Friday, April 29, 2016

Reflections #1: From Nightmare School to Dream School

After JET Programme finished for me, and I moved from Hiroshima to Kumamoto, I was lucky enough to find a teaching job just two weeks after the move.

It was in a town about an hour and a half from where I lived, but an easy enough commute on the train. A little longer by car.

Needless to say I was just happy I could continue to pay the bills, put food on the table, and provide for my family. I really didn't care how far I had to go to do that.

And everything seems alright. After all, I had taught at 14 different junior high schools and elementary schools in Japan. I thought this one would be like all the others. I couldn't have been further from the truth if I'd tried.

I had a nightmare first year at the new JHS I taught at.

The kids were a nightmare. Every day there was some strange or dangerous incident. Just off the top of my head...

A teen once threw his desk through a window.

A girl student stabbed a teacher with a pair of scissors.

A couple of parents were suing the school because the school counselor found out their daughter wasn't taking her anti-psychotic meds, and the teacher was obligated by the law to inform the school and, supposedly, this embarrassment caused the family to feel as though they lost face with the community -- thus the lawsuit.

And this same girl kicked a underclassman down a flight of stairs because the underclassman wouldn't agree with her as to what the best K-pop band was.

I dad a boy student with ADHD who kept jumping out of the 3rd floor window and scaling the wall to the 2nd story window then running around like a wild-thing.

It was insane to say the least.

And those are the good stories of the year. Everything just got worse from there on in. That school took me to my breaking point as a teacher.

Luckily, once those kids graduated, it was, you might say... a miraculous change. The dynamics of the whole school changed.

Once the Children of the Corn graduated, that school became my all time favorite school I've ever had the privilege of working at.

Strange how that works.

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