What Assassination Classroom Taught Me About Teaching

What Assassination Classroom Taught Me About Teaching

It's weird how you can get inspiration in life from the strangest places.

Recentl, I decided to make a career change and go from working as a full-time Biologist and Chemist to teaching High School students. I made this change for a variety of reasons, chief of which that I have a passion for science and math that I've always wanted to share with others. So, a few years ago a little manga named Assassination Classroom premiered. I instantly fell in love with it. The premise is strange even by anime or manga standards. An alien monster that looks similar to a squid appears on the Earth and proceeds to blow up a portion of the moon. He threatens to destroy the entire Earth if he is not assassinated within the next year. The strange part is that he requests that he be allowed to teach a class of disenfranchised Jr. High students that have been mostly forgotten about. The class is tasked with not only learning their typical coursework, but also finding a way to take out their alien teacher. This is where things get strange. Koro Sensei treats his students with respect and genuinely wants them to learn. In a weird way he teaches not only his students but also fellow educators of the "E class" that these kids have potential and should be encouraged.

If only I could grade tests this efficiently...

The fun that comes with this anime is the different ways that Koro Sensei motivates and teaches his students. They all have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Nagisa is our main student and often the story is colored from his perception. One of the early struggles that Nagisa faces is believing in himself. E class is often chastised and viewed as a class of irredeemable students. In the first episode of the anime, Nagisa is encouraged to "take one for the team" and destroy their teacher by basically being a decoy for a grenade. Koro Sensei senses the plot and protects Nagisa from harm. Nagisa at this point has no self-worth and is willing to put himself in harm's way to help his fellow classmates. He becomes admired by everyone in that class for his heroic act. This starts Nagisa down a path of self-realization and discovery. Nagisa is a prototypical teen with self-worth issues. He has no encouragement due to a rough home life and lack of interest from the school and teachers in the past. Koro Sensei inspires him to work harder and for greater things.

Nagisa and Koro Sensei are boys.

Koro sensei quickly learns Nagiasa and his classmates have many different personalities and therefore different learning styles. This prepared me to gauge my students and their learning styles and reach them in different ways. Koro Sensei reaches a boy named Tomohito who is a baseball enthusiast, by encouraging him to uses his own pitching style instead of the one used by his idol. this teaches the boy to gauge his own talents and use them accordingly. This is a valuable lesson that I try to convey to my classes. Everyone is good at something and if you play to your talents you can achieve your goals in academics and in life.

Teamwork, failed teamwork, but teamwork all the same.

The students of E class have very little in common barring their goal of destroying their teacher and gaining the prize money. Over the course of the series, they learn to use their individual skills to work together and achieve their goal. For midterms and finals especially the class bands together to help each other study. They play off of each other to help bring their grades as a class up. Everything they do helps them to master team work and get one step closer to their ultimate prize. When teaching a diverse group of students, encouraging teamwork by assigning group activities is key. It allows them to gain insight into the way their peers think, as different opinions foster more dynamic learning. Students also begin to learn that their peers may tackle problems in ways that they never thought of before.

One day my Class will break out into a spontaneous Anime Intro Dance Number.

Koro Sensei gains the respect of his students because he cares about them. In another early episode Karma, a tough student with a troubled past, attempts to throw himself off of a cliff to show that Koro Sensei doesn't care about him. Karma has had a checked past with teachers and none of them have ever believed in him in the past, so he assumes his new teacher will be cut from the same cloth. However, Koro Sensei happens to prove him wrong, in turn gaining respect from Karma and the rest of the class. You can see that he truly respects and cares about his class. This is another one of the most important things you must do as a teacher. Gone are the days of being an authoritarian who commands respect through tough rules and techniques. You must respect your students for them to give you the same respect in turn. Also if you can connect with them and show that you care, they will be more willing and apt to produce for you and in turn themselves. You can't grow a tree without nurturing and caring for it. In the same sense, students must be fostered and cared for as well. Koro Sensei recognizes this and makes his students want to better themselves. They do this initially to appease him, but eventually realize that doing so makes them feel good as well. These are just a few tips and tricks this wonderful anime has helped me learn. If you're interested check it out streaming now on Funimation. Also the intro theme is catchy as hell!

Cover Image Credit: CMG Planet

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Be The One Who Cares More

Today, more than ever, our world needs love, passion, and people who give a shit about others.

I understand how you feel.

