Sometimes Ignoring is Bliss

Today I had to teach my worst group of students. They started the class off by insulting me.

After I entered the classroom, the bad student with the “whatta ya gonna do aboudit?” attitude muttered that he’d been informed by his homeroom teacher that if he didn’t turn in his homework at the beginning of class he’d have to meet me at lunch and do his work. I also tried to remind him but he tried to ignore me.

After got his attention he said “nice joke” and that that prompted the rest of the class to start saying “joke” and to start calling me “Jason,” after Atsugiri Jason, an American in the IT industry who’s become a popular comedian by poking fun at the absurdity of the Japanese alphabets. (For example, the kanji for one, two and three are 一、二、三 and the number of strokes match the numbers in a nice pattern. But four 四 has five strokes. After he points this out he shouts his catch phrase “Why, Japanese people!”)

They called me Jason, I guess, because I’m a white foreigner and we apparently all look alike.

The name Jason stuck most of the rest of the class. They even tried calling me over for help by calling me Jason. I entered a blissful zen state (a very, very rare occurrence) and I ignored them until the used my name. (I also don’t respond to “teacher” or “sensei” so I had a lot of practice at this. I also ignored the three “fuck you’s” that were muttered. I caught one student and told him if he said it again, the entire class would get homework and I’d keep them all after school until they finished. (Note, because this was a junior high class, I can’t send students out of the room for things like that.) (Second note: the “fuck you’s” and most of the “Jasons” stopped after that.)

Somewhere in there, most of the students actually got work done. A few others adopted the usual “I don’t understand therefore it’s free time” attitude and did very little.

I collected all the worksheets and then reminded my bad student about our lunch appointment. I then reminded his homeroom teacher about it. (Long story short: the student showed up, eventually and eventually finished his homework.)

Now I have to back off a bit. I don’t want to keep dragging the homeroom teacher into the battle (and will probably buy him lunch to thank him) and I can’t pull the homework card all the time.

The precedent, however, has been established and that’s often all I need.


4 thoughts on “Sometimes Ignoring is Bliss

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