Friday, October 12, 2007

My Worst Student, and his Lieutenant

My worst student is twice as big as the other children. He only wears bright, color-matched athletic clothing and has a square head.

His voice is shrill but also has the bottom-end to project.

Sometimes he laughs, sometimes he cries, usually he yells. If he's happy, he kicks the wall. If he's unhappy, he punches it.

I once posited that he must sleep a lot. I can't imagine how much energy it takes to be yelling, walking around, and getting into violent altercations with your peers every moment you're awake.

My co-worker asked the bad student's sister. She confirmed that he did in fact go to bed completely spent after each day. Being a little bastard ain't easy.

This student is the only speed bump between me and the weekend. He's in my last class of the day. Imagine my delight when I discovered he would be absent today. Apparently he had a school trip, and was so exhausted from misbehaving for 8 hours straight that he couldn't make it to English class.

I was ecstatic, and when class started, it was silent as a tomb. Unfortunately, this student's second in command--the reigning children's judo champion in Miyagi--arrived five minutes late, assessed the situation, and really stepped up his game.

He had to be as loud as two people tonight--a task he handled with aplomb. In fact, he went above and beyond the call of duty when he kicked the cardboard box I was holding into my face.

I lost it. I felt, for the first time in my life, pure and unspoiled rage. The kid saw it in my eyes too, and looked absolutely terrified as he imagined things getting really bad really fast for him. It only lasted for a second, and I smiled at him, and we went back to our regularly scheduled program of him talking and me yelling at him.

Still, this was a new experience for me. Parents reading out there: did you experience your first bout of epic rage as a result of your children? These little people can be a wee bit frustrating at times. I wonder what the correlation between teachers and the number of children they have is?


Matthew O said...

Wow, Nate rage? I have only heard the tales, but I never knew that it truly existed. It feels like my eyes have been opened for the first time.

Also, it sucks that you got kicked in the face with only a cardboard box protecting it.

Nate said...

Still, better to be kicked with a cardboard box than to have your balls grabbed or your ass skewered on the hands of a tiny Japanese minion of satan. This culture is seriously demented. Look up "Kancho" when you get a chance.

Sam said...

Kancho is to the oil check what the devastator is to the shocker.
In other words, it's nothing new; just an inevitable incremental improvement on an old classic.

When you first got to Japan, did they tell you to ask for the check in restaurants by saying "Kancho kudasai"?

Tom said...

My first real rage was in the classroom in Japan, with kids the same age as you are describing and more than any I experienced with my own kids. The worst students would sneak up behind me and slam their clasped hands together in an upward motion into my crotch screaming "kanchan!" though now I know they were saying "kancho!". Thanks Sam!

Nate said...

Hm, perhaps "Kanchan" is a regional dialect?

Sam- No, they didn't, but now I will to every new teacher I meet.

Grif Frost said...

Aloha Nate! As you may or may not know our first business was ESL schools and TK is a good friend of ours..we had 3500 students in 17 school and 5000 teaching techniques in our teaching manual...I personally taught 10000 classes, mainly yochien classes in my first 4 years....rewarding yet favorite student control technique was the "up against the wall above my head" hold which always got the "bad boys" to pay attention...couldn't do that in the US...Andrea shared the blog with me..I reach out to Kristin who I dearly love but for whatever reason she chooses not to e-mail address is or four of our children are in Hilo now and Big Time FUN! hmmmm...Uncle Grif?