… how staff members refer to me when telling parents that I will be taking over such-and-such other teacher’s class.

Yesterday, in one of my children’s classes, my lesson plan focused on the vocabulary for “moon,” “star,” “planet,” etc and the staff suggested I do this arts and crafts project to make it more fun: create “telescopes” made out of toilet paper rolls so that we could go “stargazing” (staring at posters in the room with moons, stars and planets on them). Not one to argue, I agreed. When I arrived at my school the staff members told me that the toilet paper rolls were already set up and in the class room. God, I love this school, I thought and went into the room to take a peek. To my dismay, I discovered that one the staff girls had misunderstood the directions in the principal’s craft description – on the counter, along with packets of crayons, rubber bands and colorful cellophane origami paper, were 6 full rolls of toilet paper. I broke into peals of laughter (I imagined the parents peering into the classroom and seeing their kids peering into fluffy white rolls of toilet paper) and set about to pushing the cardboard rolls out of the paper and after some time had 6 perfect cardboard rolls, fit for telescope-making, and six squashed mounds of toilet paper.

During class, after the decorating and the origami-papering, the kids began to peer at each other through their new telescopes. Takeshi and Kazuki peeked at each other and then Takeshi turned his telescope to me.

“Mitte sensei!! (Look at sensei!)” he said.

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