Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Illness

This was an excellent read.

Let's Queer Things Up!

Internet, we need to have a talk.

I’ve had a number of readers ask why I’ve neglected to write about Amanda Bynes this last year. It’s simple, really. I don’t believe that celebrities are “fair game,” and that, when they have very human and very difficult struggles, I should capitalize on those things by writing an article, however well-intentioned. I believe they are deserving of privacy and respect, by virtue of their being people.

However, I’m making an exception here, because in the midst of the negative and callous press that Bynes has received, I think it’s time we had a chat about it from a different perspective. And then, after we’re done, I think it’s time we stop speculating about it altogether. Deal?

First and foremost, there is no way for us to know what, if anything, Bynes has been diagnosed with. The family has denied schizophrenia and bipolar…

View original post 1,176 more words

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Done and Done! Happy Day!

What a productive day!  Wahoo!  Feelin’ Good.

*CDs finished and distributed (All out tomorrow because of the MWF kids)–My classroom looked like Santa’s Workshop while I put all the bags together 😛  I put the theme to Titanic on it for a student that is OBSESSED with that movie and as soon as he got his CD he asked about it being there.  I noticed later that he circled it on the track list, haha.  You’re welcome, X’s mom and dad.  🙂  haha

*Productive classes (nothing much to say here–kids were speaking and working hard and everything seemed to flow rather smoothly)

*Great night at the gym and I lowered the resistance (assuming that’s the technical term) for the assisted pull-up machine 😀  I’ve been working on dips and assisted pull-ups with it and I finally got to move to the next weight (basically, my arms are getting stronger and I don’t need as much assistance on this machine).  Bada-bing, Bada-boom!

*Oh and it’s payday!  I re-signed for another year with my school like two months? back and got a raise along with it.  This was my first check with the new pay rate, so that was a pretty fun time at the bank.  🙂

*Annnnd (well, this was from last night/technically this morning), but I penciled in some activities that I want to do with the kids on Fridays in the next few months regarding the topics from yesterday (Acceptance of others, being careful with your words, etc.)   Fridays are typically a wrap-up day and I have more flexibility within the class schedule on those days.  Oh, and everyone comes on Fridays, so that’s a perk, ha.  🙂

This was the track list for the CD in case anyone (or my future self) is interested:
1. Do You Wanna Build a Snowman–Frozen Soundtrack
2. Look What I Can Do–Kidsongs (2nd song–starts at 1:35)
3. What Do You Wanna Be–Kidsongs (1st song)
4. Witches’ Brew–Hap Palmer (they love this one)
5. Splish-Splash–Bobby Darin (this one too–especially that dance–Note to self–More dance routines)
6. Thriller–Michael Jackson
7. YMCA–The Village People
8. Lean on Me–Bill Withers
9. Count on Me–Bruno Mars
10. Walking in the Jungle–Super Simple Learning (Youtube)
11. The Lion Sleeps Tonight–The Lion King 1 1/2 Soundtrack
12. My Heart Will Go On–Celine Dion
13. The Loco-Motion–Kylie Minogue (I liked this version better–more upbeat)
14. The Wheels on the Bus–Super Simple Learning
15. I Was Here–Beyonce
16. Let It Go–Frozen Soundtrack
17. Mr Sun–Mother Goose Club (Youtube)
18. When Will My Life Begin–Tangled Soundtrack (Mandy Moore–tons of vocab! yay!)
19. Five Little Monkeys (Jumping on the Bed)–(another favorite)
20. We’re Gonna Get Wet–Kidsongs

*Challenge Songs* (A bit more difficult)

21. Hopeful–Bars and Melody (anti-bullying song) (original audition version)
22. My Wish–Rascal Flatts
23. Roar–Katy Perry

I loved Kidsongs growing up so I’m excited to share it with them 🙂

I think I should admit myself to some sort of mental hospital because I’m already thinking of potential songs for the next CD since this one was such a big hit.  Oi vey.  And on that note, bedtime.

Racism and Developing A Multi-Cultural Mindset

I’ve seen a classroom activity floating around the internet where kids start with a blank,fresh sheet of paper and they are told it is their heart/mind.  The teacher/facilitator instructs the students to crumple up the paper and smash it.  To make it as wrinkly and broken looking as possible.  The students do this and then the teacher explains that this is now their heart (or the heart of another) after something mean is said to them.
The teacher instructs the students to say sorry to the heart and to try and make it flat and as it was before.
The students do this as best as they are able and the teacher explains that the heart is no longer able to go back to the way it was.
Moral of the lesson: be careful with your words because often once you say them, the damage has been done and the words are there forever.

Anyway, not sure if I got all the fine details of that lesson spot on as I’m doing it from memory, but you get the idea.

I’m writing about this mainly out of frustration because it’s just so…odd to me that this behavior is still happening.  I mean this in a general sense, not necessarily only with my students (back to that in a moment).  I mean, that people can still be so hateful toward another human being just because they look differently.

In my classes, I try and incorporate as many races as I can to increase their level of exposure.  I know you might be saying, especially if you’re a teacher in a bigger city like Seoul, that “Oh that can’t possibly still be happening!  You’re exaggerating!”…and yada yada yada.
Sorry, no.  I wish that was the case, and I’m happy for you that you get to experience life without that added hurdle.

