A byte of life from the Land of Sumos and Sushi

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Flip Reverse It

It's rare to find two posts about teaching so close together here on thefunkydurmmer, but after my recent rants about wanting to exterminate some annoying students, this afternoon I was completely thrown by a strange reversal of the situation.

Today I have my worst class of all, the dreaded 1-2. After last week’s less than enjoyable experiences, I found the prospect of having to teach this class was playing on my mind somewhat. However, I’d prepared a worksheet and I would just put up with it, after all, 50 minutes of shouting and getting pissed off is a small price to pay for the overall easy lifestyle out here.

However, the situation went from bad to worse when just ten minutes before the class, my Japanese teaching partner announced that she had a last minute meeting, and I would have to go it alone. Despite this being officially against our contracts I have been asked to hold the fort a couple of times before, but it’s never been for the dreaded 1-2 class.

My heart sank. These kids are hard enough to control when we’re double teaming, but on my own it was going to be suicide. I was being thrown to the piranhas and I wasn’t happy about it.

But just to show me that Japan always has a little trick up its sleeve, somehow, instead of being devoured alive, the class ended up being incredibly fun. The kids were quiet, fairly responsive and overall much better behaved than I’d seen them in a long time. We even got talking about nick names, and I discovered that mine is the rather unimaginative, yet inoffensive “Ham Sensei”. In the past I've left that class wishing I never had to teach them again, but today I enjoyed it, and I saw a new side to the students I always saw as trouble makers.

It seemed that in the absence of my Japanese teaching partner, the dynamics were altered, and the kids decided to behave better which I find rather strange, seeing they could have gone berserk and I would have been almost completely powerless to stop them.

It’s something I’ve noticed before here in Japan, that just when you think you’ve got it all worked out, something happens to make you realise you don’t know the score at all. Classes seem to continually change their nature; a good class can turn bad, bad kids can turn good, and good kids can become the new bad kids. It’s a mystery to me, but all I can do is ride out the storm or enjoy the good weather while it lasts, because next week it’s all change.


Anonymous reddog said...

Hey dude nice post. I always found the kids miles better when the JTE was awol. encourage it so it can happen again

Friday, November 11, 2005 11:01:00 am


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