What is up with your schools? Where’s the discipline?
This is actually a bit of a problem now for Japan. Jr. high schools just don’t have discipline options. It works on the honor system – the students go to class and don’t cause problems because it’s in their best interest. But, if a student isn’t planning to go to high school, or just doesn’t care, they can act up and there’s little we can do about it. It actually frustrates a lot of the teachers I’ve talked to.
Technically, I teach in the “country”, where kids may not come from good families and may not be motivated to do well in school. Also, I’ve heard that the entrance exams for high school aren’t that hard, and students can still pass them despite not studying that hard. Some of my sannensei from the ghetto school last year, they were terrible students and I sort of figured they weren’t going to high school. Yet, I occasionally see them around, they did go to high school, and many of them work part-time jobs. I think it was them realizing they could goof around and get away with it. They are, after all, kids.
The difficult ninensei boys, I don’t think they want to do anything. Sometimes we catch them smoking (they’re 14 years old) and hanging out with the wrong crowd. The “wrong crowd” graduated from the ghetto school a few years ago, and went on to do nothing except ride their scooters around town and make excessive amounts of noise. It’s sad, they think they’re so cool, ON THEIR SCOOTERS. You will never be cool, ON A SCOOTER. And then they wave at me and try to get my approval. I just smile and say “Wow, your life depresses me”, and they don’t know what I said cause they never paid attention in English class.
While Jr. high schools have this problem, high schools *I think* have more discipline options, but I have never gone to one and don’t know that many high school teachers so I can’t really say. While city kids may be more well-behaved, I do believe this is a problem all over Japan. I went to a conference in Kobe, and one of the seminars was about “Jr High Classroom Management”. It more or less degenerated into people complaining about their problem students and how they can’t do anything about it. It’s an interesting dilemma.
And for the record, the worst students I have are at the ghetto school. The other two schools have no problems. At one, there are some boys and girls who can be over-talkative at times, but they’ll behave when need be. At the other, the worst student is Mousey, and all he really does is complain all the time.