My Wednesday school is my favorite school out of the five that I go to. I look forward to Wednesdays because it doesn’t even feel like I’m going to work but rather just taking a little break in the middle of the week. Don’t get me wrong, I do work but because everything goes perfect, it doesn’t feel like work.
My Wednesday school is a bit further away from the city and a bit closer to the inaka. Inaka means the countryside. One reason I love going to this school is because of the view. I’m surrounded by mountains and little shrines when I’m there, it’s really beautiful:
This particular school is very tiny, and only have 1 classroom per grade. This is unheard of because the rest of my schools have 3-5 classrooms per grade. This is another factor that I like about this school because I can actually recognize a lot of my students. Since I interact with just them, I also get a feel for their personalities. I even remember most of my 5th grade class! None of the kids are assholes here, it’s amazing. It’s pretty much 5-1 from my Monday school except it applies to every grade.
Anyways, because the school is so tiny, I teach multiple grades in a single day. I always teach 5th and 6th grade on a weekly basis and then I rotate between 1st and 2nd or 3rd and 4th grade that week. While I do have to have multiple lessons plans for that school, all the teachers actually meet with me to discuss the lesson. This is very rare for my other schools. For the most part, the lesson plans are made for me in my other schools but that doesn’t necessarily meant they’re great plans. At my Wednesday school, we discuss what would work and what wouldn’t and the end result is a fail-proof plan.
The 5th grade HRT for this school, Ako-sensei, is my favorite teacher to work with because of her teaching philosophy. She believes that both teachers should work together in the classroom and it wouldn’t be fair if one teacher did everything while the other just sat there. She also believes that each one of us should use our specialties (her with Japanese, me with English) to help the kids immerse in the class. When I heard these words coming out of her mouth when we first met, I wanted to hug her. Almost none of my teachers have this way of thinking when it comes to English class. For the most part, they just consider it at just another class and try to accomplish a lesson with the least effort as possible. My junior high English teachers also help me teach 5th and 6th graders so if I have something complex to say, I can simply ask them to translate. It’s the most ideal situation. Why do they? I figured it’s because the junior high is only a few minutes away and the two schools work closely together. I’m definitely not complaining. With them and Ako-sensei, you can see she works hard to make the perfect class.
It really shows too. Her 5th grades are my favorite classroom to teach. They’re extremely intelligent and they can do things that even junior high kids can’t. It’s always a treat to teach them. They also have good personalities as well. Here’s a few that stick out:
Hiro: Hiro is one of my favorite kids. He’s pretty much the class clown of the 5th graders. However, he’s a smart class clown, which sounds like an oxymoron. He’s extremely witty and yet has terrible jokes. I only know this because Ako-sensei tells me they’re really bad. We currently have this thing going where we will call each other’s name and simply look away when our eyes meet. It’s really dumb but we manage to catch each other off guard during the day. He always plays goalie whenever we play soccer.
Isa: I call this girl Isa because she looks almost like my niece Isa if she were a 5th grader. It’s really weird too because I almost catch myself calling her my niece’s name. Not only does she look like Isa, but she has a similar personality too. She’s very smart, likes art and is very polite. Isa is very reliable during class so if I feel like we need someone to show the students how things are done, she’s my go-to girl.
Mimi: At first I didn’t pay much attention to Mimi during class but then I noticed she was always trying to get my attention. It all happened when we were all exchanging greetings and then I heard somewhere far in the corner : “Come on Diego-senseeeei..come hereeee! Man!” I don’t think I was supposed to hear it because when I approached her, she turned red. Mimi is a tomboy because I always see her doing stuff with the boys buuut she still manages to be just as girly with the other girls. I’m pretty sure she has a crush on me because she likes to talk to me as much as she can as well as mess with me while I’m walking down the hallways. We have this thing where I will be walking down and I will sense someone is behind me. Then I will look behind, noticing her. Wherever I move, she moves with me and in the end, it turns out to be me juking left and right down the hallways with this 11 year old Japanese girl trying desperately to follow my lead. I’m sure it looks really silly, but it’s fun. She plays soccer with the boys and whenever I come, she demands to be in her team because “We’re always together!” She also praises me a lot during the field, which is cute. Probably one of my favorite female 5th graders.
