Due to the splitting up (link) of 3rd years, I now teach 4 classes instead of 3. It also feels like I’m getting more responsibilities to lesson planning with my junior high. Whenever I’m there, I’m always busy doing something and not bored. I’m okay with this though.
My first years are a quiet, but happy bunch. The guys seems to interact more with me outside of class but the girls haven’t really warmed up to me yet. It didn’t take long for the guys to come up with a nickname for me—Manchez. A play on my last name, they suddenly started calling me that whenever I passed by their classroom. All the guys would yell “MANCHEZ!” and wave at me and the girls would be asking “What the hell does that mean??”. It’s pretty funny. They’re a polite bunch though; whenever I eat lunch with them, they will usually try to keep me in the conversation. What they talk about can be really random though…one day we started talking about food and then it turned into the possibility of World War III with North Korea.
My 2nd years continue to be great. As I predicted, I no longer see Mai in school anymore. It makes me wonder why she even showed up for the first couple of weeks in the first place. I was a tad sad; she seemed like a cool girl. Over in Japan, you can skip school the entire year and still graduate junior high. It’s pretty stupid. The girls seem to be talking to me more nowadays. One day Reno asked me where I thought her name came from. Apparently that name is not very common here. I told her my name is super common in Peru, which she refused to believe. Then she told me that she likes ice cream and eats it around twice a day. She’s super skinny. Damn metabolism.
Unfortuantely, my busy-ness has led me to not being able to visit the library as often as I want to. I have skipped out a couple of times; no one was really coming for awhile. However, the librarian recently told me the day that I didn’t show up was the day Yuuyuu and Manami were just waiting for me to come. I told her that they probably were just hanging out rather than waiting for me.
“Oh no,” she said, “Yuuyuu definitely wanted to talk to you. She kept asking me, ‘Is Diego coming?’ She even asked earlier this week ‘I want to talk to Diego!’” It’s really funny because Yuuyuu hates English with a passion yet she’s happy to talk to me. It really made me happy to hear that though. They joined the newly made swimming club though so I will probably be seeing them a lot less often after school. I did see them this week though! We had another fun chat for awhile; it’s the little things that makes me enjoy my job even more.
Finally, we have my new 3rd years. I’ll admit, I didn’t like the thought of teaching these kids twice now instead of once—just doing it once last year was a giant pain in the ass because no one did anything. However, I’ve been slowly warming up to them and actually remembering their names too. Since the class was pretty big and no one spoke up last year, I had a really tough time remembering names except for the memorable ones. Nowadays I can probably name 3/4th of the kids.
The first half of the 3rd years I teach are the most quiet ones out of the bunch. Most of them just stare at me and barely speak a word when they have to repeat after me. The ones that actually do something are probably Misa and Yuka. Misato actually follows the lessons, participate and ask questions. She’ll complain at times but she’s probably the only one who is actually paying attention during class. She seems to have cheered up a bit since last year and sometimes briefly chats with me. Yuka isn’t the smartest girl in the world but she’ll usually follow along with Misa. They make the class more tolerable. The guys are deadly quiet but talk to me happily outside of class. This is probably the hardest class to teach out of the two.
The second half that I teach are the complete opposite of the first half. We have most of the class clowns and memorable kids in this classroom, making it very lively. Kouki is there, being a smartass that he usually is but his English is actually pretty good. Last test score I saw from him was a 86/100—something that surprised me. Kouki’s gang of friends are with him as well. One that sticks out the most is Kotaro. Kotaro looks like a Japanese version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt when he was young, it’s pretty funny. He will ask me questions about English and make random commentary about me and class. Combined with Kouki, they usually end up doing nothing but making jokes during class. I’ve come to just accept it and actually will participate in some of the joking that they do.
Yuta, a asshole kid who just whines and slacks off the entire class is also here. He usually disorganizes the English room and yells shit out like “Why do I have to learn English? I’m Japanese!” I really don’t like him. He was giving me a lot of shit once one day and I basically stole some things from his bag and refused to give it back to him. I eventually returned it next week and I think he got yelled at for it (for once).
Kaho is probably the only third year girl that has warmed up to me. It started when we were doing group projects about their trip to Okinawa (we’ll save a part of that story for another day). Unfortunately for her, she got paired up with the biggest slackers in the class; they would do nothing and just hit each other or try to create pranks. Poor Kaho would be doing all the work for herself. Being in her situation multiple times at her age, I sympathized with her. She slowly started talking to me more and mostly complained at how much her group sucked. This eventually evolved to how much of the students in that class are a pain to deal with. Nowadays, whenever I have to teach the other half, she’ll be saying “Good luck! You can survive their lack of participation!” to me. We are like comrade-in-arms.
Out of the three years, I do the less amount of work for my 3rd years. My JTE, who is also their home room teacher, has realized that if they don’t cram the English they have refused to study the past three years this year, they will be screwed in that subject in high school. Classes usually involve doing the readings and assignments from the textbook with no games at all. This is probably for the best. It’s a little boring but I’ve come to just fool around with the students during class while the JTE teaches. She doesn’t seem to care because they’re going to be doing it anyways. By doing this, I think a lot of them have warmed up to me. It’s a bit strange, but whatever works, I guess?
The staff has changed quite a bit but most don’t really talk to me. The new nutritionist speaks a little English and sometimes talks about food with me. They’re going to try to cook something with the kids in English one day. The nurse has been talking to me a lot compared to last year and she’s been really nice to me. I wonder what changed? While the vice principal is still deathly afraid in talking to me, he’s slowly realizing that I can speak some Japanese. He drove me to a meeting once and was telling me he learns English through the news and was asking me how long would it take him to learn English if he just studied that. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the real answer….
Geez, whenever I talk about my junior high, I end up writing a lot. It’s probably the most eventful day out of the week. I guess I’ll have to talk about my Friday school another time!