わたし の しょうがっこう YOUKOSO, WILLKOMMEN, BIENVENIDOS, DOBRO POSHALOVAT', KARIBU!!! (to "my" Japanese elementary schools) カタリ-ナ

Friday, March 10, 2006

meet Yutaka-kun



Yutaka is a forth-grader of Tenraiji primary school in Tobata. When I first met him I was surprised that he was a pupil of the so-called "Sunflower" (Himawari) class for the physically and mentally challenged. He seemed eager and clever and was quick to pronounce English words. The special education teacher in charge at that time, Mrs. Nomura told me that he was hyperactive and somtimes just out of control. And lively he was! Each time we started a lesson he would jump up and down and point out his favourite comic characters' pictures on the walls: Sensei, senseiiiiiiii, we'll talk about them today, won't we? Atom Boy is his absolute favourite. And just like me and many other children of course, he loves Doraemon. As long as we sang and danced a lot in the class (which we mostly do when teaching special classes) he was always happy.
Once we went to the nearby park with the then new teacher in charge, Ikeda-san and Yutaka's classmates: Shiho and Aya. The other girl of the group, Eri-san had already graduated by then. We had brought a ball to play and at the same time learn words like "kick", "throw", "catch". Shiho was very reluctant to go near the ball at first. Her movements are slow and she normally doesn't talk but she is a very warmhearted girl with a nice smile. Aya and Yutaka enjoyed playing but mostly just sat on the ground and laughed their heads off. It was a sunny spring day and I love remembering it.
Yutaka-kun is kind and not shy at all. He shows up at the teachers' room every now and then to talk to the teachers. Would anyone join him to play "Hide and Seek", "Police and Thieves"? And he is someone who really appreciates an ALT's work. Whenever I brought materials, picture cards, games etc. to the class he was just full of appreciation: "Katharina-sensei, did you make these? Wonderful, you made these things!"
Arigatou, Yutaka-kun. Itsumade mo o genki de ne!

and Seiya

Seiya is quite the oppsite of Yutaka. He spends most of the English lessons lying down under the piano. He is 9 years old and also a forth grader. He is at Fukamachi elementary school in Wakamatsu. He might be a candidate for a special "Sunflower" or "Blue Sky" class but there is no such class at Fukamachi and as long as the parents don't send their children to a special school they are being integrated. Seiya's homeroom teacher told me Seiya just can't learn English! But I don't think, it's true. He has got his moments. I used to squat beside him and tried to make him talk and he did utter one word or the other. And once he even came with two other boys to pick me up from the English room because the homeroom teacher wanted their lesson to be held in the classroom. Back in class and "mission completed" he was so proud of himself, he repeated and repeated: "Eigo no sensei yonda." (I called the Englishteacher, I CALLED the Englishteacher!) He is a cute boy.
Good luck to you, Seiya-chan, whatever you do!


he's the one in the red T-shirt