Film Club: ‘Tears Teacher’

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Film Club: ‘Tears Teacher’

4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)

5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.

As an urban anthropologist, Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman felt a duty to record her experiences in lockdown. After all, this was a once-in-a-century global pandemic. And so, for the past 49 nights or so, she has noted her mood at the end of the day.

Mostly, her moods have been fairly positive. But then, last Sunday, her local farmer’s market was sold out of cut flowers — which she had wanted to brighten up her home. “It was the stupidest thing. I almost lost it there on the street,” she said. Ms. Johnston-Zimmerman, an adjunct professor at Drexel University, made it home, “but then I was baking bread, and I just completely broke down. I was like, I feel so dumb for breaking down over flowers.”

Of course, it wasn’t about the flowers. It was about everything happening in her life — and in all our lives.

There may be real benefits to the occasional sob. Furthermore, some experts say it’s OK to occasionally self-soothe with an ice cream sundae, or decompress on a gossipy Zoom call with your college besties, or indulge in a ferocious howl at the moon if that’s what feels right. If you’ve been looking for permission to sit down and have a good cry, here it is: You have our blessing to absolutely lose it. Here are some “let it all go” options to choose from.

Cry if you want to

“Crying can be very cathartic because when you cry, you are taking deep breaths,” said Lisa Feldman Barrett, professor of psychology at Northeastern University and author of “How Emotions Are Made.” She added that those big gulps between sobs most likely increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to calm us down.

And just let those tears keep flowing. “Crying for longer time periods is related to the release of some neurochemicals that can make you feel better, like endogenous opioids,” she said.

Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.