Okay, so a little bit about teaching at my school. For purposes of privacy, I won't say which school I teach at or where, but my school is in an area we call “inaka” in Japanese. “Inaka” roughly translates to “bum fuck nowhere.” While I technically am contracted by a city, I actually live in a town near the city that the city sort of... ate a few years ago. For economic reasons. So I live in this “city” but I actually live in a sad little town near it (thankfully it's just a twenty minute train ride for me to get into the downtown part of the city – otherwise I'd go psychotic). So, because this is a sad little town, the kids who live here are... well... they're not very high achieving. I mean, what reason do they really have to study? They'll either wind up working on a farm, working in a convenience store, a hardware store, or something else local. At best, they'll move downtown and have a more steady job in a small office or company. That's all they really have to look forward to. So they don't care. They're very reminiscent of inner-city school children in America.
So let's discuss the students. Again, for privacy reasons, no names will be used. I'll use nicknames for everything like I usually do on the blog.
At my school, first year children are around eleven and twelve years old, and some are even thirteen. Some of them are very tiny still, and they're generally very cute and friendly, but also a bit... dull. And they don't hate learning English yet. By the second year, the kids are twelve and thirteen years old, and some are even fourteen (middle school in Japan is a little later than it is in America). They're getting bigger and their attitude is beginning to appear. They're starting to realize school is futile and possibly irrelevant. High school isn't required in Japan, so some of them might even think or know they won't go anywhere past middle school. For the most part, they're still fairly calm and not too rude, though they don't like learning English anymore. However, some of the second years are showing signs of Third Yearism. The students who will become the major problem children of third year are already beginning to bare their teeth. Some students are beginning to talk back, yell, get rowdy, and act like, um........ assholes.
Then there's the third years. My Hellspawn. They're out of control monsters. I get the feeling even their regular teachers have given up on them. One of my classes is actually known for children escaping and fleeing the classroom. Most of the kids talk back in the middle of class and only use casual and derogatory language with the teachers.
Let's meet some of the students, shall we?
Let's start with Kabocha. Kabocha is a small Japanese squash like a pumpkin. I call this girl Kabocha because “kabocha” seems to be the code word for when she gets out of hand. She's at least thirteen but still very tiny – probably under five feet tall. During class, she will shout and yell things at the teacher, but her favorite pastime is jumping up during class and running around. At one point, she jumped up and started pulling her shorts off, at which point the teacher yelled, “kabocha!” Oddly enough, though she acts like a little bitch to me during class, she's really nice to me outside of class, which I don't really understand. The first encounter I had with her, I was walking to class and she was standing outside the door. As I went by, in English she continually shouted, “Pretty! Pretty!” at me. To be honest, I thought she was being sarcastic, but she's actually nice to me outside of class, so I guess she was serious. In class, however... she's like that little girl from the Exorcist.
Let's meet Thing 1 and Thing 2. These two boys are best friends. They're about fourteen and it shows. They're both around six feet tall and very gangly. They're like a team. If one of them starts yelling, the other one is guaranteed to follow suit. Perhaps y'all remember Thing 1 and Thing 2 from a previous post I had? They're the boys who were acting out during the opening ceremony. Even after getting physically punished, Thing 2 couldn't give a shit, and Thing 1 curled up in a ball on the floor when a teacher came by and pretended to be scared. They're monsters, the two of them. After class, my teacher apologized for the fact that we have two “urusai” boys in that class (“urusai” meaning “noisy” and “obnoxious.” When yelled at someone, it also means, “shut up!”).
Next up, let's meet Perv – another student approaching six feet tall, with hair that sticks straight up. I call him Perv because the only thing he ever thinks about is me and the possibility of me having a boyfriend. Unfortunately for me, he sits in the front row (this is fixed. In Japan, school kids stay in the same class all year and sit in fixed seats). When I asked if students had any questions, he immediately asked if I had a boyfriend. Just to be funny, I said no and acted all offended. He got very excited and started exclaiming that I am now his boyfriend. I just shrugged, because I'd been warned that Japanese middle school boys love to tell White, female English teachers they're now boyfriend and girlfriend. But then he decided I must be dating the male teacher and started demanding to know if I was hot for teacher. I acted horrified and adamantly refused, which got a lot of laughs, at least. He asked what I think of the teacher and I just said, “I think he's a great teacher.” The teacher said, “of course she loves me.” Siiiiiiiiiigh. After class, Perv followed me down the hall exclaiming over and over that I'm now his girlfriend. Whatever, kid.