You love harder, you give your all, and hurt more deeply than most. We’ve all been there before, but the unfortunate truth about relationships is that there is always going to be someone who cares more. If there wasn’t, no one would get proposed to or be surprised by spontaneous acts of kindness.

Being the person who always cares more isn’t fun; it’s just plain exhausting. Many people believe that the person who cares more always loses—in all honesty, that is bullshit. The person who cares more wins in so many ways and gains more than the person who decided not to match the effort that you were selflessly offering to them.

The person who cares less misses out on much more than you. They give up the opportunity to build strong relationships, they miss out on the feeling of burning passion, and they don’t get to experience the full spectrum of emotions our lives are meant to be filled with.

Who wants a significant other who doesn’t seem to care for them, and why does our society believe that being detached is in the same category as “winning?" Don’t be heartless, don’t be careless with others hearts, and don’t let your past make you cold.

Be the person who cares more. Be the person who answers calls, messages, and tells the people around them how important they are to you every moment that you can. Be the person who is there for their family, friends, and significant others when they need you, and take pride in being the individual they can depend on. Be the person who leaves people better than they found them.

I promise you, you will never look back on your life and regret loving the people around you with all your heart—but you will regret caring less. You will regret having someone who you can fully rely on, and not returning all they gave to you. If you are the person who cares less, don’t waste that person’s time.

No one deserves that unfulfilling feeling of someone half-loving you—and quite frankly, no one wants that either.

Our world does not need more people who don’t care. Today, more than ever, our world needs love, passion, and people who give a shit about others. It’s infinitely more desirable to be the dancer on the stage forgetting every single move than being the person in the curtains too frightened to try. Being the one who cares more may lead to disappointment, but that feeling justifies that you tried.

Maybe the first time being the one who cared more failed you, but you get back up, dust yourself off, and learn and grow from every experience. Despair is showing you that you lived, and you tried, and you learned. Without all of our emotions we are just dead weight. We are alive, but we aren’t living.

Cover Image Credit: Dakota Corbin via Unsplash

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9 Ways To Be Productive Over Spring Break, Because Not Everyone Will Spend It On A Beach In Mexico

Don't let the week go to waste.

Not everyone can go on a tropical vacation or getaway with friends over break. But the drawback of spending the week at home is how it can get old very fast. With parents and siblings at work or school, friends still in school or on vacation, and endless amounts of time to do nothing, you can get bored faster than you'd expect after the stressful week of midterms. Being productive is a great way to combat the boredom AND help with stress later on! Here are nine ideas to get you started:

1. Start applying for summer jobs and internships

All of those internship apps you’ve been looking at for months are beginning to close, and employers have already started looking for summer help. Get on it early so you don’t have to worry later on!

2. Declutter your room

Not living at home anymore means your stuff gets strewn across two places. Clear out old papers, things from high school, broken objects, old electronics. Take stock of what you’re left with - if it’s not at school with you, how important is it? Determine that for yourself and suddenly your room will be much cleaner and you’ll be less stressed when you move out for good.

3.And your social media, phone, and computer

We all have a bad habit of getting distracted and saving things in weird places, keeping random apps on our phones and leaving our middle school pictures up on Facebook. It may seem tedious, but in the end, having a clear desktop and no more blackmail easily available online is an incredible feeling.

4. Catch up on reading

Be it for school or for pleasure! If you’ve fallen behind in a class, it may be smart to consider bringing your textbook home to get ahead. And as tempting as it is to binge Netflix, reading even a novel or two can help keep you from the shock of assignments when you get back.

5. Clean out old clothes

This goes hand in hand with de-cluttering. Clearing out pieces you didn’t wear over winter or pieces you no longer want from your spring closet is a great way to make it easier to travel back to school. Plus, you can donate the clothes that are still in good condition!

6. Plan your calendar for the rest of the semester

You in the future who has three exams and two projects due in one day will appreciate this effort!

7. Try to go out and do something every day

Visit a nearby city, go see a movie, explore new things around town. Enjoy the feeling of going out alone.

8. Learn to cook something new

This is especially important if you’re moving out of the dorms next year! Learning to make a few simple dishes (even crockpot dishes) can help you save money down the road. Plus, your family will be grateful for the break from cooking if it turns out well!

9. Take a day to cleanse

One of the best things you can do when you don’t have responsibilities for a week is to take a few days off from social media, phones and other distractions. Spend the day reading, meditating and re-centering for the busy end of the semester!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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