Comic Strips: School’s Out For Summer


In Canada the end of the school year is at the end of June.  Both students and teachers look forward to a two-month summer break to relax and recharge for the upcoming year.  Interestingly I read a study that shows that teachers energy level for the school year is around 100% but as the school year moves on those energy levels slowly go down steadily until June.  The study continues to state that the teacher’s energy levels return to optimal in September.  It takes two months for people to recover from the previous school year.  No wonder people look forward to the break.  

This month’s comic plays on the idea that not only do students look forward to the break but so do teachers.  Instead of telling you about the comic I’ll simply let you enjoy it on your own. 

I hope you enjoy June’s The Craziest Things: School’s Out For Summer.

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Comic Strips: The Fundamentals


If you ask any of the students I have taught, what is my favourite sport, their response would undoubtedly be baseball. Therefore it makes sense to put in an instalment or two centred one the students and the game.  

I played baseball as a child and as an adult so whenever I can I love to help out with school softball teams (boys and girls). As a supply teacher I cannot be an official coach but that’s fine with me.  I find I have a tremendous amount of enjoy helping the students develop their love for the game.  People asked me, “Don’t you want to be seen as a coach?  Get the recognition?”  I say no, I am not here to get recognition.  I simply want to help the students learn the game and more importantly have fun doing so.  

That’s where this comic came from.  I help wherever I can and when I do it is usually with the fundamentals.  Pitching, throwing or batting. This situation came out of helping some students and I thought of this scene as a “What if” scenario.  And the rest as they say is history.  

I hope you enjoy May’s The Craziest Things: The Fundamentals.

Comic Strips: Social Justice


Definition:  social justice        noun [mass noun] 

justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society: individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice.

In every class we teachers try and instil a sense of social justice in the students with their friends, peers and people outside the school.  It is not an easy task yet I find the effort is necessary to help encourage them to become a responsible member of society.  

I find that in the older grades many of the students take this sense of social justice to heart.  Yet there have been times when they present a situation where I have to either; take a step back and think really hard about what they said or just laugh out loud.  A situation did happen to me that was very similar to this comic.  Instead of spoiling the comic, I will simply let you read it.  

I hope you enjoy April’sThe Craziest Things: Social Justice.

Comic Strips: I Don’t Wanna!!


With the arrival of March comes March Break or as some call it, Spring Break.  Students, parents and teaches are looking forward to the start of March Break on Friday this week.  With this in mind, I allowed my mind to wander to some of the situations I have seen and lived, that I want to bring to life in The Craziest Things.  

March Break is a time many look forward to. Not only students need a break but the teachers as well.  Everyone looks forward to the time away from the busy classroom.  Yet through the years many don’t want to return.  Then I thought of something and that is when this month’s comic sprang to life. 

I hope you enjoy March’s The Craziest Things: I Don’t Wanna!!

Art Inspiration: Staff Cartoons The Journey Together: Steampunk Group 02


The JourneyTogether Title         

 

“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” Drake

 

“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.” Pythagoras

 

Inspiration and Imagination, two things that every artist needs and is as difficult to find as buried treasure. But once you find it the world is you oyster. Many people have told me that I inspire the children and people in general with what I do. Whether creating art, playing baseball or trying to improve my life, people say that I have inspired others to try new things and look inside themselves. I have always found this interesting because I get my inspiration from these very people. Whether it is a child asking me about Mythology or talking to people about a number of different topics, they have all inspired me to create and use my imagination to bring the impossible to life.

A prime example is when I draw the staff at my school as cartoon characters or caricatures. It started one year around Christmas when we have our Christmas concert and staff dinner. Always after the concert, we go out for dinner and we exchange gifts, such as a Chris Kringle. I wanted to liven things up and instead of giving Christmas cards, I decided to create my own with the staff members as a caricature.
This specific year I was at teacher’s college and I spent more time with my follow teacher candidates and anyone else. In many ways they inspired me all yearlong and that inspiration gave birth some new caricatures.   I continued with my favorite style Steampunk. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that came out of literary works such as Jules Vern and H.G. Wells. But Steampunk can be best described by breaking up the word. “Steam” represents the era mostly the early industrial age around the Victorian Era. “Punk” represents rebellion or going against the norm.
The “Punk” or rebellion goes for going against what is expected on the technology level as well as societal norms. On the technology level you see cars that are steamed powered, flying dirigibles or airships the size and look of sailing vessels or steam-powered walking machines.   Yet when it comes to rebellion on the societal side it affects women the most. During this time women were relegated to subordinates to the men, covering up themselves, not taking up employment or independent behaviour. That is why in Steampunk you will see many women showing cleavage or wearing short skirts and showing a lot of leg to show off their stockings.
 Between classes, lesson plans work and other things it took quit a while to create the caricatures. But once my fellow teacher candidates received them they loved the cards and caricatures. In the next few weeks I will be posting a few of the characters from the cards because these people inspired me to create these characters on our ‘Journey Together’ through teacher’s college. Hopefully they can spur imagination and inspire others.

