. The late policy was a help as well, allowing less organized students multiple opportunities to bring the work in, in their own time.

The inks (for Inktober) before digitally balancing the marker work.

The inks (for Inktober) before digitally balancing the marker work.

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the difference between the finished, digitally balanced marker work, and the original marker image, above. Normally, I don’t fuss so much, but on some level I wanted the piece to look “just so”, a certain way. It was a bigger chore than I wanted it to be to get a smooth black background, and to be honest, I am still in complete awe of people like Bruce Timm, who work in marker all the time.

Since I don’t have a sullen, super evolved duck to do my paperwork…I’m going to get back to it now, True Believers…so that I can be done and go home, at a reasonable hour.


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