My JTE and I had just left the teachers’ room when I heard, “Aaa, Sumisa!” and whirled around to greet wheover it was, because it sounded like one of the teachers–but it was Crush Kid, late to class and grinning broadly at the sight of me. He ended up catching up with us (not before I actually grimaced involuntarily, but the student didn’t see it) and tagging along at my JTE’s heels, and then she suddenly paused, apologized, and said she’d forgotten something in the staffroom, leaving him to tag along at my heels for the rest of the walk to our respective classrooms. I didn’t make eye contact, though whenever I did glance at him I saw that he was totally staring at me, and I made polite conversation–asked him how he was, and then agreed that it was indeed sunny today, and then “see you”d him as we arrived at his classroom, which I had to pass to get to mine.
I was talking to my JTE about it later–and it turns out that his fixation on me is his disability. Not on me specifically, but he likes to fixate and latch onto on things that are unusual and out of the ordinary…which includes the foreigner English teacher.
That really explains a lot, and it made me feel a little badly about how I’d judged the situation and acted before. Not that I’m apologizing for feeling uncomfortable–being stared at so intensely just because I’m eating an apple or practicing my violin is definitely way into the “weird situation” zone–but I thought I had all the facts, and I was way off.
I also really goofed up in class today–I don’t think it’s the first time, but it’s definitely the first time I’ve openly seen that my JTE was unhappy with something I did. We had interview tests in the second-year classes, which involved me going into an empty classroom and the kids coming to chat with me one by one for about a minute each, very loosely following some dialogue guidelines. One kid in the first class brought his binder and tried to crack it open to peek, but I told him he wasn’t allowed to. He looked really surprised to hear me say that, though, which made me wonder if he actually was allowed to peek. In the second class, a kid came in with his notebook, opened it right up, and started reading at me! I was so surprised that I didn’t really know what to say–I just assumed my JTE had said the kids could bring their notes to assist them. And after him, another 6 or 7 kids did exactly the same thing. I made sure to notate on the evaluation sheets which kids read.
Later, my JTE asked me about some things I’d jotted on the papers where I’d critiqued their performances, and it ended up coming out that they weren’t supposed to read their papers, or even bring them into the room. It was the first time where I could tell that she really wasn’t happy about the situation, and it made me feel pretty guilty. Of course, common sense kicks in when things go wrong–it only hit me then that it made no sense for them to be allowed to read from a worksheet when these interview tests are designed to make them work on their conversational skills. One of the “offending” boys came in, and she brought it up a little sternly with him, and he’d said that another kid had claimed it was okay to bring their papers with them. She and I ended up working it out so that I’d have a retest during that homeroom’s next English class on Wednesday afternoon for the kids who read, which also works because there were three kids absent today who need to do it at some point.
I also discovered that my local bookstore has a much bigger selection of Final Fantasy-related books than the bookstores in the city do. I picked up a book for a friend, not for myself; it’s definitely something to store away for future reference. I need to give my town more credit sometimes.