One of the homerooms I teach, 15 homeroom, is pretty much notorious among all the first-year teachers. Any teacher on their way to the classroom is sure to be trudging heavily and shaking their head. When we had a teaching evaluation last month, my teacher lied to the principal and vice-principal about when she was available simply so they wouldn't end up watching her teach that class. Simply saying the name of the homeroom causes teachers to roll their eyes and emit a collective sigh.
The main reason for their communal angst is just a number of noisy girls in the class. They talk loudly in class, wear their skirts too short, and constantly interrupt to ask questions wildly unrelated to anything going on at the time. The attached picture was taken when I caught a few of these girls after school rummaging through a boys desk, reading his papers, and writing a letter to him telling him about all these embarrassing things they found (I say "caught" in the sense of "watched them do it and took a picture while laughing"). One of the girls takes special pleasure in going into the teachers office between classes and basically bullying this 35 year-old math teacher who is clearly uncomfortable dealing with women. I mean, not bad kids by American standards, but they certainly blow carefully organized Japanese classes to hell.
I, however, have no problems with the class. Like I've said before, behavior disruptive in other classes can be easily guided into oral communication activities, people who aren't shy about being loud also aren't shy about speaking out or answering questions, and the kids are in general just a welcome change for me from those that I have to basically grab by the scruff of the neck to get to acknowledge my presence in the room. I also seemed to have tamed the class to a degree - noticed by the teachers - by way of having some girls develop crushes on me.
For example, while correcting skits the other day, I am inviting the students in their groups of 2 or 3 to come up to the desk so I can correct their scripts. As I read over it, I make corrections and offer them suggestions. One girl just stares at me transfixed the entire time with her mouth agape. Finally, I ask her what's wrong. Continuing to gaze into my eyes, she just cooes, "Adams-Sensei, your eyes are soooo blue!"
Then again, there is a fine line sometimes between this adoration and a fascination more of the freak-show variety. Another girl in the class is just endlessly amazed at my arm hair. Japanese people, in general, don't have much body hair - on their limbs, at least. During the very first class I had with this homeroom, I knelt down at her desk to help her with a problem, and as I try to walk her through the answer, I realize that she is not listening at all, just looking down at my arm. After gaping at my arm for a while, and slowly moving her hand closer and closer, she is now in fact petting my arm hair. This takes a second for me to process, until shaking my head clear I ask her, "What do you think you're doing!?" She raises her eyes, which are open wide with wonder, near crying in awe and, continuing to run her fingers over my forearm, whispers,
"Adams-Sensei...your hair...is GOLD!
After clarifying that I am not a dog, I take my arm back. Still, she tries every week to run her hands through my forearm hair, pretending to have questions and calling me over just for that moment to reach out and stroke my apparently golden forearm mane with the excitement of a girl and her beloved pony.