Sunday, February 15, 2009

So I Shot Some Kid in the Face Today

Jesus fucking drama, Batman. Here's a protip for all you aspiring Japanese English Teachers in the audience: don't teach classes alone. I think it's actually a law over here to have a Japanese teacher present for every class with a foreigner (they don't want us to pull a quickie rape on the 7 year olds), but generally the Japanese teachers are way more busy than we are, and I'm usually like "whatever, I can handle the 4th graders alone". So today I shot some little fucker in the face.

GG me.

Here's the scenario (and wow, I'm really tempted to type this up as a raid encounter now). Got to work. Did nothing all day from 8-11:45 (well, typed up the Attunement thing). Fourth period rolls around, and I have a class. Fifth grade class, right before lunch. I did the Hello song, and Greeting Time, and Today's Aim (Locations! Where are you going? I'm going to the zoo!). Got ready for game time, which was a basic Concentration game. Find two cards that are the same, you can go again.

Now. I have the cards all separated beforehand, and they come up and get two sets of cards, or form groups and I throw the cards across the classroom to them. I tend to be pretty kinetic during my lessons, and am always running around or being silly, trying to get kids to enjoy the lesson. There's rubber bands holding the cards together (THE SMOKING GUN!). Today, some of the kids were siting in a circle playing, but two boys were joking around and shooting the rubber bands around. This is nothing new. One flew out of the group as I was walking around, and I grabbed it and shot it back into the group. No big deal, it hit someones leg or something. They shoot it back at me, it hits me in the body, I pick it back up and prepare to shoot it back.

This whole exchange is like 5 seconds long. I'm patrolling around the class listening to kids using the vocabulary, and this little thing happens.

So I'm getting ready to shoot it back, and the kids puts his hands in the air laughing, and says DON'T SHOOT! I shoot, aiming for his body, but it hits him in the face; on the cheek. He grabs his cheek and I think "oh shit!" and immediately go serious mode like "(oh fuck) are you okay? did I hit you in the eye? Dai jou buu? Honto ni... anata no me wa dai jou buu desu ka? Sensei warui, gomen nasai!" He's laughing, his friends are laughing at him, everyone is telling me he's fine. But I'm still sitting there (a little freaked out) to make sure he's okay. Everything looks fine, and I can actually see the red mark on his cheek (but thankfully not his eye) where it hit. Okay. Enough excitement for the day, let's wrap class up.

I gather the cards up and we all sing the Goodbye Song, then I'm back to being alone in the english room. Whatever.

Lunch comes and goes, and nothing. Even the teacher whose class it was sees me in the hallway and tells me thanks for teaching the class alone, and I prepare for my fifth period class with the fourth graders (who will also be taught alone). But that gets cancelled at the last second, and here comes the principal to have some in depth discussion while I'm making hot cocoa in the kitchen. She's all freaked out, and going on and on in Japanese that I can't understand about some situation. I finally realize she's talking about "the shooting" and I'm like Jesus Fucking Christ. What the fuck? The kid was fine, he's a fifth grader, I made sure he was okay. Yes I know it was a bad judgement call in retrospect, but wtf.

Here's the thing: in Japan, if someone gets a papercut, they need to notify the parents on the phone right away. Anything requiring more than a wet cotton swab to handle gets Code Blue 911-ed to the parents cel phones, and they in turn pitch a fit about... whatever.

Now here's the part that drives it all home. The princiapal is still goign off, I have a cup full of unstirred hot cocoa sitting in a bunch of hot water, and she's miming this whole 'hands in the air don't shoot thing' and telling me that the kid was BEGGING ME NOT TO SHOOT HIM, and that I then proceeded to shoot him in the face with a rubber band.

I can imagine the entire conversation playing out:

Show me on the doll where he shot you Junpei.

(crying) I begged him not to, but then he... he jammed his big white american penis in my eye over and over! wauughhh! (sobbing out of control now) I cried and begged for mercy, but he just laughed and did it harder. My sister... is she still... is she in the kindergarten?


(cut to a shot of the burnt down youchien, dead children everywhere, me cackling maniacally, shooting rubberbands from out of broken windows) YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, MUHAHAHAHHA! (pew pew)
Seriously. How it even goes from 'everything is fine, I'm okay' to even coming up again after that is the biggest mystery. I normally applaud the fact that Japan still has honest-to-god PLAYGROUNDS made of shit like wood and concrete, instead of 6 inch high styrofoam and goosedown junglegyms. They slap each other around during recess, but I swear to god: Japanese boys are the biggest lot of sissies I've ever known. Some of them are cool little dudes, but for the most part, they cry and complain about everything, all the time, always. I was honestly surprised the kid in question didn't start crying the instant the shooting all went down, but when he didn't I just chalked it up to good luck. The girls are about 50x more resilient, but I guess that's probably just the 'girls mature faster than boys' thing.

So, yeah.

It eventually came up that I think they were suggesting that *I* should be the one to call this kids parents to explain the situation to them, at which point I actually barked out a laugh once I realized what she was saying. Like one of those mono syllable caught-off-guard-HA laughs that just come out unexpectedly. I told them I apologized to the kid many times, and that it was an accident, and promptly proceeded to walk past the little crowd forming and sit down at my desk to print up Sea Animal cards (and whip this up in between feeding sheets in the printer).

GG Japan. My cocoa tastes like shit.

