By Mister Terry
A look into my typical Junior High School Eighth grade class:
0:00: The bell rings. Everybody is huddled around the heaters on the sides of the room. The baseball players are sitting in each other’s laps and massaging one another. The girls are all laughing and play slapping each other while comparing this weekend’s purikura
0:01-0:02: JTE comes into the room and tells everybody that the bell has rung and they have to sit down. Everybody meanders to their seats. The girls who were laughing only sixty seconds ago have now assumed the napping position.
0:03-0:04: The JTE starts class and reminds them that I am here. They show their enthusiasm with a half-mumbled “Guh.” I proclaim “GOOD MORNING!” A couple of boys face plant at my sheer awesomeness.
0:05-0:10: The JTE begins making example sentences with today’s grammar point. The boys in the middle-back-left corner have begun a full-on conversation. I imagine it is about how fascinating the English language is…
0:10-0:12: My mind begins to wander. I think about emails I have to write later. I focus on a yoga breathing technique to reduce stress that I learned from — The JTE catches me off guard and asks me for an example sentence. Luckily I prepared it beforehand, like a Boss!
0:13-0:24: The JTE says that he will be explaining everything in Japanese and asks if it is okay. I nod deferentially.
My job now is to smile over-enthusiastically and stand by the irritating kids. My unstated purpose is to make the Chatty Cathys uncomfortable.
0:25: I need to pee.
0:26: I look up at the clock. Time moves so slowly in this classroom.
0:27-0:29: I walk around the room and encourage the kids by saying that I am sleepy, too. I ask them what time class finishes. They don’t know and begin calculating how much time is left. I remind them that lunch is getting closer and that we’re in this together. I ask them what is for lunch. They don’t know. Sigh.
0:30: I look back at the clock: only three minutes have elapsed. Wait, seriously?
0:31-0:40: I read that you should meditate for ten minutes a day and just let your mind wander. I choose 0:31-0:40 to fulfill today’s requirements.
0:41: Two boys walk into class. They are the too-cool-for-school punks who smell like fresh chimneys. Just in time for lunch. Bravo, gentlemen!
0:42: I really have to pee! Emergency Lamaze breathing technique to the rescue.
0:43-0:49: Now, we are doing reading practice. I read a sentence. The students repeat. Total participation: 30% of class. I look at the clock: five minutes left. I start chanting, “Yes, we can!” to my students. They smile.
0:50: Final bell rings. I start high fiving kids. The JTE is preparing to officially end the class. Kids are already out of their seats and in the hallway.
I am running to the teacher’s bathroom, which is inconveniently located on the other side of school, because I have learned the hard way that eighth grade Japanese boys don’t believe in urinal privacy
The start of another exciting week in my JHS.