Elementary My Dear Watson
I had my first visit to an Elementary (primary) school the other day. The first thing I noticed when I pulled into the car park was a lone child walking across the play area on stilts. “Odd”, I thought to myself, but continued inside. As I walked down the corridor I was confronted by a row of unicycles. “What is this place? – some sort of mad circus training school for midgets?” I said to myself.
The Japanese primary school kids are tiny. But do not make the mistake of underestimating their power in numbers. At break time, they insisted I play with them, “no problem” I thought, “I can handle a bunch of tiddlers”. However - how wrong I was. First they chased me, and for a while, I ducked and dived, dodged and weaved, completely evading capture, but like a fox being hunted by hounds, they slowly wore me down, until I could run no more. Then like a swarm of giant ants, they attacked me. I was completely overwhelmed by the little blighters but there was nothing I could do, they crawled, clung and clambered all over me, went through my pockets, grabbed by legs, pined my arms, touched my hair, pulled my shirt, at first I tried to hold them off, but there was too many of them and I was powerless to stop the relentless onslaught. I was eventually rescued by another teacher – but by then the damage had been done, and I was left a quivering wreck.
They were incredibly energetic, and the lessons were great fun, apart from when I made one girl cry. Obviously asking her to repeat the number 14, was just too much, and she broke down in tears. Apart from that I had them dancing a round the classroom to the sounds of Side Effect, and they even played me touching piece they had been practicing on their recorders.
I only have one Elementary school visit per term, which frankly, is quite enough as it will take me till next term to recover. However, some ALT’s do this everyday - rezpect is due.