On Tuesday Kazamaura's one and only JTE called in sick again. Although technically JET Programme participants are not permitted to be left in charge of classrooms, this policy is extremely inconvenient to understaffed school administrations so it is widely ignored. Moreover, from what I can tell, most JETs are quite happy to have this rule broken—it’s nice to be in command for a change. I have to admit though, that suddenly finding myself in command of four consecutive classes about half an hour before the first one is scheduled to begin is a little stressful for me—at least in junior high school. Since my JTE does not wish me to interfere with the core curriculum my options are limited to supervising workbooks or entertaining with activities. I am not a super JET, and I am a dismal failure as an entertainer. Moreover, my students are not super students, and they refuse to be entertained. Fortunately, this time I had a secret weapon stashed away at home—across the street from the junior high school. After receiving permission from the vice principle (the one seen to be dancing so serenely a couple of blog posts ago) I called my wife and asked her to bring over our house guests for some “Let’s Conversation.”
It worked out great because my students have been dying to find out more about my wife, Yuko Elliot . . .
. . . and my mom has decades of experience baiting junior high students (she is “kowai”).
Mabel Chow, the short term missionary working with my parents, gave the students a chance to talk to a genuine Australian from Sydney.
And then of course there were my second cousins Allison Barlow,
Michelle Barlow (barely older than the third year students),
. . . and Kristen Barlow representing young America Connecticut style.