Now let's meet Tommy Boy. This is the fat, trouble-making student at the back of one of my classes. I think he might have severe ADD because he seems to be in the back, off to the side, away from the other students. When we went on a field trip, he seemed to get special treatment. Anyways, he's another one who shouts continuously and makes a habit of scooting his desk and chair all over the classroom while we're trying to teach. My teacher has found that whacking him on the head is the only affective way of dealing with him, but the kid always winds up about twenty feet across the room by the end of class.
My least favorite student is one I like to call Brute. He's an angry looking kid with a buzz-cut. His eyebrows are always furrowed into an angry scowl and he never talks, only yells. He sits by the door and stares outside instead of listening. Even when he yells something out of turn, he's still staring out the door. The moment class ends, he rushes to the doorway and just stands there, scowling. I'm assuming he's one of the kids who likes to escape. He makes me uncomfortable. I'm guessing he beats up other kids behind the school.
However, the all-time champion troublemaker so far is a student I like to call VK Kid. Yes, I mean VK as in Visual-Kei. I call him VK Kid because he appears to be going for the Visual-Kei look as much as humanly possible (and as much as the school will let him get away with). He styles his hair in the VK style with the back sticking up and the bangs plastered down over one eye. He also has these sneaky highlights that are almost invisible to the eye unless he turns his head a certain way. What's more, I do believe he's plucking his eyebrows. He's really tiny – he's fourteen but puberty hasn't hit so he's only about five feet tall. Still, the arched, plucked eyebrows make him look strangely menacing. Well, maybe not menacing... more like sinister and cunning, lol. My first encounter with him was... shocking, to say the least. This is how it went down:
VK Kid: [walks up to me in the hallway]
VK Kid: [mumbles something]
VK Kid: [glances at the floor] [mumbles something]
Me: What? [bends down to hear better]
VK Kid: [looks furious] [suddenly starts shouting] EI-GO WA SHA-BE-RE-MA-SEN! (Translaion: I DO NOT SPEAK EN-GLISH!) [storms away]
During class, however, VK Kid seemed to be one of the better students. He wasn't shouting and making a ruckus like some of the others (one of his classmates threw a table during class, and another one suddenly lashed out and started strangling the student in front of him). Instead, VK Kid just sat there playing with his hair and gazing out the window. I figured he was just a troubled but quiet student.
How wrong I was.
Our school took a field trip to a Noh play. All the students were supposed to be properly dressed in their uniforms to make a good impression. VK Kid didn't give a shit. Before he entered the building, a teacher had to chase him down and force his shirt back into his pants. For some reason, as I passed the bus VK Kid was on, he flung open a window and screamed, “HI!” at me as loud as he could. Huh?!! During the play, he kept reaching behind his seat and stealing stuff off the lap of the girl behind him. Eventually, he fell asleep on his friend and stayed asleep for most of the play. He woke up in time to punch his friend. During intermission, he strode over to the teachers' section where I was sitting. The teacher I was sitting next to had gotten up to take a break. VK Kid stood next to me and started demanding over and over to know who was sitting next to me. I just stared back at him in confusion until a teacher rushed over and shooed him away. Also, unbeknownst to the teachers, VK Kid was carrying around his favorite towel. He brings it everywhere with him. It's a black towel with pink skulls all over it (for the record, VK Kid is convinced the skulls are red, not pink. I'm not going to be the one to break it to him, lol). After the play, in the parking lot, a teacher finally noticed the towel. She reached out and grabbed it from him, but VK Kid didn't let go. He whipped around and started screaming and pulling the towel back from her. From there, VK Kid and the teacher had a two-minute tug-of-war match in the parking lot. VK Kid won. He yanked the towel away and stormed off with the teacher yelling at him. Then she had to chase him down because she noticed he'd rolled his pants up.
So that's VK Kid. He's the champion so far, though Thing 1 and Thing 2 are definitely competing for the top spot.
And those are my students. Sounds like a pleasure, doesn't it? I'm torn because, on the one hand, the first years are nice, but... they're also kinda, um.......... boring. The third years are like a pack of hyenas on steroids but... they're also really funny and interesting. Which is worse, I wonder?
To my misery, the staff room also happens to be on the floor of the third years, so even just going to the bathroom is like approaching a dragon's den.
Next update, DIAURA one-man! This one's gonna be goooood.