Memorable Students


I work in three schools, averaging 4-5 classes a day. A class has anywhere from 25-35 students. In an average week, I see around 600-800 children, not including substitute teaching.

So, despite teaching the same students for 8 months, I still rely on name tags in class, which makes me feel like a dick. (Something I covered in an earlier blog post)

There are a few students that stick out more clearly than others.

Catgirl: This 5th grader used to greet me by meowing at me whenever I walked in the room or asked her a question. I meowed back at her a few times. I still think of her as the cat girl.

Gorilla: My first student to get a nickname. For a long time, his hobby was sneaking up behind me in the hallway and singing ‘Gangnam Style’ as loudly in my personal space as possible. He has switched this with PPAP now.

Space Pants: When this kid walked into class a few weeks ago in a matching black Star Wars tracksuit, It took me a moment to recognize the emotion I was feeling. It was envy. at 12 years old, he is more hip than I will ever be.

The Ham: Whenever I call on this kid for a gesture game, he puts his heart and soul into it, including reenacting an Herbal Essences commercial for his class. He should have three Oscars by now.

Wonder Twins/ Clark Kent and Superman: Took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize these guys were twins. (One wears glasses, the other doesn’t.) Great students, get competitive in class games with each other. 

The James Deans: I don’t know what these two kids do, but one or the other is basically always in the hall being yelled at by the homeroom teacher. They’re smart, good at English, and enthusiastic in class, but they do try to use their above average English skills to play tricks on me and other students, getting them more yelling time from their teacher, while they just stand there and smirk. Just can’t deal with the man, man.

Crazy Boy: Bless him. Whenever I ask his class how they are that day, I hear one loud voice yell “CRAZY!” He volunteers loudly and first for every activity, usually without any idea of the question I asked or what he is supposed to do, but he’s so damn good-natured it barely matters.

God: Whenever we do first person narratives in class (I like, I have, I need) he responds from the viewpoint of God. God hates homework. God likes video games. He now responds to God in class and tells us about his life as God (“I live in a Shrine.”)


Most of these are from my 5th and 6th grade classes. For now, I will refrain from sharing my nicknames of the students I dislike (and of course, out of 750 people, there are some I really, realllllly don’t like.)  But one comes from Lord of the Flies.


Christmas Illuminations

Something really big in Tokyo are huge light displays. There are tons all over town, each one trying to outdo the rest. This one held a light show called “The Birth of the Universe,” which I didn’t manage to get a good photo of.

Just a few snapshots of a pretty (and extremely cold!) night.