As the school year progresses, anecdotes will appear. Here are some of the more memorable ones.
I’m starting to get to know my 6th graders more. A lot of them are dicks but some of them are interesting. There is one particular boy that comes up to me and says “Hello Diego! Japanese police!” and points to himself.
“Really?” I ask.
“YES! Be careful!”
Later, when we are playing a card exchanging game, he slips this little note to me. Originally I thought it was going to say something gross (that’s just most boys from this school are) but I took it anyway. The contents were pretty funny:
As I predicted, my new 5th graders have become my new favorite class to hang out with. They say some of the weirdest things sometimes. For example, we had just finished a lesson on greetings from all over the world. One that always intrigues them is Kenya’s “Jambo”. While we were eating lunch, one of my students was trying to remember it.
“Diego, what’s Kenya’s greeting again? I always forget.”
“I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a Ja…”
“Whaaat?” The entire class bursts into laughter. Ichika jumps into the conversation with by saying “Why would a COUNTRY’S NAME be a greeting? JAPAN!”
Now every time I walk by their classroom Ichika or some other kid will wave at me and yell “Japan!” I guess they now have their own personal greeting.
Chika-sensei has switched from a 4th grade teacher to a 1st grade one. Not only that, but she is the tantou of English this year, aka the person in charge. Usually when it comes to elementary schools, if there is an English tantou, the best you will see them do is give you your schedule for the semester and a half-assed lesson plan. Half the time I’m not even aware that there are English tantous. In fact, I wasn’t even aware that my Wednesday school had one until Chika-sensei pointed it out.
Chika-sensei is a blessing. She’s the ideal coworker you want to have, and an ideal tantou. Every week I will see her nicely decorated board telling me my schedule and will give me any memos in case something comes up. When all the schools were ordering more materials, she plopped a huge catalogue and told me I could order just about anything I wanted. She offers to help me whenever she sees me doing something in the office. She asks me at the end of the day how my day went and if there were any issues I had with anything. SHE IS AMAZING.
“So Diego, you really don’t have any issues?”
“No….I’m still kinda shocked.”
“Shocked? About what?? Please, tell me if you have any problems!!”
“No it’s not that. It’s that, I never had a tantou that cared so much about my job. Hell, I don’t even know who my tantous are at my other schools.”
My vice principal immediately starts laughing out loud from the comment. You would think that all of these things would be simple expectations, but sadly it isn’t. Some schools have a long way to go when it comes to the English department. However, with people like Chika-sensei around, I have some hope for the future.
My best stories still come from junior high school. One day, I was giving my new 3rd years a quiz on famous landmarks. I pulled out a picture of Machu Picchu and asked “Okay, so what’s this?”
Kimiya shot up with excitement and started waving his hand like crazy. “Oh Mr. Diego! I know! I definitely know this!”
“Oh Kimiya! Go for it! What is it?”
“It’s….LAPUTA!” I couldn’t control my laughter. The fact that he mistook my country’s famous landmark with a fictional floating island was awesome. I am completely okay with that. Actually, I could kind of see the resemblance:
“YOU ARE KIDDING!” Maido naturally yelled out.
Now that our classes are split into two, I can tell Maido’s energy is infectious; every class we have her in is an amusing one compared to the one without her. She always yells out in excitement when we have a game or gets waaay into the games itself by accusing players of cheating or saying “That’s such a half-assed answer! Come up with a better one!”
Nowadays, every time I ask how they’re feeling during the greetings routine, she answers with “I’m very happy!”
“Why is that, Maido?”
“Because, today is ARASHI DAY! (link) Every Thursday is Arashi Day! Two…shows!”
“Two TV shows are on today? Well, I hope you are doing your homework before the shows.”
“ARE YOU KIDDING?” Oh, Maido.
Another day I was handing out stickers for the 2nd years for doing a good job with their presentations. Ayaka was really happy about getting one. “Now, where should I put it…” she mumbled to herself. I ended up watching her figure out where to place her new prize; it took a whopping five minutes for her to finally decide to put it on the middle of her folder under the word “English”. She put it on different places multiple times but shook her hand and unpeeled it. It’s amazing how into it they get when it comes to stickers.