QM: QM stands for “Question Man” because this is all this kid does. He asks me questions non-stop and I do my best to answer them. I appreciate QM because if I ever get stumped and not understand some Japanese, he will do his damn best to explain it in layman’s term to me. Oddly enough, most of his explanations are really good and I eventually come to understand what he says. While not the brightest of the group, he gives a good effort.
BB: BB stands for “Bromance Brothers”. While they’re not brothers, they look eerily the same. One is taller than the other so I call him the older brother while the shorter one is the younger one. The bromance comes in whenever I see them. They will cling onto me and start talking to me. It took some time to get used to it because most American kids their age don’t do that kind of contact, but I finally got accustomed to it. They try their best to help me out whenever it’s needed and always rush to my aid. “It’s because we’re nakama (brothers)!” they would always reply when I asked them.
I could go on and on about my other kids in that class but I’ll stop there. Each kid has their own unique personality and I am able to maintain a relationship with them. As for my other grades, I honestly can’t say much about them except that they’re good kids. My 6th grade class is a tad quiet but smart. 6th graders are a bit difficult to teach because they’re at that period where they’re about to enter junior high so elementary can be a bit too childish for them. However, this really doesn’t affect my classes with them much.
I can say a bit about my 1st and 2nd graders. First of all, they’re the most adorable kids in the world. One thing I forgot to mention is that unlike the rest of my elementary schools, my Wednesday school has a uniform policy. This usually starts in junior high but can be seen in elementary sometimes. Anyways, seeing all these tiny kids in uniforms is really cute. In my 1st grade class, there is this really smart girl who is eager to learn as much English as possible. She always actively participates in class and answers everything correctly. She’ll usually cling onto me after class or if I play with them during the break. There is this 1st grade boy who does the same thing but he’s not entirely bright and kinda slacks off in class. I’m trying to help him the most so he doesn’t turn into a bratty kid in future grades. He’s improving bit by bit; I’d like to think that’s a bit because of me.
2nd grade has two girls that stick out. The first girl is this half-Peruvian, half-Japanese girl. When I was doing my self-introduction, she stood up and yelled “My mom is from Peru! I want to go!!” as I was showing my pictures from Peru. She’s really beautiful and always wears a big red bow in her hair. While she isn’t the smartest kid, she tries her best and isn’t afraid to screw up. After class, she will always run to try to tickle me. This usually creates a domino effect where all the 2nd graders will try to tickle me and I will have to fight off 5-7 kids surrounding and preventing me from leaving the classroom while the teacher is simply looking at me, giggling. The other girl must be from a mixed girl as well because she looks very exotic. She’s extremely intelligent and can usually answer all of my questions or read off my flashcards before I can even introduce them to the class. She’s always psyched about English class and helps the other kids when they need it. She’s my go-to kid in 2nd grade!
On Wednesdays, I have the option to eat lunch with my students or by myself. At first, I would just eat the staff room but after awhile the Bromance Brothers would ask me if I wanted to eat lunch with them. The rest is history. I always eat lunch with the 5th graders and Ako-sensei. Half the time I don’t even talk much because it’s just interesting to see where their conversation is going. Ako-sensei asks me a question every once in awhile and I always succeed in freezing up. I think I’m getting better about it though. It’s always fun hearing what they have to talk about and I also learn more about them during this time.
Like Ako-sensei, the rest of the staff is awesome. The people I work with were part of the crazy enkai I partook back in September. Each teacher is a pleasure to work with and I’m usually included in conversations in the staff room. It’s really nice to be a part of it. My vice principal there is probably the best vice principal I know. He was outside to greet me on the first day, gave me a small towel and a personal mug to use in the office. Once in awhile, I will get invited to go out with some of the stuff, which is a lot of fun. I wish I was there every day but what can you do? It’s a nice breather in the middle of the week.
To finish off this post, here’s a picture of the office. While it may look messy, this is actually pretty clean for Japan’s standards. You don’t want to look at the messy offices, haha.