10-7-04 School updates
I am at Tanigawa with a light schedule today, only one class. It is both good and bad. I prefer to keep busy around here, so having around 7 hours to entertain myself is a bit annoying. I thought I would have 3 classes, but the two first grade classes were canceled. It gave me time to work on my project for tomorrow’s special lesson with the third graders. It is on cultural differences and I am speaking on the house. Here are the high points
Can wear shoes in American homes
Many people display the American flag (few Japanese display the flag)
Sleep on beds not futons
Rarely sit on the floor
Rarely eat on the floor
Do not have tatami mats (though I wish we did)
Everything is big
Many homes have basements, which is virtually unheard of here
The bathtub and toilet are in the same room, same as above
Have a yard!
Special lessons are an interesting idea. Kids are allowed to pick one subject to study more in depth, and have a special lesson a few times a week. So, in theory, when I am in special lesson I am with the kids that want to learn English the most, in reality sometimes I think only 5 kids here really want to learn English.
There is this one annoying kid, whom in my mind I have named, Annoying Kid or AK. I do not appreciate AK’s antics. He is never in class except when I am around. Which stinks because I just want him to leave! He has two volumes: inappropriately loud and exceptionally inappropriately loud. He is particularly nasty to the second grade English teacher Takeda-sensei, whom I think is really cool and a good teacher. I have seen him push her, grab things out of her hand, hit her lightly, spray her with hairspray in the face, and blatantly disregard what she says. He is a bully and a jerk. He hits the fellow students and is unmerciful in his taunts to them and just is an all around looser. He has also thrown an eraser at my head. He missed because he can’t even do that right. He was forced to apologize which he did in his usual loud obnoxious voice. He wasn’t even in the class I was teaching! He just walked in threw the eraser at me and left! It was crazy. For all his actions he is handed down the sternest punishment this school system can give, yes AK has had a STERN LOOKING AT! He just treats everyone like crap, and that really annoys me. I just don’t understand this educational system, at all. I don’t understand how kids can just be allowed to treat other students and staff like this. I admit I think American schools are a bit too heavy handed. I don’t care if kids sleep in class, I don’t care if they don’t even show up, that is their loss, they are worse because of it. But I draw the line when kids start to ruin it for other people, when you stop screwing yourself over and start messing it up for you and other people that gets my ire up. But I guess it could be worse. Christina, an Osaka-fu JET I met at orientation, said one of her teachers asked a girl to stop chew gum. She asked several times the girl refused, the teacher asked again, the girl decided the only solution was to repeatedly punch the teacher in the face and then kick her when she was on the ground. Nothing happened to the student. The teacher went to the hospital (but keep in mind Japan doesn’t really have doctors’ offices as Americans know, them just hospitals) I only say that to indicate the teacher was not hurt in a way that an American would be compelled to go to the hospital, they would see a regular doctor. But I find this Mega light years (Mly) beyond acceptable. It is mind numbing to think that a student could do this to a respected member of the community and have nothing happen to them. But perhaps more shocking is, since the system carries no real teeth, why don’t more kids act like this?