Friday, July 11, 2014

Kids Will Tear You Apart

If you ever thought about teaching English in Japan you better be ready.  In Japanese schools, kids are pretty rough.  Classes can range from super orderly to utter chaos, depending highly upon their homeroom teacher, the neighborhood or area you teach, and/or your own personality.  For the most part the first few months teaching in public schools in Japan is pretty good.  Kids are genuinely interested in you because you are the new thing at school and you take away from the monotony of the daily grind.  If you are an energetic teacher kids feed off that energy and typically have a good time.

But at some point kids take off the mask of kindness and can get damn near rude if not super aggressive.  You'll get kids sticking their fingers in your bum hole, grabbing your penis, breasts, buttocks and just about anywhere else on your person.  You'll be swarmed by kids between classes because they are lounging about in the hallways.  In Japan it's typical to see several dozen kids running around the hallways and going in and out of the playground between lessons. 

Kids will rip you apart if you have any chink in your armor.  For me, it's male pattern baldness.  Kids often call me baldy or whatever.  I really don't mind because I'd rather be bald.  It's a pain in the ass to wash my hair, comb it, cut it, keep it neat and all that.  And in Japan with the humidity in the summer it is a nightmare to have hair in all honesty.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm no chrome dome, but I am headed that direction.  It doesn't bother me when kids single that out at all.  But for some colleagues it's a rough row to hoe when dealing with kids' cruel and vicious behavior.

One female teacher I know got pounced on because she wears perfume to school.  Kids would tell her she stinks and things like that.  Another colleague is overweight and kids call him tubby or hurtful words about his rotundness.  Japanese teachers also face this but often out of resentment or rage by the kids.  They often tell teachers to die, buzz off, or call them stupid or ugly.  Most Japanese flare up and get angry with the kids only making more fuel for their insult fire.

I think that kids try to find the thing that they can use to penetrate you and get you upset.  If you just let it buzz right by and not take issue with it, the teasing lasts about a day and then it's back to business as usual.  If you try to tackle it, by forcing kids to stop the behavior you will succeed but in doing so you will alienate the children from you and it will be tough to teach them.

That said, one should never tolerate harassment and aggression if it is making your life intolerable and you feel defeated.  I have never felt that way luckily and am always glad to hear kids calling me baldy.  I think it's kind of their way of letting me into their circle and making me one of their group.  And I don't care about being bald or not.  I just love teaching them.

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