Today, ostensibly, was an easy day for me.
I had to give my In Class Bar Examination, which students were motivated about. They are much more motivated about Mock Trial, but you don’t get to Point B without leaving from Point A, and they get that. The Bar went pretty much as expected, and will be graded and sorted during my morning tomorrow, wher eI will be proctoring the PSAT.
Today, however, had the carryover of the “unexpected change of plans” issues that yesterday had. A few class “summons” for students during my period, a few phone calls to my room for a similar purpose…a “training” where we were “shown” how to use the new point and click online gradebook, followed by another meeting, which informed us of the Earthquake drill on Thursday. Again…these are just large numbers of Things that are getting in the way of the lesson plan…strange, toothy, symbiotic monsters like the creature in panel one, just annoying one on the way to their goal.
It bugs me mostly because this is a week that I made a real attempt at an “engaging, student centered set of classroom activities.” Not that I don’t usually, but in this case…the whole thing falls apart if time can’t be spent in a way that matters, and there is a huge amount of in class, hands on prep time by both the students, and by me. The more interruptions, the longer it takes, and the longer it takes…the less interesting it winds up being. Student engagement, like any other kind of enthusiasm, can only last for so long.
That’s why the enemy in panel one isn’t all that tough…just tough enough to be annoying. Symbiotes are pretty durable, and gross, for sure…basically having low rent “spider powers” and being made out of goop…but they really aren’t in the “weight class” of a Silver Age Super Hero like Cap. Sure…you have to take the time to Deal With Them, which is by definition a Chore. It might take up a whole filler issue of your book, but soon enough, the plot will be back on to things that actually matter and make sense. It’s a pretty good analogy.
Especially because ANYONE can get that alien goo on them, and be taken over by a Symbiote. And sure…they are called “Symbiotes” but they are really Parasites, True Believers. Heck, there are several staff members at the Edu-Mountain that I LIKE, who suddenly seemed possessed of the need to impede my class activities, pretty much because someone else was giving them some unusual/additional/useless task to do. Like those remoras that stick to the sides of sharks…just absorbing the benefit of the Big Fish.
The key here, Gentle Reader, is this. With all of this other stuff going on, when does the class, the teaching, and the learning happen? Additionally…if our classrooms interrupt activities of importance with alarming regularity, aren’t we training a kind of attention deficit into our young students, as a matter of course? Both of those points take some serious consideration.
Not that the protagonist doesn’t seem angry…she’s just exasperated. Pretty much the way things go…you start a lesson, it gets interrupted once, twice, a third time…and you’re just exasperated. You know you have the chore of refocusing the group EACH time…and each time, its not tougher…you just understand why you get interrupted by other adults that much less.
And like the Symbiotes in Marvel Puzzle Quest…there’s another wave ready to come. Sure…you’ll deal with them, but it’s repetitive, and you have only so many hit points.