As a gift for my outgoing student teacher, I passed out a bunch of pieces of colored squares of paper to my students on a day where Dan was out of the classroom. I then asked the kids then to write him some kind of note that he might take with him in his work. It could be a memory of their work together or some well wishes to the guy. I collected the notes, went out and bought a big, sealable jar from TJ Maxx. We put the notes inside and gave it to Mr. Constable on his last day. I thought it would be a nice memento of his tour of duty with our students.
I’m not so naive as to give this gift without vetting the kids’ individual messages, but there wasn’t a rude or obnoxious card in the bunch, to which I have to give my kids a lot of credit. If I had been given the opportunity to write an anonymous note to a teacher at their age, I might have erred on the side of comedy, but most of these were kind and genuinely filled with affection for Dan. It was nice to see.
The one note displayed at the bottom was my favorite; it’s kind of attempting to be a nice but comes off more truthful than I think the writer intended. It also made me laugh.
For those that are wondering, I haven’t decided how to handle Dan’s leaving the classroom within the confines of the strip. I’ve been enjoying this year’s run of comics immensely and I feel this current run of strips have been some of the ones I’m most proud of in five years of working on this experiment. Part of the reason I’ve been digging my work this year so much is the increased professional interaction I’ve been able to illustrate with another teacher character to bounce ideas off of, and by extension, some of the other teacher characters like Selena. I haven’t yet begun work on comics for the second semester but I’m tentatively mulling the idea of continuing to use the student teacher character, at least until the end of the school year. I have enough material to continue using the experience for comics.
I guess we’ll see!