That Thing Which You Had to Do

I survived teaching at the elementary school with no injuries and it’s got me thinking about if enjoying something, more or less, and being good at it, is worth being forced to do it.

I was lucky to have good train connections and, much to my surprise, the trains I was on were not crowded even though they were major arteries to Tokyo. In fact, the platforms and stations were more crowded than the trains. That put me in a good mood as I expected to be quietly killing people in order to get air. (Not that I would ever do that but if you’ve ever been in a train crush, it does cross your mind…)

Getting to the school was also easy, even though I went out the wrong exit.

I discovered, once I got to the school, that all the materials I was expecting to have weren’t actually available so I had to improvise a few things on the spot.

I taught four classes in a row (with fourth graders and third graders) and the school has had enough regular English lessons that the students are reasonably well behaved (although my first class began with a teacher yelling at a student and escorting him out of class) and the homeroom teachers know how to help and, because of the nature of the contract, they are actually able to help. (Long story.) The students are also able to follow English instructions, within reason and do not attempt to harm the teacher by attempting to insert fingers in his rectum or testing the ability of his genitals to withstand blunt force trauma.

Students approached me to ask my name and only one expressed disappointment I wasn’t the guy who taught yesterday. One student played an impromptu game of red light-green light with me in the hallway while I was waiting for my next class. Whenever I tried to talk to him, he just stared and didn’t move and when I looked away, moved closer.

I also had fun eating the flavorless school lunch with the second graders. Two girls tried to avoid choking while the class clown put on a show.

Even though I had fun, I couldn’t get over the nagging feeling that I should have been at home wasting time and making Christmas plans. I still feel as if I’ve lost a bonus. It doesn’t cost me money, just time and effort. I also can’t help but feel that today was some kind of compliance test. (How will DL react when he discovers that we’ve replaced his day off with a day at an elementary school?)

The vice principal let me go early, which was nice of him as I was scheduled to be there until 4:45 but only had classes until 12:30. That said, I’m also betting I catch a cold from being in trains full of people and shaking hands with lots of students.

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