One Thing Ends, Another Begins

J. M. DeSantis Blog Post

The school year has only just ended, and with that the summer begins. Yet, as I take leave of my teaching duties for two months, my life is only about to get busier. Indeed, this summer may prove to be one of the most tiring and exciting yet. Honestly, if it weren’t for how busy I’m going to be and all of the things that are coming up (fairly soon), I would have reserved this week’s blog post for my reflections on my second year of teaching. Instead, I’m going to have to double up on this blog post.

On the teaching end, my second year was considerably easier than my first, but it had its challenges. I spent the first half of the year rewriting and reworking all of my lesson plans, and planning for some new art projects as well. I got organised, such as I hadn’t had time to be last year, and I honestly felt all of the hard work was going to pay off. Then we were thrown a curve ball: PARCC testing.

For what it’s worth, the district I am working in is great. Honestly. I’m not just saying that because someone from the district might, possibly, read this post. They worked tirelessly to administer the PARCC test in a way that would be least disruptive to classes. Even so, half the classes I teach are in computer labs (my Graphic Design classes), and with only so many computers in the building, my classes were relocated often. It was hard to be without computers for a total of five weeks. There was a lot of time lost, but I don’t blame that on my district or administrators, in the least.

That said, despite being more comfortable and confident in the job I was doing this year and being more organised, it was a bit of a mixed year. The first half was great and I felt on top of everything. The second half, once the PARCC began, was touch-and-go, day-to-day, even minute-to-minute. By the end of the year, I think everyone was a little burnt out (even the students–more so than usual), and I think we were all looking forward to this summer (which begins for me today). Still, I count this year as another success. I certainly learned the importance (and necessity) of being able to adapt in the public school system. Though I’m hoping next year I will be better prepared come PARCC Testing and even more on top of things. Like anything else, it seems you get better at teaching the more you do it.

As for the creative side of things, the next month or so is going to be the busiest I can remember–perhaps ever. First and foremost, in a mere two-and-a-half weeks, issue one of Chadhiyana: In the Company of Shadows is Chadhiyana: In the Company of Shadows issue 1 coverscheduled to release through Comixology, the Rosarium Publishing website (Chadhiyana’s publisher) and any other digital comics sellers they distribute through. Though the comic was published as a web-comic for over a year previously, this will be the first time a book of mine (all mine) will be published, by a publisher and sold to the public. It is an incredibly exciting time for me, and yet, while I’m getting ready for the release, I still have to keep my head where I am as I prepare issue two for my publisher, begin the art for issue three (I’ve taken a bit of a break from drawing Chadhiyana pages–but its back into the fray again) and finish the script for Book II of the graphic novel (all outlined in detail).

Also, by way of a mini-book tour, though I did not plan it this way, I am attending three conventions, in three different states, back-to-back-to-back. The “tour” kicks off with New Jersey’s Garden State Comic Con July 25th and 26th. Then it’s up to Boston for the Boston Comic Con the following weekend (July 31st, August 1st and 2nd) and back out to Long Island for Inbeon Con on August 8th.

To add to all of this, there have been a number of other projects I’ve been hinting at for a while (which are in various stages of development–and with Chadhiyana as my focus are taking time to complete). It’s very possible that two or three of them (so far as I can see) will be coming to completion within the coming months.

So there it is. My second year of teaching has ended, yet it’s likely I’ll be working even harder on my “summer vacation”. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I really enjoy teaching and I love creating–it’s the thing that makes me most feel alive. So wish me luck, and look for a lot of new things coming from me in the coming months, including Chadhiyana: In the Company of Shadows in individual issues. I told you it was going to be a big year for me.


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