One day - more specifically after my JET contract ends - I won't be able to hear all the funny things 'my kids' in Japan have to say. But, while I'm still here...
Last week, at an elementary school, I didn't get to teach my favorite class, but I did luckily bump into the cute, miniature bunch in the school hallways. (And... I can't believe the tiny 2nd graders I met when I first came are now in the FOURTH GRADE!!)
Kazuto, my favourite 4th grade student rarely smiles, speaks like an adult, and often looks like he's lost somewhere in space - he likes to dictate other kids how to mop the floor correctly and remind the forgetful ones that although my nickname is MAME MAME (豆豆), my actual name is RU-SHI-A （ルシア), and not RUSSIA （ロシア) - and that I'm indeed not Russian, but Canadian.
So the little 4th graders tagged alongside as I was walking towards the Teacher's Office. And Kazuto, appearing aloof as always, looks at me and says:
『背、のびたね。』(trans. [Japanese often omits pronouns for some reason] ''Grew taller.'')
I looked at the tiny boy with the funny hair, and thought he meant for me to notice his height - which, unfortunately, didn't seem to have changed just yet --
『和人が？背のびたの？』（trans. ''Kazuto, you grew taller?'')
He stared back at me, a bit patronizing me, even - if he was taller than me, he'd be looking down at me and shaking his head. His eyes were looking up and he let out a sigh - I think he really was patronizing me.
『違うよ。ルシア先生だよ。』(trans. ''No. RUSHIA teacher, YOU did.''
* * *
At the end of the day, I stopped by the Math class that my friend was teaching, which coincidentally happened to be Kazuto's class. About ten students were left and they were as chatty as ever. High fives were requested, and I held up my hand as high as I could, but I underestimated these jumpy, energetic bunch. My palm became red and a bit swollen - this was after five Third graders' classes, too.
When they left, I stayed behind to chat with my friend, when she suddenly cut our conversation short with a small gasp.
''Kazuto! you're still here?''
Our favourite student was kneeling beside a big poster of SPACE, and right I was, looking as though he was lost in space.
Apparently he's a big fan of planets and things like that.
My friend took the poster off the wall and winks to both him and I -
''Here, this is for you. I don't think anybody looks at this stuff anyway.''
He skipped out of the classroom with a smile.
We, in turn, smiled and knew what'd be said next:
Teaching is a JOY. =)
6 months ago