My 3rd years will be graduating on March 14th, aka White Day. This year really has flown; I can still remember the lessons I “taught” them last spring! When they were 2nd years, I only knew a couple of them and most of them could care less about me. Nowadays, I have memorized all of their names, their personalities and a nice chunk of them are friendly with me. They might be awful with English and are noisy as hell, but I have come to enjoy their presence.
The male students really like me for some reason so I end up knowing them better than the girls. Kouki is still Kouki: a smartass with an attitude. We are usually butting heads during class and he’s always interrupting every teacher. He’s probably gotten worse but I’m so used to him that I can usually handle him when he’s out of control. He still continues to try to wrestle me down after class ends. The other day I was giving him a piggyback ride to the class. No 15 year old guy would do this back home with another teacher! I’ve been calling him C.K. recently—aka Craky Kouki. He’s not a big fan of it, but I don’t care.
One student I will never be able to read is Yuta. I regarded as Yuta as the biggest asshole of the 3rd years but there are some days where he’s actually trying to get better at English. It really confuses me because half of the time he is yelling during class about how much it sucks or is trying to do some prank. He even accidentally knocked my lunch over one day and replied with “That was your fault! How was I supposed to know you are there?” When he tries though, he is able to answer most questions we throw at the classroom. Maybe it’s because of the high school entrance exams but he’s been trying to do his best recently. We had all students do write mock essay and Yuta handed me this crudely written paragraph. Rather than just give it to me and waltz back to his seat, he watched me as I marked down all the mistakes. Instead of complaining, he would realize what he did wrong and would say things like “Ah, so it’s in that order huh?” or “Oh, what a dumb mistake I did.”
After I marked everything down he asked me “What grade would you give me?”
“Umm, 4 points (out of 8).”
“Wow, 4? That much? What about all the marks?”
“Sure, you made a lot of errors but I can tell what you were trying to say. And you’re actually trying.”
“Huh, so if I fixed everything, it would be passable?”
“Yeah, it would be a passable essay.”
“Awesome!!” he cheered and snatched his essay back. Maybe he thought he was doomed from the start and I gave him hope but I have never seen someone so psyched about giving the essay another go. The next week he came back to me with a better essay. While it wasn’t the best, it was definitely an improvement. I gave him another score (this time a bit higher) and he continued to get excited. I’m glad he’s pushing himself and hasn’t given up completely; if he tried his best, he could probably pass the English exam. We also had a listening mock exam that day and he aced it. I had never seen him so happy; he was even giving me high fives. I was super skeptical when he gestured me to give him one; he usually psyches me out or says “Hell no!” and laughs at me. I went for it for once and it was a genuine high five of success. I gave him a thumbs up later during class and he returned the gesture. Just when I thought he might have turned in a new leaf, I walked down the hallway later on and he looked at me and yelled “Disgusting!” He’ll always confuse me.
Tama-chan continues to be the stereotypical junior high girl. She’ll be yelling out things like “Nooooo! I don’t wanna study anymore! Argh, I’m so cold!! I This is impossible!” She might whine all day but at least she isn’t a jerk to me. For some reason, if she isn’t whining, I feel like the day is off.
Miku is probably the one that has changed the most though out of everyone. I remember when she would never talk to me. Now we are always communicating one way or another. She’s actually one of the few good kids that isn’t flunking every test. She might actually be too good—the questions she is asking me can be very difficult to answer because they are difficult grammar questions. She will read my hesitation too and say “Really? Are you sure??”
She is usually competing with Seira when it comes to test scores. Seira is a “half”—aka half Japanese. Her other half is American. Since her father is an American, she knows more English than most of the students. Miku gives her a run for her money though so maybe that’s why they’re always competing. When it comes to correcting their exams, they’re both always raising their hand, double checking incorrect answers. In the end, one of them is cheering with their arms in the air once the final results are in. They’re such dorks. I’ll probably miss Miku the most.
Her or Ash. Ash was always my fallback guy. Since he was always so interested in talking to me in English (even if his wasn’t the greatest), I felt like someone was getting something out of the lessons. During the hellish times I would eat lunch with my 3rd years, he would usually rescue me and we would eat lunch together with no stupid interruptions. I wonder how long his Pokemon obsession will last….
I can’t forget about JoKo and Misato. JoKo is always hilarious to talk to. One time, I went to the classroom and everyone was just staring at me. Miss Kitada was pretty late so I didn’t know what to do. JoKo eventually initiated conversation with me by saying “Yo! Diego! Ask me anything! English, OK!” What ensued was a “group conversation” between me and JoKo. I would ask him various questions and through the help of the rest of the 3rd years, JoKo would reply in English. This went on for a good ten minutes. I was amazed that everyone was focused on English. Eventually Miss Kitada came in and things went to hell again. I will never forget that moment though….I had them for a few minutes..!
Misato has probably gotten worse in terms of paying attention during class but she’s so friendly that I can’t be mad at her. She’ll always be chatting with me about random stuff. I would’ve never thought this was the same girl that would stare at me with a dead look last year. Funny how much things can change.
There are also the other guys in the class. I have some nicknames for them. Well, they’re not really my nicknames, they’re ones they sort of made. One day, one boy claimed to be Ben Johnson and that has been his name ever since. Every time I say Ben Johnson, he will give me a polite nod and a wave, as if he’s saluting a fan of his. Then there’ s Tony. One day, one of Tony’s friends called him Tony and I have been calling him that ever since. The joke here is that I “took” his name, so whenever his friends are around me, they’ll say, “Oh hey, Tatsuki! How are you doing?”
“Oh I’m doing fine. What about you, Tony?”
“No, no, I’m Tatsuki. You are Diego.”
“I am not Diego, my name is Tatsuki.”
“Then who is Diego??”
“I am Diego!!!!” a random guy will say. Tony used to protest but he’s given up and accepted the name, Tony. I’m a jerk, aren’t I? But they are too so I don’t care, haha.
Well, I only have a few weeks left with them and one more actual lesson. Despite how awful they are during class, I’ll miss ‘em.