Friday Two Cents: Comic Strips: Being Prepared


Being a supply teacher and an artist, I sometimes have the opportunity to combine my passions.  Creating my comic strip entitled The Craziest Things is one of them.  The genesis of this comic strip came from the situations I have observed from the students.  I thought it would be great to create a comic strip based on those situations and thus The Craziest Things was born.  

This is my tenth year creating my comic strip and in that time I use many different themes to inspire me in creating it. Some include the differences in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Other times I use situations that inspire me from the real world and I then simply create a scene.  Yet the majority of my inspiration comes from real life situations that I experience with the students.  

This month centres on the return to school after the summer break. Yes that amazing time when you have to go back to the salt mines, I mean classroom and begin a fresh new year of learning and discovery.  

However with the start of the school year comes the realization that you need to resupply and get ready for any contingency.  As a supply teacher I have seen many different things that even to this day surprise me. Therefore I thought of a funny way to express a rising trend in the school system.  Instead of telling you about it I’ll let you read the comic for yourself.  

I hope you enjoy September’s The Craziest Things: Being Prepared.

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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.

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.

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