‘Back to School’

HeeeeeeeLLLLOOOOOO, children!  My name is Mr. Joe.  My host dad came up with a brilliant plan last Friday to take me to the elementary school he teaches at.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea, because it was my day off (he’s off on Sunday) and I was really looking forward to just slumming it around at the house after an odd week.  I promised him I’d go though, so when Friday morning came, off we went.

Prison riot….”bring us the Pale Face!”

As soon as we arrived at school, it was mayhem!  Little kids were giggling, yelling and generally overflowing with adolescent energy.  I was still wishing I were somewhere else at this point, but it was cute to see them so excited about having a ‘pale face’ come for a visit and that really softened my mood.  From there, it was the usual meet n’ greet with the staff served with a side of Q&A and when THAT was over, it was time to meet the little rascals.

All up, I think I was introduced to seven different classrooms.  I’d open with talking a

MY favorite drink is beer. How about you?

little about myself (yawn), which was usually followed by deafening silence.  I was then prompted by the teacher to “tell some funny stories,” which itself was funnier than anything I could think of.  Regardless, my mind started racing, searching for age appropriate material.  The only thing I could think of was telling them about my first time squatting in Indonesia; I threw in a little ‘leg shaking’ for comedic effect.  After the stories the kids would ask me some questions.  Do you believe not ONE of them asked for my opinion on the looming U.S. presidential elections!?

‘A chip off the old block’; me and my host dad (I’m on the left)

My host dad’s class was the last on my tour (he is a ‘sports teacher’).  My host dad does not speak English, but he certainly loves to try and in class he asked me how to say “curly hair” in English.  When I wrote it on the blackboard for him, he then singled out the lone, curly haired girl in class.  The kids broke out in maniacal laughter at this, which kind of annoyed me because the little girl was obviously embarrassed.  I quickly offered that I had wavy hair and that people in the U.S. have all kinds of hair and that it was very normal, cool even.  I don’t know if they got it or not, but at least it diverted the laughter off ‘the wavy haired one.’  Teasing, even by the teachers, seems common place here and while I know we are always told ‘not to judge,’ I think this practice kind of sucks.  “The nail that sticks out, get’s hammered down,” I guess.  In any event, it was a good time overall and I got a kick out of the kids (especially class 4a), but it may be a while longer before Mr. Joe comes back on a Friday.


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