Friday, March 14, 2014

Pop sad, then happy

[On February 18th, I was told by my employer, Doam Elementary, that I would start working at a second school, Doji Elementary, two days a week. Three days a week, I continue to teach at Doam.]

I'm revisiting some of the hard feelings the night before I start at my new elementary school. It's not necessarily the extra work, though that is a sore point (eight different textbooks and all these 4-1, 4-2, 3-1, 6-2, 3-2, 5-1, 2-1, 6-1, 5-2 classes to keep bloody straight), but it absolutely is the fact that all the time spent coordinating and tweaking lessons is the result of someone who thought this was a good idea. It's not fair to the students and it's not fair to my co-teachers. I truly don't mind being busy. I've been super efficient with my time and I'm getting it done. I just need to shake the annoyance and I'll be set to go. 

So, to finish off finely wording my complaints about teaching in Korea, let me just say how thankful I am to have two hard-working co-teachers and how much fun I have talking and interacting with my students. Kids are amazing. Also, I'd send a warning letter to the next Doam native English teacher in a heart beat. 

Moving on, I thought it would be fitting to address what makes me pop sad and pop happy. Inspired by NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour segment titled "Pop Culture That Makes Us Cry & Somali Pirates" and a tweet from one of my favorite twitter accounts posing the question and judgement of the question, "how often are you supposed to cry?" here are my lists: 

Pop Sad

1. I forget how sensitive kids can be to things such as a game being "fair." So many tears in the first week of school in my third grade classes :'(  I felt so badly. 
2. The relentless study-study-study attitude of the Korean schooling system 
1. Toy Story 3 -- Having to accept so many things; death, growing up, moving on, change
2. The Notebook -- My friend and I saw this in the theater and we both cried our eyes and noses out. It was a moment of pure tear-jerker bliss. 
3. Michael & Holly's engagement (The Office) -- I mean, they really are perfect for each other.

1. Moulin Rouge! -- Something about the acting and the sound editing in that final lover's scene doesn't simply rely on my own emotions observing; that scene yanks me down with it. 
2. Life is Beautiful -- I first watched this movie when I was probably 11 or 12 years old. I don't think I've seen it since. The discomfort and emotion that comes from watching that part of history up on a screen isn't the heart of the film. Silently crying with my dad, the film sits with me all these years later. 
3. Dear Zachary -- It hasn't been long enough for me to process this documentary. It's a hugely powerful piece of filmmaking. I read reviews that I agree with - that the documentary starts as one film and becomes another. It hurts so much to be part of that as a viewer. Tears swell in my eyes and heart thinking and writing about it. 

1. Tom Waits: "Come on up to the House" music video
2. Mat Kearney: "Where We Gonna Go from Here"
3. Kayden + Rain: "In Your Arms" -- I saw this video after a unique situation of talking to friend who had questions about adoption. I lose it when she says, "어머."

Celebrity Deaths: 
1. I feel a great sense of loss, like everyone else I suppose, when someone famous has died. More recently with the deaths of Cory Monteith, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Harold Ramis, I believe more and more that it is appropriate to say their deaths are tragic. Nobody is more important than another person, nor is one person's work more valuable than another's, but there is a loss of future successes along with the loss of a human being, to be harsh. I think this all the time about Steve Jobs -- what inventions and innovations won't ever be because he's gone. That's my frank opinion of celebrity deaths, but of course I sobbed watching the Glee tribute episode, teared up listening to PSH interviews on NPR, and paid tribute to Harold Ramis with a Netflix viewing of Ghostbusters.
2. Jonbenet Ramsey -- I will always remember when I learned about Jonbenet Ramsey's murder. I was sitting in the dentist waiting room with my dad. I can still picture the magazine cover with her face on it. He read me the article and I was confused about what happened and who exactly she was. The whole beauty queen aspect threw me. After that day, I became slightly obsessed with Jonbenet Ramsey, mostly with wondering why she was murdered. It makes me incredibly sad and I still need to know who killed that little girl. 

Pop Happy

I heard the term "pop happy" while watching the director and cast commentary of Love Actually (yes, Love Actually is one of my go-to pop happy movies and yes, I watched the entire movie with commentary twice) Anyway, one of my favorite things Richard Curtis talks about is how certain songs make him artificially happy - or pop happy. 

In Korea:
1. Spontaneous gifts -- A year planner from 2010, a mechanical pencil with verbal directions on how to use a mechanical pencil, an eraser in the shape of mandu, more rice cakes than I could ever want (for real, so much ddeok), origami paper, sacrificed candy, kimchi but this is my kimchi box, there's fruit in the teacher's room, there's PIZZA in the teacher's room, cartons of milk, six cans of spam 
2. Spontaneous dinner invitations 
3. Playing games in English Class -- They LOVE LOVE games. Game?? Game!!!! 

1. Move
2. Eat
3. Learn

Cry On & Be Delighted ::

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