 

Steampunk Group 2

 

This group is a bit different. The only student in the group is me, the rest are the professors and administrator at the teacher’s college location. I went to teacher’s college that was centred on Catholic education. We were still part of the university but we were off site at the Catholic Board’s Head office to can help us with one very important aspect of catholic education, community. We were a small tight-knit group that worked on getting our Bachelors of Education and teaching certification, but we had one thing more that bind us together, our faith. This principle was established early on by the professors. They helped to fuse our small group into a community. I know that without their assistance, many others think the same way; I would not have succeeded without their guidance and mentorship.   The Journey Together title applies to them greatly because they were there to lead us through all the good and bad times and then ended up as teachers with many happy memories.

I gave them their individual caricatures’ and a group image at the end of the school year. It has all of them and myself as The Captain (of course) and I wrote a thank you poem on the back for all the things they had helped me to achieve. They all loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it. I hope you enjoy the second steampunk caricature group from “The Journey Together.

Steampunk Group 02 - Professors

Steampunk Group 02 – Professors

Friday Two Cents: Teachers Should Get Babysitting Rates


twoCentsOldNew

I am late posting my Friday Two Cents for three reasons.
  1. I have been really busy with lesson planning.
  2. Trying to spent time with my nieces.
  3. A colleague shared something with me and  I simply had to ignore my original idea and share my thoughts on this one.
 The last reason centres on a newspaper poll for the Toronto Sun where it asks:
Ontario Teachers are:
  • Paid what they’re worth
  • Paid too much
  • Paid too little
At last count 56% said that teachers are Paid too Much.

 

When I read this Poll, I saw the same media bashing of teachers I have seen for years. Being an ECE I know a thing or two about not being paid enough for the work I do. We are entrusted with the care and education of the children and yet we are constantly attacked and undervalued. When I was part of a contract negotiation, I even had a parent tell me once, to my face, that we do not deserve a cost of living increase for what we do. This coming from a fellow union member, unbelievable.

Many say that teachers are doing nothing but babysitting the children and should get paid accordingly. Well let’s do the math. The average income of teachers is about $55,500 a year (from salary.com – http://www1.salary.com/CA/Ontario/Public-School-Teacher-salary.html).  The average babysitting rate is about $10 an hour / child (http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Babysitter/Hourly_Rate). Lets get the hourly rate of the teachers and see how overpaid they really are.  

Let us begin by dividing the yearly salary by the number of workdays they work in a school year 185 (PA days are not included because they are not with the children.)

$55,500 / 185 = $300 per day

 Now let us divide the amount by the number of children in a classroom. From kindergarten to grade 3 the average class size is 20 and in grades 4 – 6 it’s around 30, so we spit the difference and say 25 children per classroom.

So that’s $300 / 25 children = $12 per child per day

 Hold on, now we have to divide that number by the number of hours they work. Okay their school day is from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm that’s 6.5 hours. Subtract the hour lunch that gives you 5.5 hours with the children.

Therefore that’s $12 / 5.5 hours = $2.18 per hour per child.

 Hold one, are you telling me that teachers are getting paid $2.18/ hr. per child to teach them Math, Language (reading & writing), Science, Social Studies, Health, Physical Education and Art?  Baby-sitters are getting $10/hr. per child to just look after them.  Hmm, maybe they should pay teachers babysitting rates.

Friday Two Cents: I Finally Did It


 twoCentsOldNew

 

It was a long time coming. There were some times I came close to doing it, but something always got in the way. Year after year there I was, watching and wishing I could do it and be apart of the experience, but always falling short. There were some instances where I tried negotiating to be part of it but I always fell short. But this year, YES, I finally did it and I am so excited that I did. I finally played on the teachers’ team in the staff versus the children floor hockey game.

