Another day, another school!:
Tuesdays begins the series of fun days at work. At this elementary school, I team teach with an English teacher; something no other elementary school has. In junior highs you team teach with an English teacher but in elementary schools, you usually do it with a home room teacher. Home room teachers are the teachers in charge of the classroom and usually don’t know much English. For some reason, my Tuesday school has an English teacher but I’m obviously okay with this as I can actually find out information through her. Also, she lesson plans everything, meaning I don’t have to do anything at all in preparation!
At first, I thought this was a blessing. However, as the months progress, I’m starting to see how it can be very boring. She doesn’t use me much during class; I usually end up being a tape recorder and repeat words millions of times. In other words, I basically stand in a corner during the entire class period. It’s a good time to zone out but I really wish she would use me better. Because of this, I don’t really know many of my students, except the ones that take the initiative and talk to me outside of class.
She’s also quite the control freak. If you do anything unplanned, she will call me on it after class. For example, the other day I had to say “How was your winter vacation?” to every single student in the class, which is around 40. After the first class, she told me “You have to keep eye contact with them,” which I’m already doing! After the next class is over, she tells me “You need to be close to them when you talk to them!” This would be okay except the desks are all cramped together; getting right next to a kid is near impossible. Also, I would take longer to walk to every single desk. Regardless, I try to walk as close as I can get before it gets uncomfortable. Then, after the next class she tells me “Closer, you need to be closer!” I think you get the picture. She’s slowly starting to irritate me but then I just tell myself she’s basically doing everything for me so I should just endure it. She’s not a bad person, she does give me rides to school in the mornings but she just isn’t very open-minded.
I think some of the teachers don’t like her as well. This is true for my favorite coworker there, H-sensei . H-sensei is cool because he knows a lot of English for a HRT (home room teacher) and we usually chat about random things during downtime. His class is my favorite one too because all of his kids are nice and witty. He seems to have a fan club because every time I go to his class, I can see a group of girls just standing in front of him, talking to him or doing some chores for him. Since I get along so well with him, these girls tend to hang out with me as well. I try to go there a few minutes before class begins to get to know them better. Anyways, we used to whisper a couple of things to each other while the English teacher would teach. It was always lesson-related too, we wouldn’t be gossiping or anything. Some of the witty comments we made was always appreciated by his kids. That came to an end eventually after the English teacher talked to H-sensei and basically told him to stop talking during class. She also lectured me how I should set a good example to the kids and not talk. Because you know, trying to get along with them and their HRT is a bad thing. Now he just sits there on his desk, correcting things while I look extremely bored. Needless to say, H-sensei hates her with a passion. I don’t blame him.
However, as a result of her tight organization and control, all of the classes we teach are nearly perfect. There are no bad classes and everyone behaves well. If a kid tries to make a scene she will swiftly take care of it. It’s almost creepy how well the kids behave in front of her. Perhaps she is known as being ruthless? I don’t know.
I teach 5 classes in my Tuesday school. It’s very busy but since I don’t really have to do anything, it’s not too bad. I guess it can get repetitive since we’re simply doing the same lesson 5 times. Besides H-sensei, I don’t really talk to much of the staff. However, that is slowly changing because every other week, I teach a different grade by myself. While I used to dread these weeks, I actually have a lot of fun with them now because I’m no longer under control by the English teacher and I can interact with the kids more. I usually teach 3rd graders on these weeks but sometimes I will teach 1st and 2nd graders. They’re really great kids. They will cheer when they see me coming in to teach and we always have a lot of fun. After I taught all these grades, I will always get stopped by the hallway by some kid. Sometimes a group of girls will simply follow me without saying a word. It’s really cute. I’ve been also talking to their HRTs more, which is nice.
Lunchtime here is pretty amusing. The lunch menu and music are announced by a group of students in the announcement room. Usually, these kids rotate every week but for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be the case in this school. The kids who make the announcements always eat their lunch in the announcement room because they have usually have to provide some material like a quiz, interview, etc while everyone is eating. Anyways, I sit right across from said room and I will see these two 6th grade girls sitting across from me. I noticed that they were simply just staring at me and then I would stare back. Then they would giggle and look away. If I’m eating lunch or reading something and look up, I will usually see them making a face at me. I’ll make one right back at them and then they will burst into laughter. Usually right after this happens, the disciplinarian will step in and nag on the girls to be more quiet. As soon as he leaves though, we start doing it again.
I would feel bad for the disciplinarian but he’s actually a little too strict. Whenever the girls do a quiz or something, he will give them a lot of harsh feedback to them afterward. One time, they were doing an English quiz and one of the answers was “happy”.
Disciplinarian: You guys answered with “happy”.
Girls: Yes, that was the answer.
D: You didn’t translate it though! Do you think the 1st graders are going to know word happy in English?!
G: I guess not.
D: Next time, translate it, okay??
D: No, you don’t say “Okay.”, you reply with “Okay sir, I will do my best!”
He’s way too hard on them. Luckily, they don’t seem to care. Right after he leaves, we start mocking his way of saying “happy”. They even play peek-a-boo with me, it’s hilarious. Meanwhile the teachers next to me wonder what the hell I’m doing when I’m making faces and just chuckling to myself. It definitely makes my lunches more fun since I don’t really talk to anyone in the office.
Overall, my Tuesday school can be boring sometimes (due to a certain English teacher…), but I make it fun. I even play recess with the kids, but I’ll go into that later!