In terms of my junior high kids, I probably know the first years the least. Even when I taught them when they were 6th graders, I didn’t really interact with them much. They were an excellent but very quiet class. I think we were both shy at the start. It was only at the end of their elementary years that we started to get comfortable with each other.
Which brings us to this school year. Some of the 6th graders went to another junior high but the majority stayed at our school. One of the kids that I get along with a lot is the kid that had some sort of learning disability last year. He doesn’t seem to have a big issue besides needing just a little more help when it comes to explaining things. When he was a 6th grader, he had a special ed teacher helping him but he’s on his own this year and doing a pretty good job. Anyways, he’s not afraid to talk to me. Whenever we eat lunch and I’m sitting by him, he’s happy to include me to the conversation. Lunch conversation can be really awkward because you don’t know when to jump in, especially when you can only understand a quarter of what they’re saying. He’s been getting a lot sillier lately too. Last week I was sitting behind him with another group. He started yelling out “HELP ME! HELP ME, DIEGO-SENSEI!” while he’s stretching out his arms to me, as if he’s hanging on to the edge of a cliff, about to fall off. He would keep saying this until I would turn around and grab his arm. About a few minutes later, he’d repeat the same thing. This time, I would turn around and just mock him. By the end, half the class just started to yell out “HELP ME!” . I’m sure we looked really weird to any passerby.
Another funny story took place during class. We were playing Alphabet Karuta. There were alphabet cards on their desks and whenever I said a letter, they would have to grab that letter as fast as possible. Whoever had the most cards, won. Anyways, I usually have the student’s’ hands on some random part of their body like their head, shoulders, etc to make it more interesting. One specific kid who kinda looks like a troll kept pointing at his crotch whenever I would ask the kids to touch a different body part. We would exchange glances, he would point at his crotch and smile and I would shake my head. This went on for the rest of the game. Maybe I should call him Crotch Troll or something.
Another kid’s mission was to spell out a word with the letters he got. I didn’t know what he was going for at first. “S…E….hmmmm…oh.” When he obtained all the letters, he was super psyched that he was able to spell out SEXY. I was pretty impressed too; what are the odds of successfully capturing those specific letters? He kept yelling out “SEXY! SEXY!! Bonus points, right??” at me. I wish I could.
Bit by bit, I’m learning all of their names. I usually end up carrying my notebook and peeking at their English folders (which has their names in English) and write it down, with a personality quip next to them. That’s how I managed to learn my 2nd and 3rd year’s names and hopefully it’ll work this time too. They’re still a bit quiet but they’re slowly opening up to me. One kid randomly said to me “I like Diego!” with a smile on his face while he was eating lunch, which made me happy. And of course, there’s still some Manchez yelling going on as well. Silly kids.