Happy end of the semester to all those student-types who turn in their final papers, show up for exams and then go home to marathon tv watch while your instructors agonize over your final grade. For the rest of us, I drew this motivational “congratulations” card, which is up on my webstore (along with lots of other things you can buy).
Here’s the illustration:
Here’s the card:
Happy being-done-with-grading! May no students email you to contest their grades.
Teaching this semester has gotten off to a slightly rocky but also slightly hilarious start. These sketchbook doodles come to you via my attempts to work through the horrors I am inflicting on young-ish minds.
Any resemblance to actual classroom events and students, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and in any case distorted by my own burning sense of mortification (i’m pretty sure it wasn’t really THAT bad).
Fun with teaching lesson 1: Students say they read the syllabus. Students did not read the syllabus.
Fun with teaching lesson 2: If you say penis once in class, you will not be able to stop saying penis in class. Everything else will fall apart.
Fun with teaching lesson 3: Your tech will always fail you.
Bonus broke teacher joke: “Teachers deserve a lot of credit. Of course, if we paid them more, they wouldn’t need it.”
p.s. As I start teaching this year and face my own frustrations around budget cuts and lack of resources and support (much less my own classroom foibles), I am thinking of Philadelphia public schools facing absurd cuts, and children all over going back this fall to gutted school systems. So many students show up to our college classrooms woefully unprepared, or never get a chance to be there at all. Education must be a priority. Get involved!
Sketch of myself and instructor Lynn Huang, as busted out by my awesomely talented student Jonathan in the last five minutes of class.
Our awesome class zine, featuring work from 9 super-gifted (though super-goofy) middle and high school students who chose to spend 7 hours a day for 3 weeks in a class room with 1 grad student and 1 teaching assistant who taught them big words like “phenomenology” and forced them to draw comics.
ohh CTY. oh.
also, i listed the “Mint” mini-comic on Etsy, if y’all want one.
Besides the fact that one of my students sung “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the camp talent show and that we had a Medieval Carnival at which the GNOV instructor, Lynn, was carted away for having the Plague, we’ve got one week to go. One college level paper on Maus down, one zine project down, halfway through the second paper and just started the final graphic project: a twenty to thirty panel comic with a narrative structure and a well-developed central character, which demonstrates various techniques or principles from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. Not for the weak of heart. Also I discovered that the Lafayette library lets CTY staff check stuff out (well, actually got my lazy ass around to going), so I got Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo and also the movie based on the comics, as well as David Boring by Daniel Clowes, Will Eisner’s Contract With God trilogy, and Logicomix by some dudes with Greek names. Although I am clearly more interested in Bertrand Russell’s lurid personal life than set theory, I have become a little obsessed with Ludwig Wittgenstein, although mostly because of Derek Jarman. Hey how about some picshurs, eh?
Some more mini-comics from my students:
The first two pages of “Eclipse” in which my student Alex imagines that I sneak her out of camp to go see the new Twilight movie. Which I think is fairly reasonable:
First two pages of another mini-comic I did:
“Selling” zines at the Carnival. [I’m not supposed to post pictures of students which is why there are no faces.]
Another zine-selling sign that hilariously has planet Earth saying “Hi, buy me!” which I think is actually a reference to buying zines, not actually buying the planet:
One of my students selling caricatures:
Almost time to pass out…today I wrote like three letters which I am putting in the mail with mini-zines. I have been a bad pen pal but I am trying to be better.
Hey friends, camp has started to pick up the pace and the long hours and craziness is starting to fall into a pattern that involves a lot of fun and time is actually moving.
I wish I could post pictures of the kids and hilarious things like my students dancing to Gramaphonedzie during study hall, but it’s against camp policy.
So, here are the first mini-comic zines that I have copied:
“Mint” is mine, “Aaron the Merboy” is by my student Alex, and “The Adventures of Weird Hair Man” is by my student Loren. There are 7 more that I don’t have copies of yet, but they are swell.
A page of “Aaron.”
A page of “Mint.”
A page of “Weird Hair Man.”
Alex’s awesome comic about SB 1070. Notice that the frame of the comic is shaped like the state in question. Today we looked at political cartoons and this is definitely one of the most politically conscientious pieces that came out of it.
One of my favorite comics, by Jonathan, about how the class is exhausting and hard and he can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.
A toon by my student Malik in which the Earth evaluates our behavior. A little too leniently in my opinion, but super cute. My favorite part is, “I gave you a…An E!!! For how much you epically fail at keeping me clean.”
And here’s part of the chalkboard from a lesson I taught using Lynda Barry’s “Two Questions” and Joel Priddy’s “Onion Jack.”
This is shaping up to be a super-rewarding experience, even though I miss D.C. and Baltimore and my boo and my homiez. So far we’ve read Maus, Persepolis, American Born Chinese, and Understanding Comics, written one critical paper and finished several short comics assignments. Tomorrow we’re starting paper number two, and probably starting to read Mom’s Cancer.
I’ll be home soon…
I don’t usually write personal stuff in this blog, but I think I want to right now.
I read in this zine called subversive submissive, which I picked up at the Baltimore Rad Bookfair Zine Bazaar, about the psychological concept of “overwhelm” from Peter Breggin’s book Toxic Psychiatry. The zine is about BDSM but the section on self-injury and mental health was the most interesting for me. The zine’s author described overwhelm for her as “an intense anxiety marked by racing thoughts, uncontrollable crying, and an inability to speak coherently; [or] an intense depression in which [she freezes] up and become unable to move or speak at all, sometimes even unable to form complete thoughts.” This really is resonating with me right now, but I haven’t been able to find much online since the book isn’t really on google books. I always make fun of Brosef for diagnosing himself off the internet, but I think if I’m anything it’s fucking OVERWHELMED. Like the zine’s author, I used to cut myself, and “I learned that the pain could help me cope with both anxiety and depression…could provide a point of focus when my thoughts were racing or wake me up when I was unable to feel anything” (16). I think that a lot of anti-cutting stuff is total bullshit, and I think that people are so opposed to self-injury because it freaks them out, not out of a desire to address or distinguish between the nuanced reasons why individuals self-injure. But I digress. I don’t have any desire to cut myself anymore, and I’ve been trying to redirect that need for a focus point into activities like running, but it isn’t really working. I feel scattered. I need something to focus on. I keep forgetting to breathe.
❤ j bee.