 

Every year at the school the grade 4 and 5 children participate in a floor hockey house league. Every year the team that wins the tournament plays the teachers in a no holds barred floor hockey game, for bragging rights. The teachers have a lot of fun in the game and just about everyone participates. But the children playing the teachers see this as an opportunity to get back at the teachers for all that homework and assignments they have been given. No honestly, I have seen the previous years games and every team that plays the teachers, really try to beat the teachers.

Every year I watch the game or hear about it in the aftermath and I am full of longing to play. Year after year for eight years I have longed for that chance, but it was never because the teachers would not let me play. I had always had to work and look after the kindergartens during the lunch period, which is when the game is played. For eight years I have tried to negotiate so I can play, but it never worked out.

Yet the ninth year I was free of any duties or responsibilities so my chance had come and it was electric. Let me try to paint you a picture of the experience.

The children had just finished their lunch, as did the teachers. The gym teacher sold tickets for other children to watch, with the money going to a local charity. The children’s team was assembling in the gym ramping up the crowd. The teachers slowly make their way into the gym to the delight of the screaming crowd. The first three teachers walk in with screams and chats of their names.

Outside the gym a few children ask me, “Are you going to play?” I say yes and they run back into the gym and tell the crowd and the team. I hear them talking about the fact that I am playing and I look inside and I see a few yell out to me the same question. I respond with a nod of my head and a smile comes over their faces. More teachers arrive and I go in and I hear the crowd chant, “MR. PAUL! MR. PAUL!” I can tell you with no shame that I was a little embarrassed and overwhelmed by the attention. I grab a stick and play with it and talk a little smack to the children on the team about how they are going down and if you want to drop the gloves right now and they do the same to me. We have a little fun, talking smack to each other, but all in good fun.

The game starts but I am on the second line and I watch the children playing with such intensity as in previous years. The teachers are playing in response to the children and it is a very entertaining first shift. The whistle blows and the second shift comes on. Here I go, My moment has come and I hear the crowd yell in delight and in the mix of the noise I hear “GO! MR. PAUL!” Man what a rush of emotions came over me at that moment. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I took my position at centre and looked at the opposing team player and smiled.

The puck is dropped and I win the faceoff. I rush forward taking a position in front of the net waiting for and opportunity. I rush after their centre-man and make sure he can’t get a scoring chance or try to strip the puck from him. The shift is a heart pounding 2 minutes long but exhilarating. The whistle blows for the next shift and I go off. I didn’t score but man was I pumped.

The next shift they play as hard as the rest but the teachers’ score! Its 1 – 0 but the intensity does not diminish on either side. A few seconds later another teacher scores making it 2 – 0. High-5s are being shared by the teachers while the crowd yells its approval.

The next shift goes on with both sides throwing themselves at the puck. But no goals are scored. Then my turn comes again and I take my place at centre again. I win the faceoff and move forward. My left-winger plays hard to get the puck and then passes it into the corner. I rush in and control of the puck. I move towards the net and wrist it towards the goalie and I gets past him! GOAL!! The crowd tells and I raise my arms in triumph. I share High-5s with my teammates and move to the centre to take the faceoff. I win it again and we work the puck around with the other team really pressing against us. I find myself in front of the net again when the defenseman shots the puck up. The other team stops the puck but I steal it from them and move to the net. I shoot! I score! Two goals!! More High-5s. The whistle blows and the teachers are up 4 – 0.

I go off to rest up and see the great action continuing in the game. Neither team is letting up. The children are really trying to score, as are the teachers, but the students’ goalie is in tough and the teachers’ goalie is not letting anything through.

My shift comes up and it is the last shift of the game. I am at centre again but the principal comes up and takes my stick for the faceoff. After she came back to me and gives me the stick to finish the shift. I cover the other centre-man and in the process I make my way to their net again. Twice I try to get the hat trick, but both times I am denied by their goalie. The final whistle blows and that’s the game! The teachers win 4 – 0 and we all congratulate each other on a game well-played. But what was amazing was that the children watching came up to us and starting High-5ing us on a great game.

Both teams line up to shake hands and you can see in the eyes and faces of the kids’ team that they were a little upset that they lost. We all took it in stride because it was a well-played game and everyone, student and teacher should be proud of their efforts.

It took me nine years to finally play in that game and I had just done so and scored two goals! That was icing on the cake. The other teachers were all excited and happy about the game but I can tell you, I was so pumped that I felt like I had just won the Olympic gold medal game. It was something I wanted to experience for a very long time and I was not sure if it would live up to the hip that I gave it. I can tell you without any doubt. It was better.

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