Is It Really So Funny?

by

Eighth grade girls around the world seem to have a unique skill of laughing at you in a completely deflating manner. Monday a group of girls was laughing exerytime I turned my back to write on the chalkboard. They were so animated and the tone of their whispers so subtly vicious, that I was convinced I had sat in something that left an embarrassing mark on my seat.

Finally, I asked them what was so funny. Surprisingly they answered me; normally, such a question is treated with blank looks. Dozing on his desk made a nearby boy the subject of their amusement. I tried to calm them by pointing out that this was not unusual: he sleeps on his desk every time. Naturally, this brought more laughter.

When I first started teaching at the school, I tried to make all the students sit up and pay attention. Observing how the Japanese teachers let most of the kids sleep, I decided to follow their example. Many of the kids have sports club activities before and after school, and go to evening cram schools. General attitudes in Japan seem to lean toward three to five hours of sleep being sufficient. All of these factors give me a certain pity for the kids which prevents me from forcing them to stay awake. (ACLU would consider it a violation of Geneva Conventions anyhow.)

Also, as long as they are not a distraction to the learning environment, I feel that everyone makes their own decisions. Choosing not to learn is one of those decisions. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. I do try to make the water look as inviting as possible though.

Near the end of the class I was walking around checking worksheets. All three girls had finished their sheets perfectly and quickly, even though it required thinking outside the box. They wanted to chat with me a bit and were very flattering. I was glad that they were doing well in class and that they didn’t consider me the subject of ridicule, but more importantly…

…I was glad my butt wasn’t dirty.

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2 Responses to “Is It Really So Funny?”

  1. sunkissd1 Says:

    You could’ve just as easily assumed they were giggling because they thought your butt was cute. I’m sure Squid can’t manage to get her Science labs completed and has no idea how to go about doing things as well as missing key pieces of information and instructions because she’s busy doing what you’ve described.

    I think you handled the situation well and the kids will remember you in a fond way.

  2. びっくり Says:

    As I age and slack off, that is one of the few body parts that still maintains its shape – thanks to many bike trips hither and thither. Last night I started driving and I’m sure everything will go to pieces now. 😉

    There are a few girls who I am sure have a kind of crush on me. I think I wrote about the time that some of the 9th graders suggested I should date one of them who had no boyfriend. I didn’t bother trying to explain the legal issues or work ethic issues to them. I just said, “She’s kind of young.” Then I reminded them of my age, which got them on the whole tangent of wondering how someone almost three times their age could still be alive.

    When a boy and a girl are incessantly talking together, I usually ask them very politely to wait until after class to talk to their significant other. Hopefully this embarrasses them enough to shut them up without crossing the line to bullying. If they loudly exclaim, “Chigau!!!” (literally, ‘different’, meaning “No Way!”) then I say, “Oh, I’m sorry I misunderstood. It’s just that when you do that it looks that way…”

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