More specifically, most of my students don’t bat an eyelash when I put up things that have people from other races because it’s such a part of our class, but I’m working to break their habits of joining in when others are laughing.
I had another girl come back from a few month long break and we watched a little video clip of a guy zip-lining (vocab word, along with “harness” and “clip”).  The guy was from Nepal.  The girl started laughing and said “Teacher, dirty!”  Then a few other kids started laughing and then several more were shouting about how “dirty” he was.
Cue immediate pause of the video and explanation about not being mean and that there are many people in the world and some people look different, and how that’s OK.  etc.  I turned the situation on them and asked how they would feel and the whole time they were very quiet.
Anyway, we continued the video and not another word was said.

I just get so tired of this.  Tired of explaining that it’s not OK to talk about people like that.  Not in the way that I’ll stop talking about it, but more that this still needs to be addressed.  I think I’m going to find an activity to do with them so I can get it to sink in a bit more.
Granted, it’s not all of the classes and it’s not all of the students.  That’s usually never the case.  I just need to find a way to have this get a bit further into their heads.  It’s just weird because even our reading books have people off all different colors and sizes in them.

Ugh.  Anyway.

This was the video in case you’re curious:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsOzAbUt8n8

In better news, all the lyric booklets are put together and the CDs are all burnt.  I just need to get bags, stuff them and then distribute them.

I’m also thinking about making some scones tonight for my older class because that was a spelling word for them and I think it’d be fun to eat scones while learning about them.  🙂
And because they’re delicious.  🙂

Edit:
I was browsing the interwebs and found this gem:
http://www.teacherplanet.com/resource/tolerance.php

There are a bunch of lessons plans for teaching tolerance just in case someone else is having the same issue.

It’s a bit rough since my weeks are already basically planned for me, but I’m going to try and squeeze something in there.

CDs

I think I’m about 60-70% finished with this CD-making project.

I’ve currently made 30 of 36 CDs (I’m going to bump it to 40 in case there are last-minute requests or any issues with scratches, etc.) and I’ve put together 25 of the lyric booklets.  I was going to print them all out at the same time, but I sort of blanched when I saw how many pages it was.  I’m making them double-sided, with 3-4 songs typically on one sheet of paper but it’s still a lot.  It helps my conscious to break it up a bit, haha.

Making the CDs hasn’t been as tedious as I was expecting.  I pretty much just go about my business here, watch movies, etc and just switch out the CDs every few minutes or so.  The CDs take about 6-7 minutes to burn and I put the lyric booklets together assembly-line style while listening to music, so yeah, not too bad.
My school also provided a pretty massive stack of blank CDs (maybe 50) PLUS the little paper sleeves, so that’s another expense taken off my shoulders.

Still need to:
*collect the money from the front desk (They were cross-checking that everyone had paid and that there were no double-payments)
*get bags and tissue paper (my school apparently gets discounts at a particular art/stationary supply store and my school said they’d reimburse me)
*finish the last CDs (will finish tonight)
*finish the last of the lyric sheets
*stuff the bags, add names
*distribute

I feel like I’m closer to finished than the list shows mainly because I think things will go quickly once I get those bags and the other lyric sheets printed off.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I wanted to put them in bags and such to jazz them up and make everything look nice.  It’s a lot about the presentation with this sort of thing, IMO.

Anyhoo, just wanted to post a progress report, nothing special today.  🙂
Monday tomorrow!  Off to bed soon…

Post-Halloween

I thought I wrote about how I decorated my door at home and I was going to leave a little basket of candy on the door for people, but I guess not.  I sometimes post things on my Facebook and then forget which I posted where.  Must be my old age, you’ll have to forgive me, haha.

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That was my door and I filled the little pumpkin with individual packs of Oreos (off-brand) and some other candy.
I honestly wasn’t expecting people to take much because Halloween isn’t as huge here as it is in other places.  It’s growing though with the kids because of their time in Hagwons and school with foreigners.  Anyway, here’s a close-up of my note:

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It says “Happy Halloween!  Free Candy!”

So…imagine my surprise when I came back home from work and dinner to find this:

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Someone had taken the whole pumpkin and left this in it’s place.  My friend translated the note and it basically says “My candy isn’t the greatest, but I hope you enjoy it and that it makes your time in Korea happy.”  Or something to that effect.

I was completely shocked and I’m still feeling all warm and fuzzy inside 😀 😀
How cute! 🙂  I loved that there was a handwritten note and everything 🙂

Aside from that, the Halloween party was hectic, but fun.  I danced to the song “Thriller” about 30+ times in 4 hours and I’ll be happy if I never hear the song again, haha.  I took bits and pieces from the original routine and put in some of my own stuff with it.  The original is too complicated to teach in a short span of time and I tried to make more zombie stuff so the kids would like it.   It seemed to go over well and it was nice for me as a teacher to not have to worry about having enough supplies and that sort of thing.

Anyway, off to run some errands then to my friend’s going-away party.

Then I’ll likely sleep the entirety of tomorrow.  😀  haha