I’ll Have A Stake, Well Done…
This was drawn late on Tuesday night, in the aftermath of a series of stupid conversations.
Let me get out of the way a very important point. The actual business of CLASS is excellent. My students seem to care a whole lot about their grades right now, with a report card on the way. They are pretty interested in “Catcher in the Rye” as well, a book that I have always felt is very, very over rated. So the day went fantastically until I needed to deal with ADULTS.
At the end of the day, we had an unplanned staff meeting. That meeting was where the drama factor, and bloodsucking vampires, were introduced to my day.
The principal, the High Evolutionary of the Edu-Mountain, spoke to the staff for an hour. In that time, she made it pretty clear that there would be Visitors from the District on our campus, Looking Around In Depth. A good deal of the speech dealt with “accountability” for teachers, with respect to failing students. She said, more than once, that teachers would be asked to prove what they had done, in order to prevent students from failing their courses. It was outlined that we should be doing the following:
- Working hard on providing students opportunities to earn credit in class
- Reteaching things that weren’t understood.
- Contacting parents about failing grades.
- Having conferences with parents of students that might be failing.
- Maintaining serious academic rigor.
- Tracking attendance, and referring students with poor attendance for intervention.
- Actually performing the intervention.
I’m not saying that those things aren’t part of the job…they are. That’s a very real thing. What I was pretty @#$%ing cheesed off about was the premise that we HADN’T been doing these things at all. The idea that we were not doing any of these things, and would have to deal with a “gotcha!” style of document checking, to confirm that we did in fact, do these things.
This migrated into a set of expanded responsibilities…including somehow handling the students’ enrollment packets for next year. Apparently, the packets were a problem in some way, and the way to solve this problem was to have us, the teachers, deal with it. That, in turn, became a long criticism of how the Homeroom/Advisory classes are run, with the impression that we, the teachers, were somehow not doing anything at all with the time.
I work HARD from the moment that I set foot on campus. I show up early, and open my classroom to students that need extra help…in any class. For no extra pay. I host a school club during lunch, and stay after school, every day now, for at least an hour, giving extra help in Geometry…because so many of my students are failing that subject. Non of those things get pay, either. I have a rolling late policy, allowing students to save themselves, and do grade consults every four weeks.
The suggestion that I hadn’t been doing those things, or the extra, “no pay” things…was actually really offensive. I left pretty angry.
At that point, I got into my car and made the mistake of calling my mother, to see how things were going on that front. That was inherently a Bad Decision.
The conversation went off the rails pretty immediately. My mother launched into one of her long sets of “explanations,” which are pretty much justification for the less than great decisions she regularly makes, often at the expense of others. As usual, she was unwilling to take advice or assistance on anything, and definitely unable to take anything like criticism, constructive or otherwise. All of my worst qualities, it seems, come from my mother. I resolved, at the end of the brief talk where I did not in fact rise to her bait, that I was pretty much DONE dealing with the Evil Queen.
Apparently this morning, she had a very similar conversation with my sister, who I have previously mentioned seems to be able to harness and redirect my mother’s Dark Energy and Chaos. Not so much at this point, because I know of the “conversation” through a series of texts which stated that even my sister was “done.” There was even an e-mail from my mother, pretty much exiling the two of us, for an indefinite but probably “forever based” quantity of time.
The art, then, is a bout these two things at once. At first, I thought about just drawing the High Evolutionary ranting, and then perhaps a panel with Cap and a pony seeming sullen about it. I just couldn’t find the proper context, because it just didn’t seem to exactly fit. Then, late at night, I did three separate basic sketches, on one sheet of paper, that became the strip above.
See…the problem isn’t the High Evolutionary, or the principal, or even my mother. The problem is one of vampires, in at least a metaphorical sense.
Vampires survive by sucking the blood out of things. They literally drain the life and energy out of a person, until that person is either dead, or another vampire, and then move on to feed off of someone else. That metaphor is key here…because in both cases, the problem was one of metaphorical vampirism. Both situations involve an agent, yes, that delivers subordinate bloodsuckers, in order to gain the energy, or paperwork, or emotional support that keeps them alive.
Somewhere along the line, I chose to not feed the minor vampires, and feed the main beast. Seriously…I am not breaking my back to provide whatever random @#$ documents that I may or may not be asked for, just to cover someone else’s mismanagement. I’m not catering to that entire system of nouveau bureaucracy that was literally invented YESTERDAY, in a hazy, ranty conversation. Just the same…both my sister and I are done dealing with out mother, who thrives off of the petty conflicts that she sows. Without interaction with her family, her life becomes rather small and horrible indeed. That’s actually a sad thing, because I speak to her rarely as it is, and my sister, like me, is thousands of miles away from her.
So, you get the metaphor here. The Big Bad Guys, like the High Evolutionary and the Evil Queen get to go about their business, and do their things. Fine, fine, fine. Cap, however, is no longer standing for random vampires being send out to hassle her…she has put a stop to that @#$% with a vintage wooden stake.
It does pay to mention that Alien Americans are notoriously bad at dealing with vampires, and have inherent weaknesses with regard to them. This is actually very well established in comics lore, including Superman himself, the original Alien American. This probably has something to do with Cap’s current “zero tolerance” policy toward vampire attacks, and previous uneasy relations (at best) with vampires in this strip.
What people who don’t draw their own webcomic do in order to work out this kind of stuff, I have no idea.