Those of you entertaining the idea that I’m a good and effective teacher, please read on.

Recently my second-year junior high school students (13/14-year-olds) have been less than model students.  The intimidation they experienced as first-years at the bottom of the food chain is gone, but the stressful panic of high school entrance exams is still more than a year away.  Basically, without something to be afraid of, they won’t behave at all.

Even one of my best students, Y-chan, has turned into a dirty little punk.  When I noticed a box filled with tiny pieces of something on her desk, she explained to me that to stave off boredom during class, she painstakingly cuts up her erasers into rice-sized chunks then throws them at her classmates.   English class receives no reprieve from this practice, so holding the attention of Y-chan or anyone within launching distance is near impossible.  To remedy my frustration, if not the problem, I’ve starting taking a handful of eraser bits before class, then during class throwing them at students who aren’t paying attention.

Another blow to my teaching confidence was dealt by E-kun, a third-grader with a knack for bluntness, if not for English.  The little booger came up to me after class one day and said verbatim, but in Japanese, “Mackensie-sensei, today’s lesson wasn’t very fun.  Next time I want to play tag in the gym or somewhere we can run around.”  Thank you, E-kun, for the performance review.  I did take his advice though, and we played tag during our next lesson.  The kids had a lot of fun, but I’m pretty sure they learned zero English that day.

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