The Icarus Challenge!

Cap knows that this is the last mission of Spring Break.

Obviously, that spaceship flew too close to that star, and is having problems. Hence the title of today’s post.

It is a truly odd emotional state that drove the art for today, and for the post. I’m always a little odd about returning to school from Spring Break…it is literally “just enough” time off. You get reasonably rejuvenated, but the truth is, there’s a long push until the end of school. Ten weeks, and in those ten weeks, students often “wake up” too late, and wind up in situations that are hard to fix. Its the kind of thing that you try and work with, and accept that not every student is going to meet you in the middle, as it were. That stuff is the stuff that I’m very used to.

The departure here is more about two things. The first changed variable is in the policies of our principal. He’s not a Bad Guy, per se. I need to be clear about that. He is in way over his head, and doesn’t really plan in advance, or think things through. Those aren’t the best policies in a leader of any kind. The thing is…he communicates almost entirely in slogans and buzzwords, and appears to be extolling the virtues of a kind of grade inflation. That’s pretty tough to listen to, especially when some teachers like myself go out of our way to provide students with additional opportunities to succeed. He talks a lot about being involved, and visiting classrooms, but is like a ghost on campus.

Not that I seriously need administrators to just “pop in” to class. I don’t. It’s just that…I have trouble with someone who says one thing, and does entirely different things.

With all of that said…it’s a minor issue. The kind of thing that comes from more of a frustration about how things could be run better, if someone just took some advice once in a while. It’s discouraging, but the kind of thing that you can leave at the office.

The second thing is really related to my homeroom. Those students have been “looping” with me as a homeroom class for three years. The point of homeroom is mostly attendance driven, although I am supposed to give advice and assistance for the students in their paths to graduation and otherwise. I had about two thirds of them in my English class as sophomores as well, so I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them pretty well, and in a meaningful fashion. I’ve never “looped” with any students before, in fact…usually, I teach them for a year, and then they move on.

With my homeroom consisting of seniors this year, we are entering the last ten weeks, the last fifty days of their time in high school. As a result, everything is now in terms of “lasts.” This was just their last Spring Break. Prom is two weeks from now. Graduation is really two months away. They all know that the clock is counting down, and that their lives are changing soon.

For the first time, this is actually a thing that I notice.

I’ve seen most of these students first thing in the morning for three years. I’ve given them advice about school, about life, and joked around with them in the way that teachers can. I’m genuinely fond of them. In the past few weeks, I’ve been aware (sooner than them) of the finite state of affairs attached to our small homeroom, and made more time to talk to the students, to interact and be involved. Mostly because in about fifty days, we will all move onward.

I can’t say that I’m not oddly upset about it…hence the quote in Panel One. It’s part of the process of education and growing up, of course. It’s just that I’ve never actually had to deal with this kind of ongoing student teacher relationship, for as long. Many of my homeroom students look at me as sort of an additional parent, and honestly, I’ve become really fond of them in exchange. I’m proud of their achievements, and I’m there for them when they have troubles. I show up for their events.

So…in addition to being a bit uneasy about going back to school on the usual level, I also have this new business. I think the secret is to enjoy the moments that I’m in. I’m going to go with that.

Artistically, it was really fun to do the line work for a Kirby style alien spacecraft about to crash into the Sun. Or a more generic star, sure. When I was drawing it, I was imagining just some random star, and some kind of cosmic storm. Cap and Pony Torch have an interesting reversal of some of my feelings here. Cap seems a bit bummed about leaving a group of people that don’t like her that much (the Fantastic Four). I’m a bit bummed about going back to a group of people that don’t like me too much (the principal and the staff at the Edu-Mountain).

I really enjoyed drawing Cap in sort of FF “hand me downs.” That’s the jacket from Ultimate Fantastic Four (drawn by Greg Land) which was cancelled years ago, and Franklin Richards’ t-shirt. Pony Torch is always fun to draw.

I might churn out a last Fantastic Four piece, if only because I’m going to be drawing today, which is still Spring Break. Just so everyone knows.

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