Going home soon... this semester seriously can't end fast enough.


Cap'n John said...

As you said "if someone gets a papercut, they need to notify the parents on the phone right away". So it sounds to me like another teacher saw the mark on the kid's face and freaked out about it, escalating the situation to Code Magenta!!! "OMG!!! We've got a Code Magenta here!!!" Or is it a Code Chartreuse? I can never keep track of the colors.

I had a similar kind of incident while working at a Summer School when I first came here to the U.S. It was two back-to-back 3-week sessions, and a couple of kids stayed for both sessions. When Session 1 ended on Saturday almost every kid went home, except for a couple of kids who stayed overnight, and I was put in charge of minding them until Session 2 could began the next day.

Late that Saturday night I heard one of the kids (teenagers, really) sneaking out of the Dorm (my room was opposite theirs) so I slipped out after him. He heard me coming behind him and took off running out the door into the yard, so I ran after him.

I don't know what made me do it (perhaps it was the same malicious streak that enjoys playing a WoW Rogue in PvP so much ;) but I quickly caught up to him then gave him a bump with my hip, knocking him off his stride.

And because he was running flat out he had to jag sideways to keep his balance, which is why instead of running past the palm tree, he ran straight into it. Oops. On the plus side, it did put a halt to his nocturnal plans, and he staggered back to his dorm at a much slower pace than when he'd left it.

The next day I felt obligated to report the incident to my boss, and he asked me to write up a formal report explaining what had happened, just in case. Nothing ever came of it, fortunately, considering how much Americans love to sue each other.

David said...

This is the whole 'monster parent' thing going on in Japan at the moment. If taro comes home with a welt or scratch on his face, the concerned parents will ring up the school and scream child abuse until a teacher is fired or at least reprimanded. Homemaker mothers will make it a point to come by the school multiple times and berate the teachers/principal, and then spread gossip about the teacher amongst the other parents. This trickles down to the students, who will act out even more around that teacher. This all makes life a living hell for the teachers, who have a thankless enough job as it is. They work 12 hour days with no overtime pay. Your co-workers are trying to get you to own up so that they will have less parent flak to deal with. They would also shoulder less blame and gossip. Its good to know, though, that Japanese teachers aren't willing to take responsibility for their decisions, leaving you alone with students, which is a HUGE no-no as you are not a licensed teacher and not qualified (in the eyes of Japanese law) to have children put under your supervision. Nevermind for every story of an ALT hitting a kid in the eye with a rubberband there are 100 cases of 'qualified' Japanese molesting, abusing, or raping (!) their students.

On the other hand, it goes without saying to not shoot, propel, or otherwise advance anything with even the most minute physical force towards students. You will fling a cotton ball at a student and it will land exactly in their open mouth and choke them to death. You toss a piece of paper and they suffer a thousand papercuts across their face. The worst *will* happen.

I'm so glad I got out of teaching. Hang in there! (cue picture of kitten hanging on tree limb)

Melf_Himself said...

You should have explained that rubber bands only have like a 5% crit rate, and that since you hadn't taken rubber band proficiency, it's only like a 2% chance. What were the odds??

Anonymous said...

It's good that parents care about what happens to their kids at school, but freaking out over that level of (non)injury is just insane.

Jeez, there's got to be some happy medium between that and the pre-school that (true story) failed to even contact me when my kid ended up with a concussion and giant goose-egg on her skull.

Anonymous said...

well i am not the first one this time, but i could give you an advice... you got so much more potential than being a 4-5th grade teacher ...

Rich said...

@anon: yeah, japan just kinda happened in my life after my IT job of 6 years had their office shut down. i took it up on a whim, and ended up falling in love blah blah blah. got an awesome wife and a 5 month old kid now, heading back to the states in may. ;)

David said...

going back in May? wow, is your visa stuff all straightened out, or is she coming on a temp visa? I'm just asking because I heard its a royal pain to get for spouses, and as a new husband, my interest is piqued ;)

Rich said...

we're still in the process of sorting out the paperworks. My classes end here on march 21st (or thereabouts), and then we're still going to hang out here for another month and a half or so with nothing to do all day but paperwork crap and moving crap. i'll keep you posted ;)

Bonedead said...

Alright, this time I'm bookmarking this shit. I always fuckin forget and then I see you comment somewhere and I'm like why do I check all these blogs that don't update anymore.

(That's too bad about the no quickie rape thing, tbh)

Anonymous said...

Good thing he didn't take Precision with Rubber Band Proficiency.

Anonymous said...

I remember a time not so long ago when boys were boys and fist fights and formal reprimands were a part of growing up. I don't mean full on beating a child, but a tap when it's needed and ONLY when needed doesn't actually hurt the child. My father only ever hit me twice - the sheer thought afterward of him resorting to violence made me steer clear of anything that would cause him to do so.

Kids now are pussies. The world is becoming a much more "civilized", and by that I mean "passive" sort of place. Kids are taught that it's ok to come in second, and if you don't try your hardest and do your best there is always McDonalds.

Fucking seriously. Kids now wear helmets and knee pads when riding bikes. Why are we training our youth to become so passive and easily hurt?

Next time, use a highly sharpened lead pencil and fucking fling it. I had a teacher in high school that use to use V-darts to grab students attention. She was one of the best, no bullshit teachers I had.

Hatch said...

Best. Post title. Ever.