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.
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.
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.
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.
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!