Japanese junior high school dynamics

Let me tell you a bit about school dynamics in junior high schools in Japan.
The most important people in the schools are the kocho sensei (the principal) and the Kyoto sensei (the vice principal). Make sure these are on your side! They’re pretty much untouchable, and often give off the impression of just sitting around and not doing anything (if they do I don’t know). You then get a head teacher (or in my case two I think), and these 4 people sit at the front of the staff room.

Being a teacher is a totally different concept in Japan than in western schools. Teachers here make up a huge part of their students lives, and are almost 3rd parents. They will occasionally make home visits and they are allowed to tell the parents off from time to time (though I think they rarely do). They are role models for the students are work hands-on with these kids (almost mothering them) – the younger ones, especially the males, run around with the tough guys, and they will spend a lot of time keeping them occupied. In my school, the kids are never allowed to be in a room by themselves without a teacher, so they’re always there with the students, they can hit the students, and those that have club activities (mostly sports) will spend a lot of time after school and on the weekends doing this with the kids. In my school especially, the teachers are so busy, that they often stay until 8-10 in the evening, not because they want to make a good impression but because they are so busy. One teacher said to me that he doesn’t really have any time to prepare for class, and many of them almost live at the schools. I asked one of the teachers why people want to be teachers in japan; apparenty stability is a big factor.
So as much as a teacher here may seem like an ideal husband (i.e. good with kids) they wouldn’t have much time to spend with their own!

The kids are pretty interesting. I’m talking about those really annoying moody teenagers.
The 1st year kids are fun, because they’re still innocent, at least in the first term, having come freshly out of elementary school, and some of them are so small and cute, I just want to steal them!
The 2nd years are the most dynamic, and you get such different characters. The easiest to class are the boys. You get your rowdy talk a lot kids that all seem to look the same! They’re all tall, skinny, with short hair. And the way they act in class is always the same too! It’s quite scary. Then you get your loud ones who know it all anyway, and there’s the quiet ones who know a lot, and then the quiet ones who just don’t care and fall asleep. These kids are not like kids in Korea, maybe because I’m in an undisciplined school, but these kids are just like any other local, nothing special school. These boys are actually my favorite, because they’re not afraid to talk to me, because, they’re still very playful in their feelings towards girls, and they actually do show some respect, well, most of them. The girls are a bit different. These will talk to me more, obviously, because I’m a girl, but many of them don’t really speak up in class, and there’s a few annoying ones who will actually fall into a deep sleep. I think I prefer the 1st and 3rd year girls.
The 3rd years are a lot more studious, maybe because they’re all thinking about high school entrance exams. They’re overall a lot more quiet, and if they don’t want to participate they do so quietly. The boys are a lot more shy, because they’re more aware of love etc. but the girls are much more fun. The amount of times they say ‘kawai’ (cute) a week is crazy!

Anyway, this is becoming an essay. These kids go to school, go to their classes (in japan each class has its own room, and the teachers move around from room to room. It’s actually quite a nice system), and at the end of the day have to clean their classroom and sometimes outside. Some that are in clubs come to school early to do this, and will stay late until 6.30 to do more club. Then on the weekend, club activities are on as well, and even in the summer holiday, they come into school for club… They spend a lot of time at school! But they all live very close too…

I’ll leave it at that. What do you think about it?

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