Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #2
Homework sucks. It’s mandatory and at times can be an abuse of power that weeds out the weak, instead of helping a student to learn, grow and improve themselves. I think the only homework I ever really enjoyed in my whole school career was vocabulary, readings, and poetry, but as for mathematics, science and sometimes history, I was at a loss. Looking back at my high school days I can remember most of the teachers I had and for what subjects, but as the time goes by their faces fade and their names slowly start to disassemble. Although, there was one teacher I still remember clearly, am actually very fond of and admire even to this day. Her name is Ms. Roach and she was my favorite teacher in high school. I was in one of her advanced English classes and whenever I would go to her class I would enter a room that had more to offer than chalk notes on a blackboard. Ms. Roach saw potential in me and she pushed me to do more than pass. With her help, I excelled and with her support and encouragement, I participated in poetry and oratory contests in which I won awards and even money. I couldn’t believe that I had it within me to be successful. I was so focused on comparing myself to my smart cousins and straight-A classmates that I didn’t realize that I had talent and the capacity to achieve things. Koro-sensei is Ms. Roach.
Assassination Classroom is a manga (Japanese comic) written by Yusei Matsui that is a comedic and heartwarming story about the journey and growth of a relationship between underdog, misfit students of class 3-E and a teacher with a big heart, while also being about a story about a yellow, tentacled alien monster set out on destroying the earth as junior high school students train to be assassins, in hopes of killing this threat to the continuation of mankind and all its creatures. Pretty wild, huh? Although a lot goes on within this story, what I want to focus on is Koro-sensei’s relationship with his students because that is the true gem and mastery of Yusei Matsui’s storytelling. As far as the art goes, Matsui is pretty hilarious when it comes to drawing facial expressions on his characters– imagine eyes bulged out and mouths stretched out beyond their natural limits, very cartoon-like and it’s always a joy for me to see the next cover of each volume (Koro-sensei changes color depending on his mood, he’s an octopus mood ring of sorts). But what truly fascinates me about this manga is its approach to teaching and forming healthy, supportive relationships with students as a teacher.
I’ve met Matsui-sensei at a meet and greet in a Barnes and Noble and the man is so adorable and quiet. You’d never guess that he was as wise and knowledgeable about the positive and effective teaching techniques of young teenaged students. Maybe he was a teacher at some point in his life before he became a mangaka (comic artist) and writer? The lengths that Koro-sensei goes for his students is at times impossible but mostly idealistic and inspiring. He’s able to move and talk so quickly that he’s able to attend to every single student simultaneously. He focuses on the students’ strengths so they can go even further, as well as gain confidence, and tends carefully to their weaknesses so they may improve. He takes the students on trips for recreation so they may bond and form a healthy camaraderie with one another and maintain a social life which he knows is important. His criticisms are consistently constructive and he compliments it with small praises. He’s kind of the perfect teacher that we all aspire to be for our students, friends, siblings, and ourselves. Even though it is impossible to do the physical feats that Koro-sensei does and not to mention, he’s planning on destroying the earth and all its inhabitants, I think it’s important for us to learn from Matsui-sensei’s fictional character and maybe gain a knowledge that will last us a lifetime in reality.
If you’re looking for something that has both “the feels” and good laughs, as well as a yellow tentacle teacher that wants to destroy the earth but also wants his students to pass, this is a comic you definitely got to pick up.
– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier