Be Afraid… Be Very Afraid…
Here is the second in my Tuesday mini-series of reflections on my experiences in the JET Program, lazily culled from e-mails sent to friends and family at the time. This one was probably sent out… Octoberish?, 2003:
Since the last time I wrote, I’ve had a couple of significant firsts. I saw my sister get married for the first time, and taught my first class at an elementary school. One of these two events led to another first for me; that of being gang-violated by a group of Asian children. Can you guess which one? Those of you who guessed Lisa and Bryan’s wedding are absolutely correct: it was a part of their convention-smashing ceremony. No, just kidding. It happened at the elementary school.
If you’ll allow me to generalize based on only a week of teaching second and third graders: Japanese elementary students are more adorable than a large, hollowed-out marshmallow filled with kittens, and they are filled to the brim with energy and enthusiasm. But they are also completely insane. Sometimes their insanity is endearing in a strange way, like the girl that stood there and stroked my arm hair for five minutes, seemingly without joy, the way you might absentmindedly pet a cat that happened to be near you while you read a book. More often though, their insanity is more violent and looks like a munchkin riot. I had heard stories about mischievous little boys that viewed the nooks and crannies of the bodies of ALTs as their own personal worry stones, but I figured I could fend them off. I CAN fend off two or three, but throw half a dozen at me and it starts to get tough; after all, I only have two arms with which to push away these little sex offenders. But really, it wasn’t as bad you’re probably imaging. There’s always a Japanese teacher in the room with me, and they usually listlessly step in to restore order when the kids begin starting fires and turning over cars.
I had Monday off from work, because it was “Health and Sports Day” (a national holiday, apparently?). I don’t know about you, but I celebrated “Health and Sports Day” by sleeping until noon and watching TV. Today I’m back at work, and inexplicably have no classes. But thankfully they’re making up for lost time by having me in class for each and every period tomorrow. This will be the first time I’ve taught six classes in one day, and I’ll be going it at elementary school where adorable children will undoubtedly exploit my fatigue and work together to smother me to death.
Tune in next Tuesday for another one.