20 May 2010 ~ 4 Comments

Live from Locohama, S2/E10: The Cuckoo’s Nest

The door of the teacher’s office slid open and in came Special Ed, shouting, “LoOocOoO Sennnnseeeii!” Over and over. Every teacher in the office looked at me without envy. Akiyama smiled piteously and nodded toward Special Ed as if to indicate I should join him. I peeked down at my schedule on my desk, confirmed that I had a free period and then glanced back at Special Ed and Akiyama.

“What does he want?” I asked her, cuz I couldn’t make heads or tails of that grunting, singsong, gibberish spewing from between his ever-moist lips.

“You’re going to teach English to the S-2 class from now, deshou?”

“Not according to my schedule,” I said, thinking not if I can help it.

“Really?” she asked, puzzled, marching over to my desk. She makes my schedule now, so if this class isn’t on the schedule then it’s her error.

And, a glance at it confirmed that.

“Oh my! Every Thursday the Special class has English. I forgot to put it on your schedule.”

I shrugged, cuz it was not a problem for me. I was prepared to stand on principal: I can’t be expected to run into a class, especially a special class, totally unprepared to teach a lesson.

“Looooocooooo Sennnnnseiiii, iiiiiikkiiiimasyoooou neee!” (Let’s go.)

 Special Ed, over by the door, was dancing and bobbing and gesticulating wildly.

I returned my attention to Akiyama, who was still studying the schedule like she was trying to miracle the class onto my schedule, by sheer will.

There was another outburst by the door as he tried to forcefully make his way over to my desk (and drag me to the class…he’s done this before, catching me on the steps or in the hall) but was intercepted by two teachers, who I noticed were not keen on touching him, either. Phew! it’s not only me. Thank god for the rule about students coming into the teacher’s office: it was strictly forbidden. No special exceptions for drooling half-wits nor  his behaviorally dysfunctional classmates waiting up stairs in a windowless room replete with everything a body needs so that they never really need to leave it: a stove, fridge, washing machine, all kinds of stuff.

Don’t get me wrong…I’ve taught Special classes before. It’s mandatory. And, in most cases, it’s actually fun!

But, this class at my new school, for some reason, are realllllly special.

At each school where I’ve taught special classes, there was always one student in the class that didn’t seem to belong, as well as one who, well, let’s just say required a great deal of attention…very low functioning. Special Ed is that kid at this school. 

He doesn’t participate much in the general lesson. Just grunts and repeats my name over and over, and drools everywhere. His classmates, 3 boys and a girl, don’t expect much from him. They seem to be able to distinguish between his level of dysfunction and their own. They each have disorders that prevent them from joining the regular classes. And, aside for one, it didn’t take long to figure out what exactly they were. They’re conspicuous. Hyper-sensitivity (one boy cries if his mechanical pencil point breaks), extreme ADHD (another boy, if he knows the answer to a question, needs a sedative to keep from jumping through the ceiling), and mild Autism or dementia (the third boy who sits at the desk and draws the alphabet on an invisible black board…for 30 minutes), These were relatively easy to diagnose.

But, there’s always one. One who appears to be “normal”. In this class, that would be the girl. I’ve yet to figure why exactly she’s been relegated to the cuckoo’s nest…but she doesn’t seem to mind at all.  There are several students in the regular classes who I’m sure have mental disorders and belong in the cuckoo’s nest, not in general population. She seems higher functioning than those students. I guess I’ll figure it out one day.

But, not today.

“I wish I had something prepared…” I said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Akiyama said and went and explained the situation to the Special class teacher who in turn nodded. He had to drag Special Ed out of the doorway, kicking and screaming for me to come.

The little goofy bastard’s really taken a liking to me.



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4 Responses to “Live from Locohama, S2/E10: The Cuckoo’s Nest”

  1. Caroline Josephine 6 March 2011 at 12:22 pm Permalink

    I'm discovering that one of the reasons I like your blog is because you're actually a writer. You know HOW to write. You don't just regurgitate a bunch of facts that everyone already knows about Japanese culture. I like that. I like this.

    • Locohama 6 March 2011 at 12:31 pm Permalink

      Thank you sooo much Caroline. i LOVE to hear that from readers, because that was exactly my intention in starting this blog, and when it's clear to readers that that's exactly what they're getting, I'm gratified times 1000. You rock!

      • Caroline Josephine 7 March 2011 at 12:28 am Permalink

        Your welcome. I know that I love it when people compliment my writing. I honestly have been lurking around your blog off and on, but scared to really say much because I just… haven't known what to say. A friend of mine turned me onto your blog and when I told her you followed me back she was positively giddy!

        My blog is fairly new, and sometimes I get discouraged because I feel like not enough people are really reading what I have to say, but just looking at images and enjoying that I'm in Japan (that and I don't ALWAYS put 100% into the writing like I want to)… but your blog, your writing is a real inspiration, and I need to read more of it. I went to school for writing and I miss being exposed to people who care about the craft. Like I said, too many blogs are like glorified Wikipedia articles. It's nice to see some soul in one.

        Keep it up man.

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