The week of changes continued with my junior high. Just like my Wednesday school, there were a ton of transfers. Sadly, Mr. Aoki was transferred out as well as Mr. Shiba who came up with my nickname. Not only that but my awesome vice principal had also left! Why are they taking all the good people away?? I don’t know anything about the new people, except that the nutritionist seems nice. I’m happy that they didn’t take the librarian away though, as she’s one of the nicest people I know here. My JTEs are the same but the schedule is a bit different. This year, the new 3rd years, aka my former 2nd year slackers, have been split up into two English classes. The reasoning was that the class was “too big” but they’re around the same size as the other junior high classes that my ALTs teach. Either way, it will be good and bad for me. Good because the kids really need to learn English; they are really bad compared to the rest of the school and having less students will make it easier to focus on each one. It’s bad because I have another class with them! I think overall though, it’s good for me because I will get to finally know these kids a bit more. Just with our first class, I was getting the feeling that the girls were finally warming up to me while the boys were participating a bit more. Naturally, Kouki was trying to take me down after class as usual. Glad some things don’t change.
My new 2nd years are still fun as ever. When I first encountered Ina, the first thing she said to me was “Oh, you got a haircut.”
“*long pause* Not bad.” When I asked Tsu, she said “Oh Diego, very handsome-u man! Very cool!”
“Tsu is a very cool girl too!” I replied to which she almost blushed. Interacting with these kids in general is always fun. Ina always runs away from me when we’re practicing English, to the point where I’m literally chasing her across the room to try to talk to her. Despite their eagerness, some of them are still scared shitless to talk to me in person. There was one girl I couldn’t recognize that was sitting in the classroom. At first I thought she was a transfer student but I soon figured out that she’s actually the girl that never bothered to show up the entire school year last year. I’m not sure whether it was a personal thing or is she’s some delinquent because she seemed like a normal kid when I talked to her. I wonder if she’ll start coming to school now…
The most interesting part of the day was teaching my new 1st years. They were all my 6th graders last year so since I already know them off the bat, there was no awkwardness between us. I noticed not all the kids from that class are attending this school, which a little disappointing. I decided to have lunch with them and some of them were comfortable talking to me. They seem like a smart group so I think things will work out just fine with them.
Just like with my Wednesday school, we have created an English room. With the help of the librarian, the staff revamped a room we never used to dedicate it to English classes. It looks very pretty and even the students thought it was cool. I’m glad English is getting more attention this year.
Despite Momo’s departure, I’m still stopping by the library after school is over. It seems like Manami and Ayu like to stop in and talk to the librarian often. Needless to say, I end up talking to them as well. Somehow, the topic of nicknames came up.
“Diego, do you like to call me Ayu? What about my last name?” Ayu asked me.
“I remember first names better. Did you want me to call you something else instead?”
“Sure! Hmm *says a bunch of nicknames*”
“Take your pick.”
“Okay…how about Yuuyuu?”
“Yuu…yuu? Uh, okay.” I swear, girls are all about trying to pick silly cute nicknames here. She seems happy whenever I call her that so whatever. Yuuyuu, Manami, the librarian and I talked about English and other random things for about a half an hour. I love moments like these, it makes me forget I’m even working. The librarian figured out how awesome Manami’s English is and I told her that if I can get one kid that likes English as much as she does, then I feel like I have accomplished something with my job. After we closed the library up, I could overhear Yuuyuu and how she seemed to enjoy our conversation. I hope I can change Yuuyuu’s opinion of English! The longer I work there, the more fun I’m having with my junior high, regardless of the staff changes.
Finally, there’s my Friday school. The funny thing about Fridays is that I have switched to teaching 6th grade. So rather than seeing any new kids, I’ll be seeing my former 5th graders. I was fine with it, as I’m already used to the craziness that 5-5 brought last year and for the most part, I had fun teaching them. Oddly enough, the majority of the 6th grade teachers didn’t change grades this year so I’ll be teaching with the crew that Judith taught with last year. She has said nothing but good things about them and they seem like great teachers so I look forward to working with them. One amusing thing is that one of the 6th grade teachers looks exactly like my old Japanese teacher from college, Uchida-sensei. I would’ve never imagined teaching at a Japanese elementary school with a clone of Uchida-sensei but I’m okay with it. I wonder if they’ll scare the bratty kids straight into discipline? I didn’t have any class with them the first week so I guess I’ll just find out for myself next time. I now sit right next to the new Home Ec teacher, who seems really nice. When she found out I’m from Peru, she was happy to talk to me about how she wants to go there. She even serves me tea in the mornings. Maybe Fridays will be better than last year. I will miss my old 5th grade teachers though; despite the initial awkwardness we had, they were a good group.
The first week was full of surprises but I really won’t find out how big the changes are until I start teaching everyone the following week. Oddly enough, I’m looking forward to it.