Pokemon has always been popular in schools. Junior high is no exception. While the students are more cool about it, everyone seems to be a fan. So it was only natural that I started throwing in some Pokemon into my English lessons. They were always a hit and Mrs. Kitada seemed to notice. We were going to study about future tesnse (I will be) and combine it with past tense. Mrs. Kitada thought we could somehow implement Pokemon into the mix.
“Do you think it’s possible?” she asked. “I know Pokemon have evolution forms so maybe we can do something like, ‘Yesterday I was this Pokemon. Tomorrow, I will be the name of the next evolution form!”
“It’s a bit of a stretch but yeah, I think we could.” I replied.
And so before I knew it, I was printing off various pictures of Pokemon and their evolution forms. Mr. Taichi and Mrs. Kitada stopped by and we had a silly conversation about Pokemon. Mr. Taichi and I had an interesting time talking about the first-generation Pokemon. Since he played it around the same time I did, we were basically having a nostalgia fest as well as trying to figure out the name differences between Japan and the U.S. versions. Poor Mrs. Kitada had no idea what we were talking about.
Somehow the entire school staff jumped in the conversation. Talking about Pokemon with my entire Japanese school staff was something I’d never would’ve been able to predict when I first got here but it was very magical.
Mrs. Kitada thought our conversation was so interesting that she asked me to implement it to the lecture somehow. I agreed, seeing that I was fascinated at how some Pokemon were named in Japanese, the kids would probably feel the same with English.
Finally, the day of the lesson begins. I was a bit skeptical because my second years aren’t exactly the greatest kids (how much they have changed since the old days…! *sniff*). However, I was somewhat shocked that they were listening quite attentively to my lecture. This is how it turned out:
Me: The char in Charmander means “to burn”. The mander part is..
Student A: Salamander?
Me: Yes! And the meleon in Charmeleon is from chameleon.
Everyone: Ohh, that makes sense.
Me: Finally, the izard from Charizard is…
Mrs. Kitada: This is way too difficult!
Everyone (at once): No it isn’t.
It turned out so great that that part of the lecture made its way into the midterm exam. I think I will not hit a higher note of my teaching career in Japan than that, haha.