New week, so new school. This time around it is my favorite; Nakamaru-Chu. This week I am only doing morning classes because of it being the week before sports day, which is a big deal for them, so actual academics grinds to a halt for a week for students to do something far more important… Like… throwing hackey sack balls into a basket on the end of a pole. It makes my week incredibly easy though. I am only teaching the 3rd year students in the morning and being pimped off to an Elementary school in the afternoon. Since I rarely go to Elementary schools, and when I do I usually go for a day and won’t be back for half a year, I honestly can do whatever I want with no fear of consequence. I break every rule I can think of in, get the kids pumped up, and bow out. Yup… I go full on Bill Murray at the Elementary schools….
Anyways, now for the English teacher dramatis personae of Nakamaru-Chu:
Mrs. Willow– She is a lovely older woman who speaks English quite fluently. It’s too bad her students hate her guts. She has no bond with the kids at all, and so they try to ignore her most of the time. When I come, they are pretty respectful and try. But more often than not, they completely miss the point since they don’t have the tools or patience to use the structure in anything more than a rote way. She tries really hard to be cheerful, but its forced. The kids see it, and it actually pushes them away further. She is pretty strict in her lessons, and is open to me being creative with the lesson, but often changes things in my presentations that she isn’t comfortable with.
Mrs. Brown– She is another older woman who speaks fluently, but is the polar opposite of Mrs. Willow. She is bright, talkative and has a close bond with her students. She is also pretty hard to keep on task. When I have class with her, I can guarantee I won’t get to my final activity. Her students are more engaged than Mrs. Willow’s despite this, and even though Mrs. Brown’s lessons are an academic disaster, they accomplish more than Mrs. Willow.
Mr. Booker– An extremely friendly and personable man… who should never be allowed near children. Not in any nasty way, but because he is marginally, and only marginally, better than picking up a homeless man off the street and tasking him to teach English. He often makes glaring English mistakes that the students catch, and laugh at him. Not with him, but at him… Like he is some idiot clown. He doesn’t have a connection with the kids because he doesn’t know how. He just forces a smile and a fake, nervous laugh. His body of work is so riddled with errors that more experienced head English teachers have had him redo tests. He tries to help, and it’s really nice of him to do so, but he is the type to unknowingly pick up a bucket of kerosene to put out a fire.
Mrs. Jones– She is the full package; Cute, smart, highly intelligent, confident, curious and most importantly really good at teaching…. And she is a newish teacher to boot! She bonds easily with the kids and they respond really well to her. It’s always fun to be in a class with her. The only weird thing about her is that when she talks, her salivary glands go into overdrive. It can happen when you are trying to form sounds that are unfamiliar to what you would naturally make. This has the effect of making her speech exceptionally wet sounding and creating the occasional bubble or two. I must admit, I can get a bit doey eyed around her, but I smack myself with a figurative cold reality shower after.
Mrs. Ren– Because she is so tightly wound, she is like Ren from Ren and Stimpy. When I speak to her, she nearly jumps out of her skin with nervous ticks, giggles and laughs. She is like that with the students too. I hope she loosens up, or she will explode… spectacularly.
Mrs. Brownstone– So small, she blends in with most of the tiniest first year students, but don’t let appearances fool you. She is harder than a box of coffin nails. She used to work at a rough school and was transferred to this really nice school where she can just relax and not tear up any misbehaving kid. At an assembly, I joked with her that she looked bored standing in one place. She thought that was funny too and responds with something like “It’s just so easy!” She isn’t all wolverine and scorpion fire, she is actually a competent teacher that gets along well with the students and who also doesn’t take any shit. When the big kids try to push her around, I always think of this scene… context is totally different, but the big guy running and Mrs. Brownstone takin care of business… has me grinning ear to ear. Have you ever seen a really small person chase off a much much bigger one? I mean really?