2013년 12월 25일 수요일

Animated GIFS

I created this assortment for an assortment of reasons. I don't own the original images but I still think they're fun.

First, from Hyperbole and a Half:

Allie smashing into the box in "The God of Cake"

Allie eating face cream from the book

Mine! All Mine! From "The God of Cake"

Two different GIFs of The Simple Dog stuck in a loop, from "Wild Animal: The Simple Dog Goes for a Joy Ride"

Now a selection from the various Toy Story movies:
Toy Story 3: Big Baby crying
Toy Story: Etch drawing a gun
Toy Story: Toy soldier recon mission

Two from Spongebob
Mrs. Puff breaking rocks
Sandy karate chopping a salami


2013년 11월 16일 토요일

2013년 10월 29일 화요일

Reasonable Expectations

Despite having spent a year and a half teaching at a Korean public middle school, I retain the belief that my expectations of my students, though perhaps complex, are reasonable and can be understood by even the most challenged child. Though many of these expectations are contingent upon the students' previous 5, 6, or 7 years of life experience, many expectations can also be deduced from environmental cues.

1. Have incorporated into your gestalt the following concept: Putting on my school uniform + walk to the school building + spending the day in said school building + being surrounded by book-toting agemates clad in school uniforms = I am in school.

2. Upon hearing the bell, exhibit awareness that this is a signal that you are to be in a specific location at this time. That location, in this case, is the one designated "English Room." If the experience of the previous several weeks has not made an impression, use your inborn herd instinct to follow the agemates with whom you spend your day surrounded to the appropriate room, arriving in no more time than it takes to walk from the remotest reaches of the building to that room.

3. Presented with rows of desks facing toward front of room, and the sight of agemates becoming seated at said desks, take a seat at one of the desks.

4. Retain some notion from your previous experience that there is an expectation that you arrive in the designated room with certain specific objects, even if you retain no memory of what those specific objects are. Note the presence on some agemates' desks of the English book and a pencil case. Have sufficient awareness to grasp that you, too, probably should have an English book and a pencil case, or at least some manner of writing implement. If you are not currently possessed of the English book and/or writing implement, take action to acquire these objects, if possible. These actions can include going to one's locker to retrieve them or beseeching the loan of a writing implement from one of those school-uniform-clad agemates by whom you are currently surrounded. Perhaps you can even retain a memory of an adult having -- via words, gestures, and presentation of samples of the desired objects -- prompted you to obtain these objects in the past, and can apply this memory to your current situation.

5. Based on your previous experience, reason that there is some sort of expectation that you will devote a portion of your attention toward the front of the room. You can also use the following additional clues to draw an appropriate conclusion as to where your attention should be directed: the orientation of the desks; the presence at the front of the room of a whiteboard; the presence at the front of the room of a Powerpoint screen displaying a page from the textbook that is observable on at least one agemate's desk; and the presence at the front of the room an adult who is evidently demanding your attention. Based on your previous 5, 6, or 7 years of experience, have some recall that this attention is expected even if the adult in question is the funny-looking foreigner that has previously demanded your attention using verbal, gestural, and physical prompts (including manually positioning your head in the desired direction).

6. Based on previous experience in various classrooms and with various adults, along with the funny-looking foreigner's previous verbal, gestural, and physical prompts, grasp that producing loud noises, touching other students, throwing objects, and converting worksheets presented to you by the adult into paper airplanes are not acceptable behaviors.

7. Based on over a decade of life experience in a variety of settings, including the school setting (See Expectation #1.), exhibit a grasp of the fact that books in general, and the books deployed on the various booksheves in the English Room in particular, are intended for reading purposes only. Exhibit an awareness that books are never to be utilized as makeshift frisbees or hockey pucks.

8. Based on previous experience, and the obvious displeasure displayed by the foreign adult, exhibit an awareness that desks are not intended to recieve marks of any kind from pencils, pens, markers, or Wite-Out; nor are they to be deliberately stressed beyond their obvious design limits to the point of metal fatigue and evental collapse.

To me, these expectations are perfectly reasonable, if not obvious to the point of self-evidence. Strangely enough, the students who are legitimately mentally disabled seem to have no difficulty in complying with these expectations. However, to many of my ordinary students, these expectations seem to be mysterious foreign concepts, incomprehensible to the Korean mind. In any given class, anywhere from 10% to 75% of these ordinary students exhibit veritable astonishment every time these expecations are reiterated.

Perhaps it is I who am the one incapable of learning from experience.

2013년 4월 20일 토요일

Remember Two Names: Carlos and Jeff

The Boston Bombing is leaving us with many decisions to make, among them how to talk about it, and when, and how.

My proposal is that no matter what else we do, unless circumstances actively force us to do so we should never again mention the names of these two men:

They had everything going for them and instead of making anything worthwhile out of their lives, they decided to seek significance by destroying other people's lives. They don't deserve to be remembered as anything other than two blurry images, as Suspect One and Suspect Two. Period. Suspect One is dead. Suspect Two is in custody. They are now the problem of investigators and prosecutors. All the evil that they did, they did to get our attention. Well, screw them. They're not getting it.

We say, "Remember the victims" and "Remember the heroes," but part of what makes that so difficult in such a massive event is that there are just so many. I propose that we choose two iconic examples, two men, and remember them.

The man in the cowboy hat is Carlos Arredondo. Carlos had been  a spectator, passing out little American flags. The injured man is Jeff Bauman. Jeff had been at the marathon to cheer on his girlfriend.

The iconic photo of bystander helping victim would be striking enough to make these two men far more worth remembering than the suspects whose evil act brought them together. But the story goes even further than that.

Carlos was himself a wounded man. An immigrant from Costa Rica, Carlos had been so devastated at the news that his son Alex had been killed in Iraq that he went inside the van of the Marines bringing the news and set himself on fire. Two years later, his second son committed suicide. This is a man that had been dealt blow after blow, but rather than allow himself to fall into helplessness or despair, became a peace activist, dedicated to preserving the memories of fallen servicemen. It was in that role that he was at the marathon, cheering on a man who was marching the marathon carrying a heavy rucksack in honor of Alex. When the bomb went off, Carlos ran. Toward the danger. Toward the young man whose life he would help to save.

Jeff was just an all-American guy living an ordinary life. He worked at Costco, played the guitar, enjoyed sports, and was saving money to study civil engineering.When the bomb went off, Jeff went down. At first, he was in total shock, unaware of the extent of his own injuries, pleading with rescuers to help his friends first. He was loaded into a wheelchair, rushed to an ambulance, rushed to the hospital.

It was there at the hospital that Jeff asked for a pencil and paper so he could scrawl eight words that would start him on the road from victim to hero: "Bag, saw the guy, looked right at me".

Still being treated for devastating wounds, an ordinary young man began telling the FBI about the man in the sunglasses who looked him in the eye, set a bag at his feet, and walked off. Less than three minutes later, the bomb inside that bag exploded. With Jeff's help, investigators were able to look through video and identify the man in the sunglasses and the man who was with him: Suspect 1 and Suspect 2.

Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman are my heroes, two ordinary men who rose above tragedy and devastation to demonstrate everything that is good and brave and loving and resilient in the human spirit. It is my vow to them that the names of Suspect One and Suspect Two will never cross my lips. When the Boston bombing is mentioned, I sill speak two names in awed respect and admiration. Here's to you, Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman.